Colorado Springs: Club shooter ran neo-Nazi site

Colorado Springs, Colorado –

A 22-year-old man accused of causing a fatal shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs in November ran a neo-Nazi website and used gay and racist slurs while gaming online. bottom.

Anderson Lee Aldrich also posted images of rifle scopes trained at the gay pride parade and used prejudiced slurs when referring to homosexuals. justify the prosecution of

Aldrich, who identifies as non-binary and uses them and their pronouns, maintains obscure websites, including what Joines described as “neo-Nazi white supremacist” shooting training videos glorifying mass shootings. Did.

The videos she said were not made by Aldrich, but were also posted online by many others, showing attacks on synagogues and mosques in Europe and two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Joins said he believed Aldrich was trying to imitate the Colorado Springs shooting attack.

Investigators also said Aldrich had heard from acquaintances that his mother, Laura Vaupel, was non-binary and forced him to go to an LGBTQ club, Joines said.

Unlike other charges facing Aldrich, including murder and attempted murder, the hate crime charge requires prosecutors to present evidence of motive.

The defense argued that Aldrich was not anti-LGBTQ, but was on multiple drugs, was sleep deprived, and came from an abusive family. Joines discussed police calls to the apartment Aldrich and her Laura Voepel shared for her Voepel’s suicide attempt and overdose. In one call, Aldrich said she felt unsafe in her apartment, Joines admitted.

According to Joines, ID scanning technology showed that Aldrich had been to the club at least six times before the shooting, but there were no fights or disturbances during those visits, and each visit involved only a few. The defense even showed what appears to be a selfie of Aldrich and Voepel laughing at Club Q in August 2021.

On the night of the shooting, Aldrich went to a club, left, and then returned, officials said. Surveillance video shows Aldrich entering a club wearing a red T-his shirt and tan ballistic vest, carrying an AR-style rifle, and for weapons he can see six magazines and a pistol. Police Detective Jason Gaspar said. Upon entering, Aldrich allegedly opened fire indiscriminately.

The shooting was stopped when Thomas James, a Navy information systems technician, grabbed the barrel of Aldrich’s rifle and burned his hand very hot, Detective Ashton Gardner said in the most detailed information ever provided. mentioned in the description.

As panicked patrons fled Club Q’s dance floor, James fell off the landing with Aldrich, wrestling Aldrich over a handgun. Aldrich fired at least one of his shots, shooting James in the ribs, Gardner said.

It’s clear from the video that James was exhausted after being shot. “But he continues to do what he can to subdue the suspect until the police arrive.”

As the two grappled, veteran Richard Fiero rushed to his aid, grabbed the rifle and threw it, Gardner said. He said he “kept hitting” until the suspect arrived.

Aldrich, who wore an orange jumpsuit, shivered amid testimony that people cried at being shot while being escorted outside the courtroom for their lunch break.

“I just wanted to save the family I found,” said James, who issued a statement days after the attack, but did not appear to be attending Wednesday’s hearing. Fierro sat in the back row. His daughter’s boyfriend was killed in the attack.

Detective Joines said there was also evidence that Aldrich was considering live-streaming the attack. A phone was taped to a hat found in Aldrich’s car.

After the shooting ended and police arrived, Aldrich tried to blame the shooting on one of the patrons who subdued them while claiming the shooter was hiding, Officer Connor Warrick testified. He didn’t believe it and immediately afterward confirmed that Aldrich was the shooter.

Gaspar said police found several high-capacity magazines at the scene, including an empty drum that held 60 rounds and another that held 40 rounds. Following the 2012 mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, a state law was passed banning magazines with more than 15 shots.

Although Aldrich identifies as non-binary, he could be charged with hate crimes targeting peers, even if they are members of protected groups such as the LGBTQ community. Hate crime laws focus on victims, not perpetrators.

The prosecutor usually wins the preliminary hearing because the standard of evidence is lower than in a public hearing and the evidence must be viewed from the perspective most favorable to the prosecutor. However, the defense attorney is a reserve because it provides an opportunity to question sworn witnesses, including investigators, and to learn more about government cases than the reports that may have already been handed over to them. You may want to proceed with the hearing, says Karen Steinhauser, a barrister, former prosecutor, and law professor at the University of Denver.

In Aldrich’s apartment, investigators found gun manufacturing materials, weapon receipts, and club drawings. In Aldrich’s mother’s room, they found a perforated round gun range target, said Gaspar.

Questions remain as to how Aldrich obtained the gun used in the shooting, but experts have said they have tried to persuade a judge to rule that there is enough evidence to bring the case to trial. , stated that there was no need to discuss where and how Aldrich obtained them.

Authorities issued a red flag order to stop Aldrich from buying guns after he was arrested in 2021 when he threatened his grandparents and vowed to be the “next mass murderer,” according to law enforcement documents. Questions were raised early on as to whether it was necessary to seek

Authorities said the two guns seized from Aldrich in the incident, a Ghost Gun pistol and an MM 15 rifle, were not returned. That case was dropped when prosecutors were unable to trace Aldrich’s grandparents and mother to testify, so Aldrich had no legal restrictions on purchasing a gun.

Defense attorneys also addressed Aldrich’s mental health for the first time at the hearing, showing pictures of the drug pills Aldrich was prescribed to treat mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and PTSD. rice field. However, the defense did not disclose whether Aldrich had been formally diagnosed with any of these mental illnesses.

This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Richard Fierro’s surname.

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