Club Q shooter’s bomb threat case hampered by family’s refusal to testify: DA

The shooter accused in the mass shooting at an LGBTQ Colorado nightclub was previously arrested for an alleged bomb threat incident last year, although the case was dropped after the suspect’s family refused to testify, the local district attorney said Thursday.

The circumstances surrounding the 2021 arrest have come under scrutiny after the suspect – Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22 – was arrested in connection with the November 19 shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, which has killed five people and injured more than a dozen others. Aldrich faces 305 counts, including first-degree murder, attempted murder, assault and bias-motivated crimes, in the shooting.

The 2021 case was sealed at its conclusion, although a judge ruled on Thursday that it should be unsealed. It is unclear when the unsealed documents will be posted online.

In June 2021, Aldrich was arrested in an alleged bomb threat incident after his mother alerted authorities that they “threatened to harm him with a pipe bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition,” according to a statement. release posted online last year by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

Colorado Springs resident Leslie Bowman told ABC News that she was renting a room from Aldrich’s mother, Laura Voepel, at the time of the bomb threat incident, and that Aldrich broadcast live a “shocking” video via Voepel’s Facebook account from inside Bowman’s home while authorities were outside. The footage showed Aldrich with a gun as well as a helmet and vest that looked like body armor. Security cameras at Bowman’s home also captured Aldrich entering the residence that day and turning himself in to authorities hours later.

In this image from video provided by Leslie Bowman, Anderson Lee Aldrich surrenders to police at a house where his mother, Laura Voepel, rented a room in Colorado Springs, Colorado on June 18, 2021.

Leslie Bowman via AP

No explosives were found. Aldrich was incarcerated in the El Paso County Jail on two counts of threatening felony and three counts of first-degree kidnapping, according to the sheriff’s office. A judge ultimately dismissed the case.

El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen defended his office’s handling of the 2021 incident, telling reporters Thursday that his office pursued the case but was unable to subpoena Aldrich’s mother or grandmother – who he said had previously made statements to police about Aldrich – to testify against the suspect. Because the prosecution was unable to present victims within the time allotted for a speedy trial, the judge dismissed the case, Allen said.

“The court did not act inappropriately in this regard,” Allen said at a press briefing on Thursday, arguing that the victims’ non-cooperation “led to the dismissal of this case.”

“That office absolutely went after him. We went after him until we couldn’t go after him anymore. And that wouldn’t have stopped the Club Q shooting,” he said.

Records for the 2021 case had already been sealed at the request of the accused, Allen said. The sealed records have caused “confusion” for the public following the Club Q shooting, he said.

“That confusion then leads to frustration and anger,” Allen said during the briefing, which he said was aimed at “exposing the truth” about the previous investigation.

PHOTO: This booking photo provided by the Colorado Springs, Colorado Police Department shows Anderson Lee Aldrich. Aldrich.

This booking photo provided by the Colorado Springs, Colorado Police Department shows Anderson Lee Aldrich. Aldrich.

Colorado Springs Police Department via AP, FILE

Before the 2021 case was dismissed, two firearms were confiscated from Aldrich and remain in evidence, according to Allen.

Aldrich was able to legally purchase the assault rifle allegedly used in the Club Q shooting, officials briefed on the investigation told ABC News.

ABC News

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