People who knew Anderson Lee Aldrich – the alleged Club Q shooter who has been arrested in connection with the mass shooting at the LGBTQ bar that left five people dead – say that he frequently used anti-gay slurs.
Twenty-two-year-old Aldrich has been arrested and charged with five counts of murder and five hate crimes charges in connection to the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado this past Saturday night. Xavier Kraus, 23, said that he used to be friends with Aldrich and they lived in the same building near the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
“There would be times where he and his mom would get into fights, arguments, because he would be saying hateful things about whoever he was angry with,” Kraus told The Daily Beast. “He said things sometimes that probably should have been alarming to me. He used the term ‘fa***t’ a lot. Most of the time it came from a place of anger.”
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Police say that Aldrich used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to carry out the attack and that a second gun was found at the crime scene.
Kraus said that Aldrich liked to shoot guns with his mother and shared videos of him and his mother shooting targets.
“We had this conversation talking about how dangerous these guns are, these weapons are,” Kraus said. “He had this idea that we would go out at some point to a range and he [would] teach me some gun safety and go out and shoot some target practice. We never ended up getting around to do that. But that conversation just kind of sits with me, because I know how I felt when I saw the gun and he showed it to me. He was like, ‘This is all legal. I’m totally allowed to have this.’ It was an assault-rifle type gun.”
“There was one time where he made a ‘shooting his gun’ reference to a woman he was upset with,” he continued. “And this was one of the instances where his mom was like, ‘Andy, oh my God, no, you can’t say that.’”
According to multiple news outlets, Aldrich was previously arrested in 2021 and charged with five felonies after threatening his mother with a homemade bomb and multiple weapons. The threat resulted in a standoff with police. The New York Times reports that police were unable to find any explosives at the time, and Aldrich was never prosecuted.
Leslie Bowman, who had been renting a spare room to Aldrich’s mother at the time, expressed outrage following Saturday’s mass shooting that he had been allowed access to firearms.
“Why is he not in jail, after that happening?” she said of the 2021 arrest. “After that initial day, police never reached out to me for additional information. I’m a Second Amendment supporter, don’t get me wrong. But for him to be out there, and have access to weapons after that incident, I don’t understand it.”