EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The Club Q shooting suspect exhibited antisocial behavior for years, threatening violence that kept family members in fear and even ordering 3D printers to make guns, relatives wrote in court documents released Thursday.
The letter from Anderson Aldrich’s great aunt and uncle was submitted to a Colorado judge in 2021 with a plea to keep the future mass shooting suspect behind bars. Aldrich had been arrested after threatening to kill their brother and his wife — Aldrich’s grandmother and her husband.
“We feel certain that if Anderson is freed that he will hurt or murder my brother and his wife,” they wrote. “We believe that my brother, and his wife, would undergo bodily harm or more if Anderson were released. Besides being incarcerated, we believe Anderson needs therapy and counseling.”
The letter is part of documents unsealed Thursday in the 2021 arrest, when a SWAT team responded to Aldrich’s threats of mass murder, explosives and suicide. The case was dismissed and sealed just months before police say the 22-year-old was found on the floor of Club Q, pummeled by patrons after killing five people and hurting 17 more.
A relatively new Colorado law automatically seals dismissed criminal cases, including Aldrich’s 2021 bomb threat case. A coalition of Colorado media outlets, including FOX31, sued to have the documents released. A judge on Thursday found the documents to be in the public interest and ordered their release.
The unsealed case records show Aldrich’s prosecution on counts of felony kidnapping and menacing, with sentence enhancers for crimes of violence, carried on for more than a year. It showed Aldrich planned a defense that included “voluntary intoxication.” But it ended abruptly after the victim in the case — Aldrich’s grandmother, Pamela Pullen — fought a subpoena to testify.
Pullen filed an objection to the subpoena on June 30, saying she lived in Florida and arguing that the subpoena was not properly served. While Aldrich’s mother, Laura Voepel, and grandmother’s husband, Jonathan Pullen, were listed as witnesses in the case, it’s unclear from the documents whether they agreed to cooperate.
The case was dismissed on July 5, just days after Pamela Pullen’s legal objection. The shooting happened months later, on the night of Nov. 19.
New details in Club Q suspect’s 2021 arrest
An arrest affidavit included in the case file gives the initial police narrative of what happened on June 18, 2021. The incident began over a plan to move to Florida, to which Aldrich responded by pointing a gun at Pullen and her husband and threatening to kill them.
“You guys die today, and I’m taking you with me. I’m loaded and ready. You’re not calling anyone,” Aldrich told them, according to the affidavit included in the case file.
“Anderson told her if they moved, it would interfere with his plans to conduct a mass shooting and bombing,” according to the document.
Aldrich showed her a box with chemicals in it and said it was a bomb “powerful enough to blow up a police department and a federal building.”
After Pullen and her husband ran away and called 911, deputies contacted Aldrich’s mother, Voepel, who lived nearby. She “did not want to answer any questions on the whereabouts of her son,” according to the affidavit. She then texted her landlord that her son was wanted by police and was inside the home with her.
When the SWAT team got to the home, Aldrich threatened to “start shooting through the walls” and told a police sergeant “that he was going to die today,” telling a SWAT negotiator of a gas mask and armor-piercing rounds in the home.
Aldrich live-streamed the SWAT encounter, saying at one point, “Today, I die.”
After Aldrich ultimately surrendered and faced arrest, police searched the grandmother’s home “to prevent a planned terrorism attack.” There, they found bomb-making materials in the basement.
A narrative from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office explosives unit said the substances included an estimated 113 pounds of ammonium nitrate in a tub and packets of aluminum powder, which combine to make an explosive.
Investigators also seized handguns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, body armor, magazines and a gas mask.
Aldrich tried to get back the guns that were seized after the threat — a “ghost gun” with a Glock frame and a semi-automatic rifle — but authorities did not return the weapons, the El Paso County district attorney and sheriff’s office said Thursday.
Letter from relatives details suspect’s violent behavior
While the unsealed documents give a timeline of Aldrich’s 2021 court case, the letter from an aunt and uncle to the judge in the case paints a picture of the shooting suspect’s history of violent behavior.
They wrote Aldrich was home-schooled because of a failure to get along with classmates. They claim Aldrich attacked the grandmother’s husband — their sibling — who lied to authorities about what happened because he feared Aldrich’s anger if police were involved.
Fear permeated the household, described as a “virtual prison.” Aldrich’s grandmother and her husband slept in their bedroom with the door locked and with a baseball bat by the bed, they wrote.
Along with threats, Aldrich’s violence included “punched holes in the walls, broken windows, broken locks.” After the family sought counseling help, the counselor called the police. But Aldrich’s grandmother would not allow any arrest — even though Aldrich had threatened to kill the grandparents, forcing them to flee the house.
The grandmother even gave Aldrich $30,000, which went toward two 3D printers, they wrote — “on which he was making guns.”
Police have said Aldrich used an AR-15-style rifle in the Club Q shooting. Sources have told FOX31 that the gun was a ghost gun, one made using parts that can be purchased and assembled, or 3D-printed.