Club Q suspect wore ballistic vest, used AR-15-style assault rifle

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Club Q shooting suspect, who claimed to have been awake for four days prior to the shooting, stormed the Colorado Springs club on Nov. 19 and opened fire using an AR-15-style assault rifle, according to an affidavit released Wednesday.

The five-page affidavit, which was signed on Nov. 20, was released just before 5 p.m. It included few new details about the mass shooting, which ended with five people dead and at least 19 injured.

The victims killed in the shooting were identified as:

  • Daniel Aston, 28 (he/him)
  • Raymond Green Vance, 22 (he/him)
  • Kelly Loving, 40 (she/her)
  • Ashley Paugh, 35 (she/her)
  • Derrick Rump, 38 (he/him)

The Nov. 19 shooting broke out just minutes before midnight.

READ MORE: These are the 5 victims of the Colorado Springs Club Q shooting

The suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was taken into custody at the scene after two people were able to stop and hold the suspect until authorities arrived.

club q affidavit photo main image.png

Denver7

The release of the affidavit came one day after the suspect was charged with 305 counts, including first-degree murder, assault and bias-motivated crimes. The suspect changed names in 2016.

Fourth Judicial District Judge Michael McHenry ordered that the arrest warrant affidavit be unsealed on Wednesday, over the objections of the suspect’s attorney who said he was concerned about the defendant’s right to a fair trial due to publicity surrounding the case.

READ MORE: All of Denver7’s coverage on the Club Q shooting, the victims, and the recovery

Details from that affidavit are below.

Editor’s note: The suspect’s defense attorney said they identify as nonbinary, however the affidavit was written beforehand, so the suspect is identified as “he” and “him” in any quotes below.  

The first 911 call from Club Q, which is located at 3430 N. Academy Boulevard, came in at 11:56 p.m. on Nov. 19. One of the callers stated that “the suspect was a heavy-set male, who had reportedly been detained and was being beat up on the dance floor,” according to the affidavit.

“Initial reports indicate that Anderson may have sustained a gunshot wound to the head,” the affidavit reads. However, there is no word on the extent of the suspect’s injuries. The suspect was hospitalized for at least four days after the shooting.

The documents state an arriving officer, CSPD Det. J. Gasper, noticed a “tremendous amount of blood” and clothing items scattered outside the club.

Matthew Haynes, founding owner of the club, who was outside when the detective arrived, told Gasper that surveillance video captured the shooting and he was downloading clips to his phone, the documents said.

Those videos captured the suspect arriving at Club Q at 11:55 p.m. The suspect arrived in a gold Toyota Highlander with Colorado plates registered to the suspect, according to the affidavit. The suspect parked on the south side of the club, just feet from the entrance. Video captured the suspect exiting the SUV wearing a ballistic vest and carrying an AR-15-style assault rifle, the affidavit reads.

Aldrich affidavit photos 12-7-22

Colorado Springs Police Department

Det. Gasper wrote in the affidavit, “He entered the business and, after entering the business a short distance, he opened fire indiscriminately at patrons inside of the club. Anderson fired at two victims almost immediately upon entering the main area of the club.”

Aldrich affidavit photos 12-7-22

Colorado Springs Police Department

Club Q co-owner Haynes told investigators that a DVR system inside the club may have better quality video than what was on the phone.

He also explained to police that Club Q employees are trained on where to move patrons should a shooting occur. That includes the neighboring Buddies Private Club, which Haynes also owns and which has an adjoining entrance to Club Q, according to the affidavit. Both businesses are described online as “adult-oriented gay and lesbian nightclub hosting theme nights such as karaoke, drag shows and DJs,” the affidavit reads.

There were also reports that rounds may have struck the outside of the 7-Eleven located one block north of Club Q.

Based on the video surveillance, investigators said they believed they would find evidence in both establishments. Even though the suspect stayed in Club Q, Buddies Private Club would need to be searched due to “the number of rounds fired and the indiscriminate nature of the firing,” the affidavit reads.

Investigators didn’t see much evidence from the exterior of Club Q, and determined that most of the evidence was farther into the club from what authorities could see from the doorway, according to the affidavit.

Detectives also inspected the suspect’s vehicle, which was “cluttered” and had “a cartridge for an AR-15 style rifle (likely a .223 caliber) on the front right passenger seat,” according to the affidavit. The windows in the back were tinted and detectives could not see inside.

HEAR FROM THE SURVIVORS:

During the subsequent investigation, a detective spoke with Richard Fierro, 45, who was at the club that evening to watch his daughter’s friend perform. He said he was sitting at a table near the stage when he heard multiple gunshots near the front door. He ducked and then noticed a suspect with an AR-style rifle and bulletproof vest shooting at people, according to the affidavit. He watched another person pull the suspect to the ground and then went over to help that person.

Fierro said the suspect was facedown on the ground and he got on top of and started to hit the alleged shooter. He said the suspect tried to reach for the rifle, according to the affidavit.

Richard Fierro hailed as a hero for stopping Club Q shooter

Fierro said during this struggle, he saw the suspect was also holding a handgun. He managed to get it out of the suspect’s hands and continued to hit the alleged shooter. Fierro said the suspect appeared to have multiple rifle magazines because he heard the sound of reloading after the first volley of gunfire.

HEAR FROM THE HEROES:

Within a few minutes of the first 911 calls from Club Q, police arrived at the scene and took the suspect into custody.

Just a couple hours later, around 1:48 a.m. on Nov. 20, a detective responded to the hospital where the suspect was being treated. The detective was not able to speak with the suspect at that time, but two other authorities, who were outside the suspect’s treatment room, mentioned they had heard the alleged shooter tell medical staff that “he was sorry and he had been awake for four days,” according to the affidavit.

At 3:45 a.m., the detective went to the 5500 block of N. Union Boulevard, where he believed the suspect lived. The detective contacted the suspect’s mother, Laura Voepel, who said she and the suspect were planning on going to a movie the previous evening, but the suspect had told her about an errand that they had to do first. The suspect said it would take 15 minutes but didn’t provide any other information, Voepel said. She told the detective she had not seen the suspect since then, according to the affidavit.

The detective asked about any weapons that she or the suspect may have, and Voepel said the suspect owned a folding knife, but nothing else.

Voepel was recording the conversation with the detective and let him know during this interaction. She appeared to be holding a recording device, according to the affidavit. She also mentioned that she recorded the suspect, but detectives did not notice any obvious cameras in the apartment, the affidavit reads.

Voepel was cited on Nov. 20 for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest around 3:30 a.m. and 7 a.m., according to documents obtained by Denver7.

The suspect was arrested at the scene on 10 counts, first-degree murder and bias-motivated crime, according to court records, and was formally charged on Monday. The alleged shooter was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder, divided into five counts each of first-degree murder after deliberation and first-degree murder — extreme indifference, which carry a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The person also faces dozens of counts for attempted first-degree murder, assault and bias-motivated crimes.

“I think the message that we sent is obviously, when you file 305 counts in a case… that tells the public, this community, this state and this nation, that we are taking this case as serious as we possibly can, meaning that we are going to prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law,” Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said during a news conference Monday morning.

A preliminary/proof evident hearing in the Club Q shooting case is scheduled for late February 2023.

This week, the Associated Press confirmed that in a separate incident from June 2021, the suspect loaded bullets into a Glock pistol, chugged vodka, and ominously warned their frightened grandparents not to stand in the way of an elaborate plan to stockpile guns, ammo, body armor and a homemade bomb to become “the next mass killer.” The grandparents fled from the home and residents in 10 nearby homes were evacuated. In addition, on Wednesday, Denver7 confirmed an AP report that the FBI received a tip about the suspect a day before they were arrested following this 2021 bomb threat.

Police have still not confirmed a motive in the Club Q shooting case, but the club owners and the LGBTQ+ community called the shooting a “hate attack” and officials said they would treat the investigation as one potentially involving a hate crime.

In the immediate wake of the shooting, multiple vigils were held on Nov. 21 and beyond to honor and remember the lives lost.

Coming together: Colorado Springs vigil for Club Q victims

“I know many of the other venues and bars are taking extra precautions — to do anything we can to make people feel safe,” said Rufio Jimenez, who attended a vigil. “Love wins over hate and love wins over fear.”

Standing room only at Denver vigil remembering Club Q shooting victims

On Nov. 29, 10 days after the attack, Gov. Jared Polis visited Club Q to honor the victims and show his support for the survivors.

“Club Q will be back, and the community will be back,” he said in front of the club. “People will feel safe and will learn from this. The perpetrator, of course, will be held fully accountable under the laws of Colorado for the heinous acts committed.”

Gov. Polis speaks from Club Q in Colorado Springs

RELATED STORIES:
‘There’s still a place for Club Q’: Colorado Springs nightclub will continue to serve LGBTQ community
Friends of Club Q victim launch college fundraiser for her 11-year-old daughter
Terrorism bulletin warns about potential violence against LGBTQ+ community
Questions, concerns arise in the midst of fundraising efforts for Club Q victims, families and survivors
Club Q employees dealing with financial strain week after shooting
Club Q patrons and allies drive messages of support to nightclub memorial
Colorado Springs reckons with past after gay club shooting
LGBTQ+ community in southeastern Colorado advocates for more resources
Club Q shooting suspect made threats against mother last year, landlord confirms

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