The suspected shooter in question is 22-year old Anderson Lee Aldrich, who entered Club Q just before midnight on Saturday November 19, 2022 – the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Initial court docket filings do not include or state Aldrich’s gender identity (second document here). In fact, Aldrich’s gender identity wasn’t mentioned in court filings until Aldrich’s attorney’s filed a “Notice of Invocation” which included a footnote that “Anderson Aldrich is non-binary. They use they/them pronouns, and for the purposes of all formal filings, will be addressed as Mx. Aldrich.”
In good faith – people’s gender identity should always be respected. As for Aldrich, there isn’t any perception of good faith for a mass murderer – of five members and allies of the LGBTQ community, two of whom were transgender. For Aldrich to now claim a non-binary identity is incredibly questionable, especially given Aldrich’s history of homophobic slurs, a previous bomb threat in which Aldrich self-identifies as “your boy,” and an Instagram page where the lone post is a photo of a burning rainbow pride flag.
Xavier Kraus, a former neighbor of Aldrich told The Daily Beast that “There would be times where he (Aldrich) and his mom would get into fights, arguments, because he would be saying hateful things about whoever he was angry with.” Kraus also told the Daily Beast that “He said things sometimes that probably should have been alarming to me. He used the term “f*ggot” a lot. Most of the time it came from a place of anger.”
Aldrich was “not someone I would have around my gay friends,” Kraus was quoted in a report by CNN. Kraus, who knew Aldrich well enough to be trusted by family to pick up prescriptions for Aldrich and his mother, also added that the suspected shooter never mentioned anything about being non-binary. Kraus said he specifically remembered one time “Aldrich vocalized verbally” that Aldrich “did not like or slash hated the gays. Using a derogatory term for them.”
On June 18, 2021, Aldrich was arrested for a bomb threat against his mother, in which she reported “her son was threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition,” according to a statement by El Paso Colorado Sheriff’s Department.
At the time of the bomb threat, Aldrich was arrested on two counts of Felony Menacing, and three counts of First-Degree Kidnapping. It still remains unclear as to how the case was resolved, as no formal charges were pursued in the bomb threat incident. Because these charges were never pursued, they were dropped – and the records were sealed. It is still unclear why the case was sealed.
Aldrich’s Instagram account, which has since been taken down, had a single post with a photo of a burning rainbow pride flag. Aldrich’s bio read: “Psalms 19:7.7 The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.”
Since this sudden change in the suspect’s personal gender identity, many individuals on both sides of the aisle have been reeling at this, trying to understand whether Aldrich is really non-binary. Or if Aldrich’s defense attorneys are attempting to mitigate hate crime charges by having Aldrich claim to be non-binary.