Club Q shooting suspect claimed to have been awake for days before attack, newly unsealed court records say

A police report about the mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs that was unsealed Wednesday reveals the attack was captured on the club’s surveillance video and says the suspect apologized afterward.

Police officers overheard Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, “tell medical staff he was sorry and he had been awake for four days,” according to a five-page arrest affidavit authored by a Colorado Springs police detective and made public Wednesday evening.

Aldrich was charged Tuesday with 305 criminal counts, including first-degree murder and hate crimes, in connection with the Nov. 19 mass shooting at Club Q that killed five people and injured 22 more, 17 by gunfire.

The attack was captured by Club Q’s surveillance cameras, which police say showed Aldrich pulling up to the nightclub in a gold Toyota Highlander at 11:55 p.m., according to the court document. He left the vehicle carrying an “AR-15-style assault rifle” and wearing a “ballistic vest,” according to the affidavit.

In this video screenshot taken from Anderson Lee Aldrich’s newly unsealed arrest affidavit, a person is seen on surveillance video firing a weapon as they enter Club Q in Colorado Springs just before midnight on Nov. 19, 2022. (Screenshot via Colorado Springs Police Department)

Aldrich is then seen entering the club and opening fire “indiscriminately” on customers, according to the affidavit, which notes that the shooter “fired at two victims almost immediately upon entering the main area of the club.”

Police included in the affidavit a grainy, black-and-white still image from that surveillance footage that shows a person firing a rifle as they walked into Club Q’s entrance.

Survivor Ed Sanders previously told The Denver Post that the suspect was dressed in dark clothing and what appeared to be body armor, and said the shooter was “spraying” bullets and seemed to initially have trouble controlling the large gun.

Within minutes, an Army veteran who’d been enjoying a drag show and other club customers tackled Aldrich, disarmed the shooter and beat the suspect into submission.

The veteran, Richard Fierro, has told reporters he pulled the shooter to the ground; he told police he saw someone else pull the shooter down and then he jumped on top of the shooter as well, according to the affidavit. Fierro said he took a handgun from the suspect and beat the shooter with the gun, according to the document.

Aldrich was arrested at 12:02 a.m., according to the affidavit.

After the attack, Club Q owner Matthew Haynes told officers that club employees had previously trained for an active shooter situation, and that the plan was to evacuate customers into an adjoining bar should such an attack occur.

The police complaint against Aldrich was sealed after the killings and had been kept secret until El Paso County District Court Judge Michael McHenry ordered the document be made public at the end of the day Wednesday. Aldrich’s public defenders objected to the unsealing.

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Aldrich’s mother, who was herself arrested after the shooting on charges of disorderly conduct, told officers that she’d planned to go to a movie with Aldrich that night around 10 p.m., but that her child instead left to “run an errand” and never returned. Aldrich is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, their public defenders wrote in court filings.

In addition to the affidavit about the Club Q shooting, a separate 2021 criminal case against Aldrich has also been kept under seal and away from public view, though documents leaked through unofficial channels show Aldrich threatened to blow up their mother’s home and become “the next mass killer.”

The Denver Post is among a media coalition asking a judge to unseal the details of that 2021 case, in which Aldrich was initially arrested but then criminal charges were dropped and the court filings made secret. Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen has refused to explain why the 2021 case against Aldrich was not pursued, citing a 3-year-old Colorado law that prevents officials from discussing or even acknowledging the existence of sealed cases.