COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The suspect in the deadly shooting of five people at a Colorado homosexual nightclub changed his name greater than six years in the past as a teenager, after submitting a authorized petition in Texas saying he wished to “protect himself” from a father with a prison historical past.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, who faces homicide and hate crime fees, was identified as Nicholas Brink till 2016. Just earlier than his sixteenth birthday, he petitioned a Texas court docket to vary his name, court docket data present. A petition for the name change was submitted on Brink’s behalf by his grandparents, who had been his authorized guardians on the time.
“Minor wishes to protect himself and his future from any connections to birth father and his criminal history. Father has had no contact with minor for several years,” the petition acknowledged.
The boy’s mom and father signed affidavits agreeing to the name change, data in Bexar County, Texas, present.
The suspect’s father is a blended martial arts fighter and pornography performer with an in depth prison historical past, together with a conviction for battery towards the alleged shooter’s mom, Laura Voepel, state and federal court docket data present. The father, Aaron F. Brink, served 2 1/2 years in jail for importation of marijuana, based on public data.
The request for a name change got here months after Aldrich was apparently focused by on-line bullying. A web site posting from June 2015 that attacked a boy named Nick Brink suggests he might have been bullied in highschool. The submit included photographs much like ones of the shooting suspect and ridiculed Brink over his weight, lack of cash and what it mentioned was an curiosity in Chinese cartoons.
Additionally, a YouTube account was opened in Brink’s name that included an animation titled “Asian homosexual gets molested.”
The motive in Saturday’s shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs was nonetheless beneath investigation, however the particulars rising in regards to the suspect recommend a turbulent upbringing. The name change and bullying had been first reported by The Washington Post.
Aldrich was tackled and beaten by bar patrons through the assault that left 17 different individuals with gunshot wounds. He faces 5 homicide fees and 5 fees of committing a bias-motivated crime inflicting bodily harm, on-line court docket data confirmed.
Aldrich was launched from the hospital and being held on the El Paso County jail, police mentioned. He’s scheduled to make his first court docket look Wednesday by video from jail.
He was arrested final 12 months after his mom reported he threatened her with a do-it-yourself bomb and different weapons. Ring doorbell video obtained by The Associated Press reveals Aldrich arriving at his mom’s entrance door with a giant black bag the day of the 2021 bomb risk, telling her the police had been close by and including, “This is where I stand. Today I die.”
Authorities on the time mentioned no explosives had been discovered, however gun-control advocates have requested why police didn’t use Colorado’s “red flag” legal guidelines to grab the weapons his mom says he had.
The weekend assault passed off at a nightclub identified as a sanctuary for the LGBTQ group in this principally conservative metropolis of about 480,000 about 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of Denver.
A longtime Club Q patron who was shot in the again and thigh mentioned the membership’s popularity made it a goal. Speaking in a video assertion launched by UC Health Memorial Hospital, Ed Sanders mentioned he thought of what he would do in a mass shooting after the 2016 bloodbath of 49 individuals on the Pulse homosexual nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
“I think this incident underlines the fact that LGBT people need to be loved,” mentioned Sanders, 63, who was carrying a hospital robe with an oxygen tube in his nostril. “I want to be resilient. I’m a survivor. I’m not going to be taken out by some sick person.”
Hate crime charges would require proving that the gunman was motivated by bias, such as towards the victims’ precise or perceived sexual orientation or gender id. The fees towards Aldrich are preliminary, and prosecutors haven’t but filed formal fees.
Court paperwork laying out Aldrich’s arrest had been sealed on the request of prosecutors. He’s represented by Joseph Archambault, a chief trial deputy with the state public defender’s workplace. Lawyers from the workplace don’t touch upon instances to the media.
Local and federal authorities have declined to reply questions on why hate crime fees had been being thought-about. District Attorney Michael Allen famous that the homicide fees would carry the harshest penalty — life in jail — whereas bias crimes are eligible for probation.
“But it is important to let the community know that we do not tolerate bias motivated crimes in this community, that we support communities that have been maligned, harassed and intimidated and abused,” Allen mentioned, including that extra fees are attainable.
The assault was halted by two membership patrons together with Richard Fierro, who instructed reporters that he took a handgun from Aldrich, hit him with it and pinned him down with assist from one other particular person.
Fierro, a former Army main who now owns an area brewery, mentioned he was celebrating a birthday with members of the family when the suspect “came in shooting.” Fierro mentioned he ran on the suspect — who was carrying some kind of physique armor and is described in jail data as 260 kilos and 6-foot-4 — and pulled him down earlier than severely beating him till police arrived.
Though his actions saved lives, Fierro mentioned the deaths, together with his daughter’s boyfriend, had been a tragedy for Fierro and for the broader group.
“There are five people that I could not help, and one of which was family to me,” he mentioned.
The different patron who intervened was Thomas James, a Navy info programs technician stationed in Colorado Springs, based on a biography launched by the Navy. A Navy spokesperson mentioned Tuesday that James was in secure situation recovering from unspecified accidents.
Fierro mentioned a 3rd particular person additionally helped and kicked the suspect in the top.
The victims had been Raymond Green Vance, 22, a Colorado Springs native who was saving cash to get his personal house; Ashley Paugh, 35, a mom who helped discover houses for foster kids; Daniel Aston, 28, who had labored on the membership as a bartender and entertainer; Kelly Loving, 40, whose sister described her as “caring and sweet”; and Derrick Rump, 38, one other membership bartender identified for his wit.
A regulation enforcement official mentioned the suspect used an AR-15-style semi-automatic weapon. A handgun and extra ammunition magazines additionally had been recovered. The official couldn’t focus on particulars of the investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on situation of anonymity.
Bedayn is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points.
Associated Press reporters Bernard Condon in New York, Colleen Slevin in Denver, Jake Blieberg in Dallas, Amy Forliti in Minneapolis, Matthew Brown in Billings, Montana, Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas, Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles and information researcher Rhonda Shafner from New York contributed.