News (USA)

FBI investigating racist website & videos connected to Club Q shooter

FBI investigating racist website & videos connected to Club Q shooter
Club Q Photo: Screenshot

A former neighbor and friend of Anderson Lee Aldrich says that the FBI questioned him about two websites in connection with the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Xavier Kraus said he told investigators that one of the sites, a “free speech” forum site where users have anonymously posted racist and antisemitic memes, language, and videos, was created by the suspected Club Q shooter. Earlier this week, Aldrich was formally charged with 305 criminal counts in relation to the deadly shooting, which left five people dead and injured more than a dozen others. The charges include hate crimes and murder.

Kraus reportedly told investigators that Aldrich created the site in late spring or early summer.

According to NBC News, the homepage of the site allegedly created by Aldrich features a video titled “Wrong Targets,” which advocates for killing civilians as part of a larger effort to “assassinate the elites at the top” and “cleanse” society. Kraus could not confirm that Aldrich posted the video but told investigators that posting a video on the site “was something that only an admin could do.”

A link on the same page leads to a second site with links to four videos that appear to have been posted in the hours leading up to the shooting. One of the videos appears to show the inside of the apartment Aldrich shared with their mother, Kraus confirmed. Another video, one of two that show the inside of a Toyota at night, shows a reflection in a rearview mirror that looks like Aldrich. Kraus also said that the voice heard in the videos “sounds very, very similar” to Aldrich.

In one video, the person recording can be heard saying, “Shout out to professional seven sins.” Krause told investigators that he did not know the meaning of the remark but mentioned Se7en Sins Gaming Community, an online community that he said he and Aldrich were familiar with. According to NBC News, one of the administrators of the community goes by the name “Professional.”

NBC News reports that the site hosting those four videos previously hosted video of the May 14 mass shooting at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. Links to the site were subsequently shared on extremist sites 4chan and 8kun.

The possible reference to an online gaming community echoes the 2019 massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. During a livestream of that shooting, the gunman, Brenton Tarrant said “subscribe to PewDiePie,” referencing a meme inspired by YouTuber Felix Kjellberg.

In a National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin issued last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned that the LGBTQ+ community was among several potential targets for extremist violence inspired by the Club Q shooting and other bias-motivated attacks. The bulletin noted that DHS has “observed actors on forums known to post racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist content praising the alleged attacker.”

Kraus previously told The Daily Beast that Anderson frequently used anti-LGBTQ+ slurs. Anderson, whose lawyers say is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, has not yet publicly stated a motive in the crime. Their grandfather is a MAGA Republican lawmaker who supported the January 6 insurrection, and Aldrich’s father expressed anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment when he learned that Aldrich allegedly killed five people.

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