COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — An arrest affidavit unsealed Wednesday in the mass shooting at a Colorado gay nightclub showed images from the shooter’s arrival and gave more detail about what happened after, including what the suspect reportedly told staff at the hospital.
Police allege Anderson Aldrich, 22, was the shooter that night at Club Q in Colorado Springs. The document is the initial account from police of what happened that evening. It was released Wednesday by the district court in El Paso County.
The affidavit recounts some of the stories already shared widely since the shooting, like how good Samaritans helped take down the shooter. It also described Aldrich’s arrival at the club just five minutes before midnight and described witness and video descriptions of what happened next.
Surveillance video from the club showed the suspect arrive in a gold Toyota Highlander and park just feet from the club’s entrance, opening fire at two people “almost immediately upon entering the main area of the club” with an “AR-15-style assault rifle” and a bulletproof vest, according to the affidavit. Police say he fired “indiscriminately” into the club.
A man who helped take down Aldrich told police he heard the shooter “reload after the first volley of gunfire” and even threw a magazine from the suspect as they fought on the ground.
It was reported by 12:02 a.m. that “the suspect was detained on the floor inside the bar,” with “several victims” hurt inside the club. Victims were found both inside and outside.
Police found the Toyota Highlander that the shooter arrived in was registered to Aldrich. It was described as “cluttered” with “a cartridge for an AR-15-style rifle (likely at .223 caliber) on the front right passenger seat.”
Once at the hospital, police officers said they overheard Aldrich express sorrow to medical staff and speak of being awake for four days.
By about 3:45 a.m., detectives contacted Aldrich’s mother, Laura Voepel. She told police the two were supposed to go to a movie around 10 p.m. but Aldrich “left on an errand” for 15 minutes and she did not see or know anything more. Voepel told police Aldrich “took her phone with him and she had not seen him since.” She denied that they had any weapons, besides a folding pocket knife.
Legal expert on Club Q suspect
Aldrich is charged with 305 counts in the shooting, including five counts of first-degree murder and four dozen hate crimes. Five people were killed and 17 more were wounded in the shooting.
Former district attorney George Brauchler, legal analyst for FOX31, prosecuted the Aurora theater and STEM School Highlands Ranch shootings. He said the five-page affidavit is not too short for the purpose it is intended to serve.
“Aurora theater, we had an 18-page affidavit. STEM, we had 11,” he said. “For the Boulder supermarket shooting, five. So, there’s really nothing unusual about the length. The sole purpose of this affidavit is to provide probable cause, a very low standard to arrest someone.”
Brauchler thinks both sides will use what was overheard in the hospital as arguments in court.
“The only way out of this case for this guy that doesn’t result in an eternity in prison is for him to plead to some type of diminished mental capacity, specifically insanity,” Brauchler said. “That four days of sleeplessness, that may feed into that. But remember, the apology, the instant recognition that he is remorseful for his actions, is a sign that he knows right from wrong based on vital standards of morality. That defeats insanity.”
FOX31’s Nicole Fierro contributed to this report.