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Fragments of a troubled young life emerge, but mysteries about Anderson Aldrich remain

Summer Lin and Grace Toohey, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

In the months before Anderson Aldrich allegedly opened fire on a Colorado Springs, Colorado, LGBTQ nightclub, killing five and wounding 18 others, their mother posted in a Facebook group for women in the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, asking for help for her child.

In February, she asked for recommendations for a “trauma/PTSD therapist,” writing in a comment that it was for a “21-year-old,” the same age as Aldrich at the time.

Nearly three months later, she asked whether anyone could refer her child to a private boxing coach, who she described as “6’6” tall and hits like a freight train.”

“Cannot find a good gym or anyone serious,” she wrote. The post said her child had made huge life changes and needs this!”

On Saturday night, authorities allege that Aldrich walked into a Club Q and opened fire. Four days later, mystery still surrounds the suspect. Police have not provided a motive for the attack, and it appears Aldrich had little social media or online presence.

Scattered elements of his biography — a name change, a 2021 arrest in which their mother accused him of threatening her with a homemade bomb, a family connection to a California lawmaker — have emerged. But much is still unknown.

 

Aldrich was arrested this week on preliminary counts of murder and bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury in connection with the nightclub shooting, court records show. Aldrich’s attorneys have requested a preliminary hearing in the case, according to a Tuesday court filing by the Colorado Public Defender’s Office, but did not respond to further request for comment. The new filing said that Aldrich is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns.

Aldrich was born May 20, 2000, to Laura Voepel and Aaron Brink in California, according to Orange County court records. The next year, Brink filed for divorce, in which Laura Voepel was given full custody of their child with no visitation rights granted to Brink.

In the following years, Aldrich moved around with their mother to Texas and then to Colorado, at times living with their maternal grandmother. They also have a younger brother, according to Laura Voepel’s Facebook page.

Aldrich is the grandchild of California Assemblyman Randy Voepel, a Santee Republican, an aide for the legislator told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. The likely single-term state representative previously aligned himself with the tea party movement and later drew criticism for comments that likened the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to the shots fired at “Lexington and Concord” in the Revolutionary War. Randy Voepel declined to comment further about his grandchild Monday, the aide said.

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