A judge warned in 2021 that alleged Club Q shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich was stockpiling weapons and explosives and was planning a shootout, according to court transcripts.
As previously reported, Aldrich was arrested in 2021 after an armed standoff with police. Aldrich allegedly locked themself in their mother’s home with “guns, ammo, body armor, and a homemade bomb” while wearing body armor, chugging vodka, and threatening to kill their grandparents at gunpoint. They were eventually arrested and faced charges that included three felony counts of kidnapping and two of menacing.
During a hearing in August 2021, Judge Robin Chittum heard from relatives who described Aldrich’s struggles with mental illness. Aldrich described an affinity for guns, according to court records which were unsealed after the suspect was charged earlier this month in the Colorado Springs mass shooting.
“You clearly have been planning for something else,” Chittum said at the 2021 hearing. “It didn’t have to do with your grandma and grandpa. It was saving all these firearms and trying to make this bomb, and making statements about other people being involved in some sort of shootout and a huge thing. And then that’s kind of what it turned into.”
Chittum warned that if Aldrich did not get help, “it’s going to be so bad.”
The judge also reportedly received a letter from relatives of Aldrich’s grandparents saying that Aldrich was sure to commit murder if freed.
“We believe that my brother, and his wife, would undergo bodily harm or more if Anderson were released,” the grandmother’s in-laws, Robert Pullen and Jeanie Streltzoff, wrote in a statement to legal authorities at the time. “Besides being incarcerated, we believe Anderson needs therapy and counseling.”
Nonetheless, Chittum dismissed the case in July 2022 after Aldrich’s family stopped cooperating with prosecutors.
“Since a deadline for proceeding with [Aldrich’s] trial was coming up and the prosecution clearly was not ready to proceed… the trial judge had no choice but to dismiss the case,” Ian Farrell, associate professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, told the AP.
Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz said that the transcripts show that “more could have been done to prevent the violence” that occurred on November 19, when Aldrich allegedly opened fire at Club Q, killing five people and injuring 18 others.