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Club Q shooting suspect was arrested after 2021 bomb threat, but no effort was made to take his guns

A 9Wants to Know investigation found not a single "red flag" petition was filed by El Paso County law enforcement in 2020 or 2021.

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — The man suspected in the shooting at Colorado Springs nightclub Club Q faced allegations in June 2021 that were serious enough to seek a court order to remove weapons from his possession – but there are no records showing that anyone tried, 9Wants to Know has learned.

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Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, is expected to face multiple charges in the attack at Club Q, which left five dead and more than 18 others wounded.

The attack came about 17 months after Aldrich was arrested following a standoff with El Paso County sheriff’s deputies.

Although the man was arrested and jailed on suspicion of multiple counts of felony menacing and kidnapping, prosecutors decided not to pursue the case and the records were sealed. However, a press release issued by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office after the incident said the man’s mother reported that he “was threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition.”

During a standoff with officers before he was ultimately arrested, the man livestreamed video of him inside a rented home.

"This is your boy,” he said on the video as he walked from room to room. “I've got the f------ s--- heads outside. Look at that. They got a bead on me. You see that right there? F------ s--- heads got their f------ rifles out. If they breach, I'm a f------ blow it to holy hell. So go ahead and come on in, boys. Let's f------ see it."

Colorado’s “red flag” law took effect Jan. 1, 2020. It allows a family member or housemate – or a law enforcement officer – to file a petition with a judge seeking to remove weapons from someone who is believed to be dangerous.

The law establishes a number of criteria under which a judge can issue a red flag order – including a “recent act or credible threat of violence.” Most importantly, a red flag petition can be filed even when criminal charges are not.

If a judge issues a red flag order, guns can be removed for up to a year.

Statewide during the first two years the law was on the books, law officers in numerous jurisdictions filed red flag petitions – 107 in all, about 43% of the total number that went to judges.

Not one of them was filed by law officers in El Paso County, where Sheriff Bill Elder has made it clear repeatedly he opposes the law.

“We’re not going to pursue these on our own,” he said in an interview earlier this year with KRDO in Colorado Springs. “Meaning the sheriff’s office is not going to run over and get a court order. I’m not about to start that.”

Elder’s office did not respond to a request for an interview Monday from 9Wants to Know.

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock was one of the law’s biggest backers.

He said Monday he thinks it’s working – and gaining favor with some members of law enforcement who initially opposed it.

“Law enforcement is seeing that as another tool to utilize to save people's lives,” Spurlock said.

And while he has not looked closely at the incident from June 2021, he said it should be reviewed to see if authorities missed a chance to intervene with the man now accused of killing five people and injuring more than 18 others at Club Q.

“Whatever those details were at the time this individual was detained a year ago,” Spurlock said. “Those circumstances I think need to be, you know, finitely reviewed to see, you know, did that person meet that requirement?"

Contact 9Wants to Know investigator Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any story: kevin.vaughan@9news.com or 303-871-1862.

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