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A tumultuous past surrounds the suspect in the Colorado Springs Club Q shooting

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When the 22-year-old arrested in the deadly blaze at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ club first appeared in court on Wednesday and was ordered to be held, bits of the suspect’s past are slowly emerging, hinting at a unstable upbringing and broken family life.

Anderson Lee Aldrich’s father said in an interview Tuesday with CBS affiliate KFMB in San Diego that he believed Aldrich had committed suicide several years ago and that he only learned otherwise this year.

Aaron Brink told the news station that he had mourned the loss of his child and had gone through a meltdown.

Brink said his ex-wife told him in 2016 that Aldrich was dead. Aldrich was born Nicholas Franklin Brink before petitioning for a name change in 2016. they/them pronouns. There was no further elaboration and Aldrich’s lawyers were not immediately available for comment Wednesday.)

According to court documents filed in Bexar County, Texas, the name change was requested because Aldrich, who turned 16, “wants to protect himself and his future from any connections to his biological father and his criminal past. Father has had no contact with minor For several years.” The application was first reported by The Washington Post.

At the time, Aldrich was living in Texas with grandparents and legal guardians Pamela and Jonathan Pullen. Both could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Aldrich’s mother, Laura Voepel, also lived in Texas. Attempts to reach her were also unsuccessful.

Brink, 48, said he only learned that Aldrich was alive after receiving a phone call from his child six months ago. The two quarreled.

He told KFMB that Aldrich was “pissed at me” and wants to “poke at the old man”.

The former MMA fighter who later starred in adult films recalled his ex-wife saying that Aldrich was seeking a name change because Brink had ties to the porn industry and also appeared in a 2009 episode of the A&E docuseries “Intervention.”

In the episode, Brink says he is addicted to crystal meth and is shown taking drugs before members of his family encourage him to seek treatment. Brink’s own troubled childhood is profiled on the show, including his parents’ divorce and his arrest at age 21 for smuggling marijuana from Mexico into the United States. He served three years in federal prison.

Brink said he divorced Aldrich’s mother not long after their child was born. Neither Voepel nor Aldrich are mentioned in the episode “Intervention”.

Brink’s criminal record also includes convictions for assault against the suspect’s mother, both before and after Aldrich’s birth. That reports the Associated Press. A 2002 felony conviction in California resulted in a protection order that initially barred Brink from contacting Voepel and their child except through an attorney, but that was later changed to allow for supervised visits to Aldrich, the AP said.

Brink told KFMB that he was the one who taught his child how to fight.

He said he praised Aldrich “for very early violent behavior”, adding that he also said “it works. It’s instant and you get immediate results.”

Brink said Voepel and Aldrich moved to Colorado around 2012.

He added that he was surprised Aldrich would have been at Club Q, where authorities say the gunman killed five people and wounded 19 others with a semi-automatic rifle on Saturday because he did not believe his child had been sent to an LGBTQ community. establishment would have gone. primarily because the family is Mormon.

A spokesperson for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told NBC News that Aldrich is on the membership list but has been inactive for more than a decade.

“There’s no excuse for killing people,” Brink said. “If you’re killing people, something’s wrong. It’s not the answer.”

A motive for the shooting remains unclear. Aldrich has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of committing those crimes as part of a bias.

The suspect was suppressed in the club by at least two people.

Prosecutor Michael Allen said Aldrich, who appeared in court via video with facial injuries, was “physically competent” to stand trial. The next hearing was scheduled for December 6.

Law enforcement personnel are outside Club Q
Law enforcement personnel stand outside Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Sunday following a deadly mass shooting.Parker Seibold/The Gazette via AP

After court, Allen declined to answer questions from reporters about another case involving Aldrich.

Aldrich was arrested last year after Voepel reported that her child had threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons. Video from the doorbell obtained by the AP shows Aldrich arriving at Voepel’s front door with a large black bag on the day of the 2021 bomb threat, telling her the police were nearby and adding, “Here I stand. Today I die. I.”

Authorities at the time said no explosives were found, but gun control advocates have questioned why police didn’t use Colorado’s “red flag” laws to seize the guns the mother said Aldrich had.

Brink said he regrets abandoning his child and only learned of Aldrich’s alleged involvement in the shooting when a lawyer contacted him.

Brink told KFMB that he loved Aldrich “no matter what” and asked people to “please forgive” his child.

Donna Mendel, Shelley Oosterloh and The associated press contributed.

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