The suspect in the shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub accused of killing five people and injuring 18 others, is non-binary, attorneys said in a court filing.
"Anderson Aldrich is non-binary. They use they/them pronouns, and for the purposes of all formal filings, will be addressed as Mx. Aldrich," a footnote in a court filing reads by their defense team.
Aldrich, who has not been formally charged yet, has been preliminarily charged with five counts of murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime, according to officials. The assault took place at Club Q – a nightclub that served as a sanctuary for the LGBTQ community.
Until 2016, Aldrich used the name Nicholas Franklin Brink and petitioned a Texas court for a name change weeks before they turned 16. Brink is reportedly the child of former UFC fighter and adult film star Aaron Brink, who has an extensive criminal history.
"Minor wishes to protect himself and his future from any connections to birth father and his criminal history. Father has had no contact with minor for several years," said the petition filed in Bexar County, Texas.
Aldrich became the target of online bullying at age 15, with their name, photos and aliases posted online, according to The Washington Post. A YouTube account under Brink's name was created in 2010 with a crude animation under the title "Asian homosexual gets molested."
Months later, a petition was filed in a Bexar County court requesting a legal name change for Brink with two of their grandparents' names on the document. Their grandparents were their legal guardians at the time.
In June 2021, Aldrich was arrested for an alleged bomb threat, leading to a partial evacuation of the Colorado Springs neighborhood where their mother lived, The Washington Post reported.
Sheriff's deputies responded to a report by Alrdich's mother who said they were "threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition," according to a news release from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
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Aldrich faced arrest-only charges of felony kidnapping and menacing in the incident, but no formal charges were pursued and their case was sealed, the District Attorney's Office said, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
The incident has raised questions about why Colorado's 2019 red flag law was not used to apply to Aldrich and whether it could have prevented the shooting at Club Q. The law allows citizens or law enforcement to petition a court for someone's firearms to be confiscated if they pose a threat to themselves or others.
It's unclear if Aldrich had purchased firearms prior to his June 2021 arrest.
But the town's Republican Mayor John Suthers said that "we don't know" whether the gun law would have applied in the case and possibly prevented the incident.
"Law enforcement agencies in appropriate circumstances should take advantage of it," Suthers said. "Hopefully there will be a time when there can be a specific discussion about any prior interaction with law enforcement."
A video obtained by CNN revealed details about Aldrich's 2021 incident, showing a standoff between Aldrich and sheriff's deputies who responded to reports of a bomb threat.
Aldrich appears to be ranting about the police and challenges them to come inside the house.
"I've got the f**king sh*theads outside, look at that, they've got a bead on me," Aldrich says in the video. "You see that right there? F**king sh*theads got their f**king rifles out… If they breach, I'mma f**king blow it to holy hell."
A later video shows Aldrich leaving the house barefoot with his hands up walking to sheriff's deputies. Authorities did not find any explosives in the home, according to CNN.
Aldrich is the grandchild of state Rep. Randy Voepel, a Republican assemblyman, who attracted attention when he compared the January 6 attack on the US Capitol to the Revolutionary War, CNN reported. It's unclear how close Voepel, the father of Aldrich's mother, was with Aldrich.