When the 22-year-old, who was arrested in the deadly rampage at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, first appeared in court on Wednesday and was ordered to hold him without bail, bits of the suspect’s past are slowly emerging, which is surfacing suggesting an inconsistent upbringing and a broken family life.
Anderson Lee Aldrich’s father said Tuesday in an interview with CBS affiliate KFMB in San Diego that he believes Aldrich died by suicide several years ago and that he only learned otherwise this year.
Aaron Brink told the news channel he was grieving the loss of his child and going through a meltdown.
Brink said his ex-wife told him Aldrich was dead in 2016. Aldrich was born Nicholas Franklin Brink before a name change application was filed in 2016 she/she pronoun. There was no further elaboration, and Aldrich’s defense attorneys could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.)
According to court documents filed in Bexar County, Texas, the name change was requested because Aldrich, who turned 16, “wants to protect himself and his future from any association with his biological father and his criminal history. The father had not had contact with the minor for several years.” The filing was first reported by the Washington Post.
At the time, Aldrich was living in Texas with grandparents and legal guardians Pamela and Jonathan Pullen. Both could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Aldrich’s mother, Laura Voepel, also lived in Texas. Attempts to reach her were also unsuccessful.
Brink, 48, said he only learned Aldrich was alive after receiving a call from his child six months ago. The couple argued.
He told KFMB that Aldrich was “mad at me” and “wanted to poke the old man.”
The former MMA fighter-turned-porn star recalled his ex-wife saying Aldrich requested a name change because Brink was associated with the porn industry and also in a 2009 episode of A&E docuseries Intervention. occurred.
In the episode, Brink says he is addicted to crystal meth and is shown using drugs before members of his family encourage him to seek treatment. Brink’s own troubled childhood is profiled on the show, including his parents’ divorce and his arrest at age 21 for smuggling marijuana from Mexico to the United States. He served three years in federal prison.
Brink said he divorced Aldrich’s mother shortly after their child was born. Neither Voepel nor Aldrich are mentioned in the “Intervention” episode.
Brink’s criminal record also includes assault convictions against the suspect’s mother before and after Aldrich was born, The Associated Press reported. A 2002 misdemeanor conviction in California resulted in a protective order that initially prevented Brink from contacting Voepel and her child except through an attorney, but which was later amended to allow for supervised visits to Aldrich, according to the AP .
Brink told KFMB that he was the one who taught his kid how to fight.
He said he praised Aldrich “for very early violent behavior,” adding that he also said “it works.” It’s instant and you will get instant results.”
Brink said Voepel and Aldrich moved to Colorado around 2012.
He added he was surprised Aldrich was at Club Q, where authorities say the gunman killed five people and injured 19 others with a semi-automatic rifle on Saturday because he didn’t believe his child was being placed in an LGBTQ facility would have gone primarily because the family is Mormon.
A spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told NBC News that Aldrich is listed on the membership rosters but has not been active for more than a decade.
“There’s no excuse for killing people,” Brink said. “If you kill people, something is wrong. That’s not the answer.”
A motive for the shooting remains unclear. Aldrich was charged with five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of those crimes as part of a bias assault.
The suspect was overpowered by at least two people at the club.
Prosecutor Michael Allen said Aldrich, who appeared in court via video with facial injuries, was “physically fit” to stand trial. The next hearing was scheduled for December 6th.
After the court, Allen declined to answer reporters’ questions about another case involving Aldrich.
Aldrich was arrested last year after Voepel reported that her child threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons. Ringing video obtained by AP shows Aldrich arriving at Voepel’s front door with a large black bag on the day of the 2021 bomb threat, telling her the police are nearby, adding: “Here I am. Today I die.”
Authorities at the time said no explosives were found, but gun control advocates have questioned why police didn’t use Colorado’s “red flag” laws to seize the guns the mother Aldrich said had.
Brink said he feels regret for abandoning his child and only finding out about Aldrich’s alleged involvement in the shooting after a defense attorney contacted him.
Brink told KFMB that he loves Aldrich “no matter what” and asked people to “please forgive” his child.
Donna Mendell, Shelley Osterloh and The Associated Press contributed.