Anderson Lee Aldrich, the alleged gunman in the Club Q nightclub shooting in Colorado Springs that killed five people, grew up in a family steeped in dysfunction with significant roots in Southern California.
Aldrich’s father, Aaron Brink, was an Orange County MMA fighter who dabbled in pornography for a while, battled an addiction to crystal methamphetamine, and served time in federal prison for marijuana smuggling. His mother, Laura Voepel, had some minor abrasions and was once arrested on suspicion of arson.
Court records show that the couple divorced in Orange County in September 2001, when Aldrich was just one year old. At that point, Voepel obtained a court order prohibiting any contact between Brink and his son. After the divorce, Voepel gained full custody of her son and moved to Texas with her baby in the years that followed, where she sometimes lived with the boy’s maternal grandmother, the Washington Post reported.
In addition, Aldrich’s maternal grandfather is outgoing State Councilor Randy Voepel, whose district includes Anza, Idyllwild, Pine Cove, and Valle Vista in Riverside County and much of San Diego County.
Randy Voepel, who did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday, drew attention when he compared the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol to the Revolutionary War.
“This is Lexington and Concord. First shots fired against tyranny,” he said, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. “Tyranny will follow in the wake of Biden’s January 20 swearing-in.”
Voepel later tried to back down his comments by tweeting a statement that read in part: “I do not condone or support the violence and lawlessness that took place on Wednesday, January 6 in our nation’s capital. The loss of life, theft of government property and blatant disregard for law and order is reprehensible and unnecessary.”
Public records show that Aldrich was so determined to break free from his father’s criminal and controversial background that he changed his name at the age of 15.
Born Nicholas Franklin Brink on May 20, 2000, in San Diego, Aldrich appeared before a judge in Bexar County, Texas on April 16, 2016, requesting that his name be changed to Anderson Lee Aldrich. Judge Barbara Nellermoe granted the petition, court records show.
The petition, obtained Tuesday by the Southern California News Group, stated that the reason for the name change was to “protect himself and his future from any connections to his biological father and his criminal history.” It stated that Aldrich had not had contact with his biological father for years.
At the time, Aldrich was living with his grandparents, his legal guardians, at their home in San Antonio. Both his grandparents, his mother and his father signed the petition. The petition also mentioned a previous court order in Riverside regarding a legal custody issue involving the boy.
Province of Rivierenland
Public records show that a man with the same name as Aaron Brink has extensive arrest records in at least three states, and that Laura Voepel lived in Riverside County, including Lake Elsinore, Murrieta, and Temecula, in the 2000s. From 2008 through 2011, Voepel filed several felony charges in Riverside County, court records show.
It was unclear whether Aldrich had ever lived with his mother in Riverside County or attended school there. Public records show that Voepel lived in Murrieta from October 2005 to September 2009.
Monica Gutierrez, a spokeswoman for the Murrieta Valley Unified School District, said in an email Tuesday that the district’s student database only dates back to the 2008-2009 school year and no records for that school year or after match the name Nicholas Franklin. Brink. It was unclear whether the boy had attended any of the district’s schools prior to the 2008-2009 school year.
Aldrich, 22, was arrested early Sunday morning on suspicion of killing five people and injuring 18 others at Club Q in Colorado Springs. He allegedly walked into the gay and lesbian club and opened fire minutes before Transgender Day of Remembrance began.
Club administrators tackled and subdued Aldrich. One of them beat him bloody with his own weapon, police said.
Aldrich was released from the hospital on Tuesday and incarcerated at the El Paso County Jail, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department. He is scheduled to appear in court for the first time on Wednesday morning, November 23 via video from prison.
Aldrich’s father, Aaron Brink, told MMA Junkie in a 2009 interview that he was a 12-stepper who battled his addiction to crystal meth, grew up in Huntington Beach, was kicked out of Huntington Beach High School for fighting, and from 1989 to 1992 had been in and out of juvenile detention center eight times for various offenses.
In 1996, Brink was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison on Terminal Island for smuggling marijuana into the country, according to federal court records.
Online court records indicate he has faced at least four criminal cases in San Diego County, though no charges are mentioned. In Orange County, he was convicted of drunk driving, lying to law enforcement, and possession of a controlled substance from 2011 to 2016. He was also charged with a felony, though online court documents do not show the charge or disposition.
Riverside County court records show that Voepel experienced a series of legal troubles from 2008 through 2011. In 2008, she was convicted of filing a false police report, a felony, and sentenced to three years’ probation. The same year, she was charged and subsequently convicted of public intoxication and sentenced to three years’ probation.
The status of two offenses Voepel was charged with in 2011 — driving under the influence and driving under the influence of controlled substances — was unclear. The court’s website lists them as “active” and also shows that Voepel had four arrest warrants issued against her from June 2008 to April 2022. One of the reasons was not appearing in court.
According to the Washington Post, when her son was 12 years old, Voepel was arrested for suspected arson in San Antonio, Texas, but was later convicted of a lesser offense.
The Denver Post contributed to this report.