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Rabbitholed #76: Accused Hate-Crime Killer Anderson Lee Aldrich's Mother's Last FB Post Seemingly Wonders if Her Son Has Gone Missing and Says He Told Her to "Get Ready to Have the Best Night Ever"
There are 700+ comments on the FB of the mother of the accused Club Q shooter. The final post, deleted recently, shows her worried her son's gone missing and frets he took her phone and debit card.
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Looking into the unspeakable tragedy of a targeted hate-crime killing at an LGBT bar in Colorado Springs which left five gay and trans people dead and 18 wounded, there is the question of why?
Why was this carnage not stopped by the suspected shooter’s friends and family who clearly must have seen a dangerous and troubled individual—it is on record Aldrich threatened to blow his mother up the year prior and a SWAT team had to intervene—and why didn’t they do something?
Why was a young man who had already revealed himself as a danger to everyone around him equipped with an AR-15, protected and coddled by the mother whom he threatened to kill with a record sealed and no charges filed?
And how in the world is her Facebook page still live, where hundreds of people are still commenting?
It is important to ask why?
Because if anyone had done something, if the Red Flag laws had been triggered and he was disarmed and charges had been brought on his previous criminality instead of his records being sealed, perhaps the five victims—Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump and Ashley Paugh—targeted viciously because of their LGBT status, might still be alive today.
Why You Should Care:
In the worst hate-crime attack since the 2016 murder spree at the Pulse nightclub, the devastation at Club Q in Colorado Springs, a city of 478,000 about 70 miles south of Denver, reveals that sometimes the worst thing we can do is enable dangerous and disturbed individuals, as the family of Anderson Lee Aldrich (DOB 5-20-2000) appeared to do as chronicled by the mother’s online digital footprint which includes such unsettling revelations as on her son’s 15th birthday her writing on Facebook: “My boys 15 birthday! he got head to toe (6’3”) ghillie military suit and he is surfing cloud 9.” On her Instagram account, she follows several gun manufacturers and gun-theme accounts.
The Walking Red Flag That Aldrich Presented
One thing to know if you do any online investigation is that there is a tremendous amount of disinformation out there. In the case of Aldrich, there are several faked Instagram posts that are being circulated that are not real.
But the mother of the accused killer’s Facebook page is still up, it is real, and upon just checking it for the first time recently, what I saw changed the direction of this piece from focusing primarily on his live-streamed bomb threat video from a year prior to revealing her final posts on Facebook which appear to be credible.
The way Facebook works is that certain posts are only available to family and friends. Someone who knew 65 of her friends received a friend request from her recently and for a short time before unfriending her when the news of the shooting came out was able to see her final posts, which show a mother readying to go out with her son.
The post reads:
“My son is missing. He is 22 years old. We made plans to go see a movie at 10:00, and he ran to go run a quick errand, and he’s hasn’t [sic] come back. I have been dressed up waiting for 2 hours, and I am so concerned. I need to go look for him but I don’t have wheels just yet. He took MY PHONE and my debit card. We had plans and we were so excited, What do I do friends? If he was trying to avoid me (not likely) he wouldn’t have told me to get ready to have the best night ever!”
The person who posted that now-deleted post offered proof that she was friends with Laura Voepel so was able to see the posts that others would not have been able to.
What this reveals—if it is true and if it aligns with the day of the shooting—is that prior to the shooting beginning at 11:56 p.m. (with officers dispatched at 11:57 p.m. and arriving at Club Q at midnight and the suspect getting detained at 12:02 a.m.), the suspect’s mother was creating an online trail that placed her wondering where her son might be.
There are also quite a few posts that point to someone alleging to have seen Voepel, whose own criminal record includes past arrests for DUI, public intoxication, criminal mischief and arson, trying to act as a “lookout” for her son at a bowling alley which is next to the nightclub, which cannot be verified and appear to be only hearsay at this point can be found in this screenshot which is repeatedly posted on her Facebook page and also on Twitter—which relates to her recently updated profile photo which shows her bowling (and King Pin Lanes is indeed next door to Club Q) accusing her of complicity.
What is verified, however, is that she was threatened by and involved in a standoff with her son the year prior which is documented both on video and through the recounting of her landlord who had leased her a room, as reported in multiple outlets.
The Daily Beast article “Videos Show Club Q Suspect Threatening to "‘Blow’ Mom’s House ‘to Holy Hell’” features extensive Ring camera footage and reports:
When mass shooting suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich pulled up last year to the home in Colorado Springs where his mom was living, Laura Voepel herded her two dogs into their crate and scrambled outside to help her son with his suitcase.
As the two headed back toward the front door, Aldrich, 21, could be heard saying in security camera footage obtained by The Daily Beast, “Today I die. That’s what happens. They don’t give a fuck about me anymore. Really.”
Moments earlier, as her son arrived, Voepel could be seen on security video in her kitchen, talking on the phone.
“Mom, Andy’s out front, uh, going crazy,” she said. “What’s going on? Please, answer the phone, call me. Help.”
In a separate video from that day, which was live-streamed to Facebook by Voepel and provided to The Daily Beast by a source close to the family, Aldrich can be seen inside, wandering from room to room, in a tactical helmet, bulletproof vest, and carrying a long black object in his hands.
“This is your boy,” Aldrich says, amped up and breathing heavily. “I’ve got the shitheads outside, look at that. They’ve got a bead on me… They’ve got their fuckin’ rifles out. If they breach, I’ma fuckin’ blow it to holy hell. So, uh, go ahead and come on in, boys! Let’s fuckin’ see it!”
Three hours later, Aldrich surrendered to heavily armed police who descended on the neighborhood after Voepel called 911 and said her son was “threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition,” according to a press release issued at the time by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
The Daily Beast article features the text conversation landlord Leslie Bowman who ranted Voepel a room had with her. It also had an interview with her wherein she said that the son threatened her and slammed the door in her face. The conversation that occurred on the bomb threat incident day of June 18, 2021 with Bowman reads like basically any landlord’s worst nightmare with a tenant:
Voepel: I’m NOT home if ANYBODY comes to door and asks.
Voepel: Please and thank you.
Voepel: I locked back door cause men on side of house. Let me know when you’re on way home and I’ll open
Bowman: I’ll be home in 30
Voepel: Don’t come home. Something is wrong. There are police all around my moms house and all outside our area. I have. I idea what happening but don’t come home. Please
Voepel: Something going on. Be safe and do t come here for a few. I need to make sure they’re not coming here for my son
Bowman: Where is your son?
Voepel: Here. He’s on the phone with somebody and I have no idea what’s going on but something serious I think. I don’t want you and kids to walk in on anything happening. I’m am so sorry
Voepel: It’s imperative you do NOT come home right now
Bowman: This is completely unacceptable Laura. my house is not a hideout.
Voepel: I apologize the police swat team will be here
Soon after that is when Voepel posted in a Mormon women’s FB group looking for a lawyer:
“Hello Sisters,” she wrote. “Does anyone know of a fantastic defense attorney? I ask this with a heavy heart but my family really needs some help at this time. We have cash to retain good counsel. Thank you.”
After the bomb threat incident, Voepel was asked to move out immediately but then after the police came by to do a wellness check, Bowman looked up the case online and saw that it had been sealed and the charges dropped.
“But then yesterday morning, when I woke up, and I saw the news and I saw the DA announced his name, it was shocking and horrifying,” Bowman told The Daily Beast on Monday. “Then I just got angry at the charges being dropped and him being out. He should have at least gotten some sort of prison time. Those people did not have to die. It’s just very disappointing that the justice system did not follow through with what happened in my home last year.”
One of the main articles that is pointing people to Laura Voepel’s Facebook page is this round-up article from Heavy.com which has “5 Fast Facts You Need to Know,” which include a lot more than five.
It includes her LinkedIn page working as a support engineer, her involvement in the Mormon church, her certification from the Texas Alcohol Beverage Association, her claimed 153 score from Mensa, her support for her father who is a Trump-supporting city council member who initially expressed support for the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol, and the 2021 bomb threat when her son threatened her with weapons in the Lorson Ranch neighborhood of Colorado Springs. Around the same time, her social media shows her seeking out a criminal defense attorney online.
The June 18, 2021 press release from The El Paso County Sheriff’s office says that “her son was threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition. The reporting party was not in the home at the time when she made the call and was not sure where her son was.”
That same press release said that a mug shot would be released in the future, but it never was. He was initially booked into the El Paso County Jail on charges of felony menacing and first-degree kidnapping. But as Gazette.com reported quite crucially: No formal charges were ever filed, the case was sealed, and it’s not clear why. There has been numerous theories online that it was the politician grandfather who got the case sealed, but I haven’t seen any proof of this.
A June 18, 2021 article about the incident— “Suspect arrested in connection to bomb threat that forced evacuations in Lorson Ranch neighborhood”—can still be found online.
A neighbor talks about it in this video from TikTok reposted to Twitter here:
Furthermore, The Gazette received a voicemail from Aldrich himself who told them: “There is absolutely nothing there, the case was dropped, and I’m asking you either remove or update the story. The entire case was dismissed.”
A clip of the terrifying and insane standoff that Aldrich had can be viewed here:
There is Ring security footage of the entire incident including his surrender and featured in The Daily Beast.
Relatives who wished not to be identified said that the incident started when Aldrich found out that his maternal grandparents were going to move from Colorado to Florida.
On a neighborhood doorbell surveillance video obtained by The Gazette, Aldrich can be heard saying to his mother, “This is the day I die. They don’t give a f*** about me any more. Clearly.”
The Gazette—and millions of people around the world—are now wondering why this did not activate Colorado’s red flag law. According to the Reuters article “‘Red flag’ gun laws in focus after attack at Colorado LGBTQ nightclub”:
The laws, which allow courts to issue “extreme risk protection orders” (ERPO) removing firearms from individuals considered at risk of harming themselves or others, have been touted by gun safety advocates as crucial tools to prevent mass shootings such as the weekend attack at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
However, data shows a significant discrepancy in employment of red flag laws across the 19 states that have implemented them, with Colorado seeing fewer petitions than in many other states.
…court records indicate that Aldrich did not face prosecution after his mother reported in June 2021 that he was threatening her with a bomb, ammunition and other weapons. The report prompted a standoff with law enforcement negotiators and the evacuation of neighboring homes.
Authorities do not appear to have filed a petition seeking to confiscate any weapons Aldrich may have had at the time under the state's red flag law.
The sheriff's office, which responded to the call, and the local district attorney's office both did not respond to requests for comment about the 2021 case.
In Colorado, the ERPO’s appear to be extremely underutilized:
ERPOs typically require police to remove weapons from the individual in question and prohibit the person from purchasing new guns. In Colorado, a judge can issue a temporary ERPO for up to two weeks until a court hearing is held to determine whether to extend the order up to a year.
The state has seen relatively few petitions for extreme risk protection orders since it passed its law in January 2020. One study found 109 filings in the first year. Chris Knoepke, a University of Colorado professor who has studied the issue, said data from 2021 and 2022 show a slight increase in usage.
By contrast, more than 9,000 petitions have been filed in Florida since the state passed its law in 2018 after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that killed 17 people.
The disparity partly reflects deep opposition to red flag laws among some of Colorado’s conservative sheriffs and local political officials. More than half of the state’s 64 counties have declared themselves “2nd Amendment sanctuaries” in opposition to the statute, based on the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of a right to bear arms.
Those counties include El Paso, the home of Colorado Springs, where county commissioners unanimously approved a resolution in 2019 condemning the then-proposed legislation.
In one of her many Facebook posts about her son (other ones include her trying to find him a box spring and a free fan), in February when her son was still 21 she writes to the “Sisters of Colorado Springs” Facebook group: “Hello Sisters. Can anyone please recommend a great trauma/ptsd therapist?”
On May 13, Voepel once again seeks out a private boxing coach for her 6’6” son who is “tall and hits like a freight train. Cannot find a good gym or anyone serious. He has made huge life changes and needs this.”
And her final Facebook posts—which again, I have not been able to thoroughly verify but they appear credible enough to be worthy of inclusion—timeline her reporting that her son is missing right before the shooting would have been taking place, as captured by someone who had access to her posts only visible to friends and family, and another post below which says that she doesn’t like Facebook’s lack of free speech:
So far the only story that contains a reaction from his grandfather is a KCRA story that came out earlier in the day with the headline “Colorado shooter is the biological grandson of California Assembly Randy Voepel, sources confirm.”
“Biological grandson.” Brutal.
Voepel, just lost his election and is the outgoing Republican state representative and the former mayor of Santee, which you see on Facebook many people refer to as “Klan-tee” for its ultra-conservative politics.
The story, which clearly bears Voepel’s reaction, reveals:
Sources close to Voepel told KCRA 3, the assemblyman has not had a relationship with the alleged shooter, 22-year-old Anderson Aldrich, for nearly 10 years.
Voepel’s office said the Republican assemblyman was not yet ready to comment as of Monday afternoon.
Top 3 Rabbitholed Takeaways:
#1 The mother’s Facebook page is still up, and as seems to be tradition whenever a tragic mass shooting occurs and a family member is discovered whose social media has not yet been taken down, it is flooded with hundreds of comments.
If you want a snapshot of the anger of the moment, you will find it. I’ve never heard the term “Facebook court” before, but that’s precisely what it is.
And that includes judgement being passed on pictures of the mother as a teen, with scrutiny of her “Nuke Iraq” picture hanging on the wall:
#2 The family’s picture together as posted by the mother is incredibly disturbing.
Why is the grandfather doing a Nazi salute and the mom doing a goose-step? I’m not one to find hidden symbols, but this is a Nazi salute and this is a goose-step, is it not? Or she just doing a Rockettes kick?
#3 Colorado Rep. Tom Sullivan sponsored the state’s red flag which passed in 2019. His son was killed in the Aurora theater killing, and his words are the words to remember.
“We need heroes beforehand—parents, co-workers, friends who are seeing someone go down this path,” Sullivan said. “This should have alerted them, put him on their radar.”
And as painful as it may have been for the mother to do so in the case of her son, why in the world did she fail to do so?
Why would anyone ever take such a risk not just for their own life but even more crucially for the lives of innocents?
To donate to a verified fundraiser for the families of the victims, you can do so here.