The father of the alleged Colorado Springs shooter has provoked a backlash over comments he made about the armed attack on the LGTBQ+ bar that killed five and wounded 17.
In a series of interviews, Aaron Brink told CBS8 from San Diego that his first reaction when he first got a call from his child’s public defender was to ask why his child was at the club.
“And then I find out it’s a gay bar. I said, ‘God, is he gay?’ I got scared, ‘Shit, is he gay?’ And he’s not gay, so I said, ‘Whew…’”
His comments sparked fury online and slammed Brink for facilitating his child’s “just a mass murderer and not a homosexual“.
Brink, a mixed martial arts trainer, told CBS8 that he taught his child how to fight and said he “vowed violent behavior from a very young age. I told him it works. It’s instant and you get instant results.”
The alleged attacker, identified in court documents as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, was held without bail in a first court appearance on Wednesday. The suspect was slumped in a chair and showed bruises to his face and neck, apparently sustained during a violent arrest by guests at the club.
Prosecutors have not yet filed any formal charges. Defense attorneys said the suspect is non-binary and uses she/them pronouns.
Of 17 people injured by gunfire in the attack, 11 remained hospitalized late Wednesday, officials said. Those killed in the attack are Raymond Green Vance, 22; Ashley Paugh, 35; Daniel Aston, 28; Kelly-Loving, 40; and Derrick Rump, 38.
Brink, who lives in San Diego and is also known by his stage name Dick Delaware, told the broadcaster his family is Mormon and he is is a conservative Republican.
“We don’t do gays,” he said in the interview, adding that although he holds anti-gay views, there is no excuse for shooting people in a club.
Aldrich faces possible murder and hate crime charges.
“I’m so sorry for your loss guys,” Brink said. “Without politics, it’s about human lives. I am sorry. My soul goes to you.”
In a subsequent interview, Brink said he was unaware that Aldrich was non-binary. “What does that mean? I found out because I was horrified that he was gay. I was like, ‘Oh my god. He’s in a gay bar. He’s gay.’ I’m not homophobic or anything – but finding out something like that – I just didn’t know.”
Brink, 48, went on to explain that he didn’t raise his son: “As a child, he was taken away — not from me,” he said, adding, “My ex-wife didn’t want my son around me. I was a grown movie star.”
After witnessing the violence Aldrich allegedly unleashed at Q Nightclub four days ago, Brink said he wished he’d been more involved with his child, whose grandparents petitioned a Texas court to change his name to reflect “everyone.” Connections” to his biological father.
“I let him down. I’m sorry Nicholas or Anderson,” Brink later said. “I wish he, you know – if I have to fight someone, I put my fists in there. Fight like a man, then shake hands and you’re done. That’s it. You don’t go out there. You don’t kill people.”
Brink’s comments came amid questions about warning signs that may have been missed. Last year, Aldrich was arrested after police said he threatened to blow up his mother’s home in El Paso, Texas, where he had lived.
According to a press release from the El Paso County Sheriff, Aldrich had threatened his mother with a “homemade bomb, multiple guns and ammunition.” Aldrich was charged with threats and kidnapping for bomb threats, but the charges were not pursued.
For reasons that are still unclear, the incident did not trigger Colorado’s “red flag” laws, which would have allowed authorities to confiscate Aldrich’s guns.