As a first-hand account of the shooting at a Colorado night club early Sunday left one describing his experience as feeling “like a fish trapped in a barrel,” investigations into the suspect believed responsible for killing five people have suggested a familial connection to a pro-MAGA California official.
Little remains known about Anderson Lee Aldrich, the 22-year-old alleged to have opened fire at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado Sunday, killing five and injuring more than 20 others, and so conclusions are being drawn about the violence deemed a hate crime.
Among them were suggestions that the attack was spurred by Republicans who’ve opposed queer theory being taught in schools and children being exposed to Drag Queen Story Hour which was only enhanced after reports suggested Aldrich’s grandfather may be outgoing California state Assemblyman Randy Voepel (R).
Voepel, who lost his August primary to continue representing the 71st district covering parts of San Diego and Riverside counties, to Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, had taken heat for his response to the breach of the Capitol on January 6 where he had supposedly compared the protests to the American Revolution.
The Daily Mail quoted Voepel as saying, “This is Lexington and Concord. First shots fired against tyranny. Tyranny will follow in the aftermath of the Biden swear in on January 20th,” which had left many calling for his ousting.
Michael Anderson, a bartender at the club during the attack, spoke with MSNBC to describe his experience but presented no cause for the violence.
“We come here to have community; to have a safe place to gather; to drink together; to cheers together; to have a good night, and last night was that until it wasn’t,” he told the outlet before describing hearing shots fired. “I didn’t know what it was at first, but I looked up and I saw the silhouette or shadow of a guy holding what looked like a rifle, or some sort of long gun.”
“At that point, I really got scared for my life,” the bartender said.
After he and two others had fled to the patio area and hid between a booth and a wall where they, “all just huddled together, just praying that it would end,” Anderson said he would later peak out, “and I saw the barrel of a gun, poked into the patio room. I saw just the tip of it, and it was at that point that I legitimately thought I was about to get shot. I didn’t know–I felt like a fish trapped in a barrel. I didn’t know where to go, I didn’t have my phone, I didn’t have anything. So I was just so scared that I wouldn’t be able to talk to my mom or anybody.”
When he had finally found cause to move, the bartender explained he saw the patrons who had stepped in to stop the suspect, “They were kicking him–he was lying on the ground–they were kicking him; punching him; yelling at him. I don’t know who that was, but I am so grateful. I will be grateful for whoever that is for the rest of my life because this could’ve been very different for me.”
Aldrich’s background also included an incident from June of 2021 where a bomb threat at the home of Laura Voepel, the suspect’s mother, led police to evacuate the neighborhood within a quarter-mile radius
According to the New York Times, “the man’s mother had called the police and said that she was not with her son and did not know where he was, but that he had threatened to hurt her with a bomb, ammunition and other weapons.”
When the bomb squad entered the residence, no bomb materials were found. Aldrich was later arrested and, the Times went on, “Mr Aldrich was charged with several crimes after that arrest, including felony menacing and three kidnapping charges. It is unclear who he was accused of kidnapping,”
Those charges were later dropped and the records were sealed without explanation.
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