Colorado shooting: Dad ‘praised’ Anderson Aldrich for violence

The father of the man suspected of killing five people at a Colorado nightclub has revealed he praised his son for “violent behaviour” in the past.

At least 18 people were injured and five were killed when a gunman stormed LGBTQ venue Club Q in Colorado Springs on Saturday night.

The attack, which ended with a U.S. Army veteran attacking the assailant, shattered a rare haven for the city’s close-knit LGBTQ community.

The suspect has been identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich.

The suspect has yet to be formally charged but is being held without charge on suspicion of murder.

Aldirch’s attorneys revealed their client is non-binary before appearing in court Wednesday and using their/their first names.

Aldrich’s father, Aaron Brink, told the media that he became afraid that the child might be gay after finding out where the attack took place after the attack.

Mr. Brink, a former MMA fighter and porn star, said CBS 8 that until six months ago he thought the 22-year-old had committed suicide.

Aldrich was born Nicholas Brink, but changed his name in 2016 to “protect himself and his future from any association with his birth father (sic) and his criminal history”, court documents state.

That same year, Mr. Brink claimed that his ex-wife called him and told him that their child had died by suicide after the name change.

“I thought he was dead. I mourn his loss. I had gone through a meltdown and thought I had lost my son,” he said CBS 8.

Brink said she believed Aldrich was dead until six months ago when the 22-year-old called their father and started arguing with him, with the former MMA fighter saying they were “pissed off” at him.

He told the publication that Aldirch’s lawyers called him after Saturday’s attack and said his child was involved in a shooting in Colorado.

“They started telling me about the incident, a shooting involving many people. And then I keep finding out it’s a gay bar,” Mr. Brink said.

“I was scared, ‘S**t, is he gay?’ And he’s not gay, so I said, poof.

The 48-year-old said he didn’t know “what the hell” his child would do in a gay bar.

“If he’s accused of doing that, I’m glad he’s not gay,” he said.

Mr Brink explained that he was a Mormon and a conservative Republican, adding “we don’t do gays”.

“My view of gays is not right and I think we should stand against homosexuality,” he said.

He told CBS 8 that he “commended him very early on for his violent behavior.”

“I told him it works, it’s instant and you’ll get immediate results,” he said.

However, when Brink learned more about the mass shooting, he said he was shocked and said there was “no excuse” for killing people.

He apologized to the families of the Club Q victims and asked for forgiveness for Aldrich.

“I am sorry for your loss. Life is so fragile and it is precious. The lives of those people were precious. You know, they are precious. They are probably good people. It’s not something you kill someone over. I’m sorry I let my son go,” he said.

“I love my son no matter what. I love my son. Forgive my son.”

A suspect’s chaotic past is revealed

Aldrich remained dressed in orange jail clothes during a brief court hearing by video link from the county on Wednesday.

Aldrich was flanked by two public defenders, who said in court documents filed Tuesday that the suspect identifies as non-twin and uses they/them pronouns.

The defendant spoke only to confirm their names and that they had been shown a video outlining their rights when questioned by District Judge Charlotte Ankeny.

Aldrich has not been formally charged, but is being held without bond on suspicion of murder. Under Colorado’s legal system, formal charges are not expected for up to 10 days.

A picture of Aldrich’s messy life began to emerge Wednesday, with a childhood marked by instability and with parents suffering from substance abuse problems.

Many media outlets have reported that Aldirch’s parents broke up when she was two years old.

When the suspect changed his name during his teenage years, their father had several arrests in California related to drug and driving offenses, according to New York Timesciting court records.

Mr. Brink admitted a Times reporter that “he had expressed a strong dislike of gay people when the child was younger.” But, the paper said, he sympathized with those affected by the Colorado Springs shooting.

Aldrich’s mother, Laura Voepel, also had run-ins with police in California, including for public intoxication and possession of a controlled substance.

In 2012, she received five years of probation in Texas for setting fire to a bed at the psychiatric unit where she had been admitted, according to court records Times.

Wednesday’s brief hearing came just days after the brutal attack at Club Q, with the small Rocky Mountain city of half a million people still reeling.

The Flower and Teddy Bear Bank created a temporary memorial outside the club, but on Monday evening a candlelight vigil was held in a park in the city centre.

But along with the grief, there has also been praise for the courage and common sense of Army Commander Richard Fierro, who was visiting the club with his wife.

Fierro told reporters he grabbed the gunman’s pistol. “I don’t know exactly what I did, I just went into battle mode,” he said. “I just know I have to kill this guy before he kills us.

“I took the gun out of his hand and just started hitting him in the head, over and over,” he said. New York Times.

Aldrich is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 6.

Originally published as Colorado mass shooting suspect’s father ‘praised him’ for violence

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