On Sunday morning, Americans woke up to news reports of yet another mass shooting, this time inside a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, called Club Q.
According to The New York Times, witnesses reported seeing a man, wearing a military-style flak jacket, holding a long rifle and a handgun enter the club shortly before midnight on Saturday, at which point he began shooting.
Two patrons inside the club attempted to tackle the gunman and wrest the handgun from him before hitting him with it and subduing him. Police arrived on scene within 3-4 minutes after the initial 911 calls came in, at which point they found one of the men who had hit the gunman still on top of him, pinning him down.
Two firearms were found at the scene. Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said that investigators are still trying to determine who owned the long rifle and the handgun that the shooter was carrying.
Five people were killed in the shooting, and at least 25 others were injured, including 19 who were shot. The shooter, identified by Colorado Springs police as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, was treated for injuries at a local hospital.
Here are five major things we know about Anderson Lee Aldrich:
1. He was not a familiar face at Club Q.
The club’s owners, Nic Grzecka and Matthew Haynes, told the Times on Sunday that they did not know Aldrich, and that he was not a regular at the club.
Witnesses inside the club reported that the shooter did not seem to have specific targets in mind, shooting indiscriminately across the club after he entered. Bartender Michael Anderson said he ducked after seeing the rifle in the man’s hands, and glass began to break all around him.
2. His motive for the attack does not seem to be clear.
While the shooting occurred on the eve of the Transgender Day of Remembrance — a day that honors all transgender individuals who have lost their lives to violence and anti-LGBTQ hate crimes. — it is unclear why Aldrich would have targeted Club Q. Many of the statements released by LGBTQ organizations have claimed that the proliferation of anti-LGBTQ messaging, particularly in the political sphere, has contributed to the atmosphere of hostility against LGBTQ people, but there is no evidence yet proving a link between anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and Aldrich’s actions.
3. Aldrich was previously arrested in connection with a bomb threat that led to a standoff at his mother’s home.
According to a news release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office from June 2021, a woman, later identified as Aldrich’s mother, claimed her son was threatening to harm her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition. He was arrested after a brief standoff with police, and charged with two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping. Those charges were eventually dropped and the records were sealed, according to CNN.
After charges were not pursued in the incident, Aldrich later called the Colorado Springs Gazette demanding that the newspaper remove an earlier online article referring to the standoff, leaving a voicemail in which he said: “There is absolutely nothing there, the case was dropped, and I’m asking you either remove or update the story. The entire case was dismissed.”
4. He wasn’t talkative, and once had an unpleasant encounter with his mother’s landlady.
Leslie Bowman, who rented a room in her house to Aldrich’s mother for 15 months prior to the alleged bomb threat in 2021, said she had met Aldrich, who wasn’t talkative, and generally spend time watching movies in his mother’s room, according to The Denver Post.
However, one time, when Bowman went to Aldrich’s mother’s room to deal with a complaint that the toilet in her bathroom was not working. She encountered Aldrich, who she claimed was “aggressive” toward her.
“He kind of got in my face and said ‘Get out’ and slammed the door in my face,” Bowman recalled. “I just chalked it up to young male aggression. It was late and everyone was grumpy. There were no incidents after that.”
Following the standoff with police at the house she owned, Bowman packed up Aldrich’s mother’s belongings, and some men from her church came to collect them. Bowman says she hasn’t seen or talked to Aldrich or his mother since then.
5. He faces murder charges for the shooting.
Aldrich has been charged with five counts of murder and five counts of bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury, also known as a “hate crime” enhancement, which could result in additional jail time if convicted on those charges.
According to the Times, local prosecutors asked a judge to seal Aldrich’s arrest warrant, claiming that if it were released to the public, the information contained in it might “jeopardize the ongoing case investigation.” The judge granted the request, agreeing to seal court records related to Aldrich’s arrest until the investigation into the shooting has concluded.
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