The gunman accused of shooting and killing five people at the gay nightclub Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colo., promised to become “the next mass killer” in the summer of 2021, according to sealed court documents obtained by the Associated Press and local TV station KKTV.
The vow was made around a standoff at a house where the Club Q suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, allegedly hoarded weapons and body armor, including a homemade bomb.
“Anderson Lee Aldrich loaded bullets into a Glock pistol and chugged vodka, ominously warning frightened grandparents not to stand in the way of an elaborate plan”… “to become ‘the next mass killer,’” the AP reports.
According to the documents, Aldrich told relatives who lived at the home that if the police came in, the house would be blown “to holy hell.”
The suspect surrendered to police after livestreaming it on Facebook.
The charges related to the standoff were dropped. Media outlets report that no guns were seized from the home. The AP reports that authorities have not explained why because the case is sealed.
Aldrich’s threats forced 10 homes in the area to be evacuated.
The new information brings to light possible failures of law enforcement and prosecutors in pursuing Aldrich at the time, which would have led to Aldrich being charged and possibly convicted.
It was a warning that may have gone unheeded.
A relative or the authorities could have asked a judge to confiscate any weapons under an extreme risk order under the state’s “red flag” law. No attempt was recorded.
The sheriff of El Paso County, Bill Elder, argued against “red flag” laws previously.
Gov. Jared Polis, a gay Democrat, has voiced support of an investigation to what happened around the case in 2021.
“It appears obvious that an Extreme Risk Protection Order law could have and should have been utilized, which would have removed the suspect’s firearms and could very well have prevented this tragedy,” a spokesperson for the governor told the news wire.
“There were many warning signs.”
Aldrich faces more than 300 charges related to the Club Q shooting. Aside from being accused of killing five people, Aldrich is also charged with wounding about 20 others at the club.
“It makes no sense,” Jerecho Loveall, a former Club Q employee who was injured in the attack, told the AP. “If they would have taken this more seriously and done their job, the lives we lost, the injuries we sustained, and the trauma this community has faced would not have happened.”
“It was absolutely preventable,” said Wyatt Kent, who lay under a woman who died in the shooting and who lost his partner during it. “Even if charges aren’t filed for a bomb threat, maybe you’re not mentally sound enough to own a firearm.”
“There is no reason why he should have had access to an assault rifle ... especially for someone who has been quoted saying ‘I’m going to be the next mass shooter,”’ Loveall said.