The FBI confirmed Wednesday that the suspect accused of opening fire at a Colorado gay bar last month and killing five people was put on the bureau’s radar when he was arrested for threatening to kill his family.
In response to questions from The Epoch Times, the FBI said that 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, the mass shooting suspect who in court papers last month identified as “nonbinary” and uses “they/them pronouns,” became known to the bureau a day before he threatened to kill members of his family during a police standoff on June 18, 2021. The FBI closed the case several weeks later without explanation, the bureau confirmed Wednesday.
“The FBI received information on June 17, 2021 concerning Anderson Aldrich. As part of the assessment, the FBI coordinated with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, which arrested Aldrich on June 18, 2021,” the FBI’s press office said Wednesday. “With state charges pending, the FBI closed its assessment on July 15, 2021.”
Aldrich is accused of shooting and killing five people and injuring more than a dozen others during a Colorado Springs mass shooting on Nov. 20.
The Associated Press first reported Wednesday on the FBI’s confirmation that the bureau received a tip a day before the June 18 incident.
The disclosure by the FBI creates a new timeline for when authorities were first notified about the suspect as it was believed that he only became known to officials after he made the threat in June of last year.
An FBI assessment is the lowest level, least intrusive, and most elementary stage of an FBI inquiry. Such assessments are routinely opened after agents receive a tip and investigators routinely face a challenge of sifting through which of the tens of thousands of tips received every year could yield a viable threat.
It’s not clear why Colorado officials dropped charges against Aldrich after he threatened his family members. He was previously charged with felony kidnapping and menacing charges.
During the aforementioned incident, Aldrich had threatened to kill members of his family and allegedly had told them he wanted to be “the next mass killer.” He also said that if a police SWAT crew came inside his Colorado Springs home, he would blow the house up.
Under Colorado law, cases that are dismissed by either prosecutors or a judge are automatically sealed to prevent people from having their lives ruined if they do not end up being prosecuted. Authorities have cited the law in refusing to answer questions about the case but a coalition of media organizations, including the AP, has asked the court to unseal the records.
After mass shootings in previous years, the FBI also revealed that shooting suspects had been on the bureau’s “radar.” That includes Florida gay club mass shooter Omar Mateen, FedEx shooter Brandon Hole, Parkland mass shooter Nikolas Cruz, and more, according to reports.
On Tuesday, Colorado prosecutors charged Aldrich with 305 criminal counts, including hate crimes and murder. Investigators said that he entered the gay bar at around midnight on Nov. 19 and started shooting before patrons took him to the ground.
Daniel Aston, 28; Kelly Loving, 40; Ashley Paugh, 35; Derrick Rump, 38; Raymond Green Vance, 22; all died in the attack, according to officials.
“Obviously when you file 305 counts in a case, that tells the public, this community, this state and this nation that we are taking this case as seriously as we possibly can and we are going to prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law,” Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said in a news conference as the charges were handed down against Aldrich.
Regarding the hate crime charges, Allen confirmed that Aldrich’s status as “nonbinary” is “part of the picture.” He did not elaborate.
Several weeks before that, lawyers for the suspect indicated that “Anderson Aldrich is nonbinary” in a footnote. “They use they/them pronouns, and for the purposes of all formal filings, will be addressed as Mx. Aldrich.” The “Mx.” prefix is often used by people who claim to be transgender.
There were also reports that Aldrich’s father was an MMA fighter, Aaron Brink, who made at least one UFC appearance and also concurrently appeared in pornographic films.
Officials told KDVR-TV that Aldrich’s mother, Laura Voepel, was arrested last month for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct just hours after the mass shooting was reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times