DENVER — The 911 call made by the Club Q shooting suspect’s grandmother in 2021 was released on Monday.
The suspect, who is accused of killing five people and injuring at least 19 at the LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs on Nov. 19, was identified shortly after the attack as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22.
More than a year before the Club Q shooting, the suspect — who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, according to defense attorneys — was arrested on allegations of making a bomb threat that led to the evacuation of about 10 homes.
The case was dropped due to a lack of cooperation from the family witnesses, said Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael J. Allen.
In audio files released Monday, a 911 call made by the suspect’s grandmother on June 18, 2021, can be heard. The suspect was living with the grandparents in El Paso County at the time of the incident.
“Our grandson lives with us. He's 21 years old. He has been very upset because we're selling our home,” the grandmother tells the 911 operator. “We're moving to Florida, and he panicked and said he can't leave. And now we know why. He's literally been putting together stuff to make a huge bomb.”
READ MORE | All of Denver7's coverage on the Club Q shooting, the victims, and the recovery
The grandparents sold their house and planned to move to Florida, which upset the defendant. The alleged shooter allegedly told their grandmother they couldn’t move yet because “it would interfere with his bomb making,” court documents read.
The suspect’s grandparents took custody of Aldrich when the suspect was 10 years old in Riverside County, California, and were named their legal guardians.
“He said [the bomb] would blow up the entire police department or federal buildings,” the grandmother told the 911 operator. “He wants to go out, he wants to die basically. He wants to go out in a blaze.”
The suspect warned the grandparents not to stand in the way of an elaborate plan to stockpile guns, ammo, body armor and a homemade bomb to become “the next mass killer.”
The grandmother said she was able to get away from Aldrich and call 911 because “I lied to him … And [told Aldrich] we had to go pick up our dogs that were at a grooming place,” she said.
“He’s angry at the world right now,” she said. “I don't know why but he hates everybody. He hates sheriffs. He hates, um, he's had a really tough life.”
The grandparents were also aware of two weapons in their home, owned by Aldrich, including an AR-15 and a Glock with “additional magazines.”
A short time after the 911 call, doorbell video obtained by Denver7 shows Aldrich arriving at the mother’s home lugging a big black bag, telling her the police were nearby and adding, “This is where I stand. Today I die.”
In the end, Aldrich holed up in the mother’s home, threatening to blow up the place as police swarmed and deployed bomb-sniffing dogs. “Come on in boys, let’s f----ing see it!” Aldrich yelled on the Facebook livestream before later surrendering with hands up and tactical gear swapped for a short-sleeved shirt, shorts and bare feet.
By August 2021, when Aldrich bonded out of jail, the grandparents were describing the suspect as a “sweet young” person, according to District Attorney Michael Allen. At two subsequent hearings that fall, defense attorneys described how Aldrich was attending therapy sessions for trauma, PTSD and mental health and was on lethargy-inducing medications, the transcripts show.
The suspect faces 305 counts, including first-degree murder, assault and bias-motivated crimes. A preliminary/proof evident hearing in the Club Q shooting case is scheduled for late February 2023.
The Associated Press contributed to this report