DENVER (KDVR) – Five people are dead, 25 more are injured and a suspect is in custody after a mass shooting at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs on Saturday night.
According to the Colorado Springs Police Department, a man named Anderson Lee Aldrich has been arrested after allegedly walking into Club Q, located at 3430 N. Academy Blvd., and opening fire with what has been described as a “long rifle.”
Police have not released a mug shot of the suspect. No court documents or scheduled court appearances for Aldrich have been released.
Multiple people have flocked to social media questioning how Aldrich was free given the serious nature of his past charges, including Aurora City Councilwoman Dani Jurinsky who tweeted: “I’d like to know why the Colorado Justice system continues to fail us. 1 year ago this guy was booked into the El Paso County Jail for 2 counts of felony menacing and 3 counts of 1st degree kidnapping. Why was this guy roaming free last night and not behind bars??”
2021 bomb threat in El Paso County
In June 2021, deputies with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office charged a man with the same name as the Club Q shooting suspect with two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping.
A press release from the Sheriff’s Office on June 18, 2021, stated, “The reporting party said her son was threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition. The reporting party was not in the home at the time when she made the call and was not sure where her son was.”
Deputies later arrested Aldrich in the 6300 block of Pilgrimage Road after evacuating 10 homes in the area.
But that arrest no longer shows up in the Colorado Court system.
She had called 911 when he threatened her with “a homemade bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition.”
Deputies located him a short distance from his mother’s home, where he allegedly refused to comply with surrender orders. It took several hours and the deployment of the county’s Crisis Negotiations Unit, but he eventually surrendered.
Court records on bomb threat case
Colorado courts tweeted Sunday from an official account, saying, “At this time, the Court does not have any public records available under the name Anderson Lee Aldrich related to this weekend’s shooting in Colorado Springs, or any other matter in Colorado.”
This would mean the public court records system, known as CoCourts, has no records involving the person arrested in the 2021 case. Public records from most district and county trial court cases can be found in CoCourts, but records from sealed cases are not in the system.
Also, officials do not confirm if cases have been sealed. For the purposes of finding public court records, a sealed case will have no records available, the same result as if there had been no case at all.
The reason is that legally, law enforcement and the courts can’t confirm a past case ever existed once it’s been sealed.
Sources told the Problem Solvers that charges in the bomb threat case were dismissed because the victim (the suspect’s mother) refused to cooperate with investigators.
What FOX31’s legal expert said about the sealed case
FOX31 legal analyst and defense attorney Chris Decker told the Problem Solvers he has helped clients get their cases sealed more than a hundred times.
“The public interest in knowing about that is outweighed by the individual’s right to have some privacy, to get housing to get jobs in the future,” Decker said.
Decker noted that while the public may not have access to the bomb threat case file, prosecutors and detectives investigating the Club Q shooting do maintain access to the defendant’s past criminal arrests and whatever probable cause investigators may have had at the time.
“That prior case might have fingerprints, might have information, might have relevant data or information regarding a current case or even a future case. Law enforcement and the government maintain access to those records,” Decker said.
Legal experts told FOX31 it is possible to get a sealed case unsealed and FOX31 intends to consult with its legal team on Monday to discuss if the media can establish a legal threshold that might convince a judge to unseal the prior bomb threat case.
“In light of the events of last night, there’s no question everyone would certainly love to know — was that a case involving firearms? Was it involving hatred against the LGBT community? Was it in any way related to the horrific acts that occurred last night, allegedly at the hands of this same individual,” Decker said.