Details come to light about the alleged gunman who killed five people at an LGBTQ nightclub

By Majlie de Puy Kamp, Curt Devine and Scott Glover, CNN

(CNN) — The suspect in the mass shooting at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub had a tumultuous upbringing that saw him bullied as a teenager and raised for a time by his grandmother, according to an emerging portrait of the alleged shooter compiled by CNN.

Anderson Lee Aldrich ended up in his grandmother’s care as his mother struggled with a series of arrests and related mental health evaluations, according to court documents and an interview with a relative.

The suspect’s grandmother, described by a family member as his primary caregiver, declined to be interviewed by CNN.

Aldrich’s relationship with his mother seemed volatile last year when she called the police on her son, saying he threatened to harm her with a homemade bomb and other weapons.

No charges were filed and the case has since been sealed, leaving questions unanswered about how Aldrich was able to avoid prosecution in a case that would eventually have banned him from legally owning a gun if convicted.

Just over a year after the bomb scare incident, Aldrich reportedly opened fire on Club Q in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring more than a dozen. Aldrich, 22, is facing five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime causing bodily harm, according to an online filing in El Paso County Court. The 6’4”, 260-pound suspect had been hospitalized for treatment of undisclosed injuries after being subdued by clubgoers during the attack.

Born Nicholas Brink in May 2000, Aldrich is the son of Laura Voepel and Aaron Brink, who married in 1999. Neither parent could be reached for comment. His father filed for divorce in September 2001 in Orange County, California, citing irreconcilable differences. In his first petition, he sought legal custody and access rights, but asked the court for full physical custody of Voepel. Voepel stated in a 2007 filing that her son had had no contact with his father.

Aldrich’s father was a mixed martial arts fighter and a porn actor.

About a year before Aldrich was born, Brink pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in 1999 and received a suspended sentence, according to the San Diego County Superior Court. Federal court records indicate that the victim in that case was Voepel, who was described as his girlfriend.

Voepel, the daughter of California Councilman Randy Voepel, was awarded sole legal and physical custody of her son in 2007. In May of that year, Voepel stated in court records that she was unemployed and engaged with a new baby on the way. to Aldrich, who was then six years old.

In 2009, Aldrich’s mother was placed on three years’ probation for convictions for public intoxication and falsely reporting a crime to the police. The false report conviction stemmed from a 2008 incident in Murrieta, California, in which police responded to a reported home burglary and found Voepel lying on her bed with her hands and legs bound with duct tape. Voepel initially told police that a man put a piece of string around her neck, bound her with tape and placed a knife to her chest. However, she admitted the next day that she had been under the influence of narcotics and fabricated the incident because “she was lonely and wanted attention,” according to a police report.

In 2010, Voepel underwent court-ordered mental health treatment in Riverside County, California, stemming from those cases, according to court documents obtained by CNN.

The records show that Voepel sought custody of her then 10-year-old son, the age Aldrich would have been at the time. A document filed later stated that Voepel said her son had moved in with her and she intended to seek medical attention, welfare services and food stamps.

It was unclear during what periods Aldrich lived with his grandmother, who, according to public records, maintained residences in the same areas where her daughter and grandson lived in California, Texas, and Colorado.

Aldrich’s mother continued to struggle with the law in Texas? and psychological problems. A family member who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity described Voepel as “sweet” but also as someone who led a “tumultuous life.”

In 2012, according to a police report, she allegedly used a lighter to set fire to her room at Baptist Medical Center in San Antonio. Voepel, who was rescued by a hospital worker, initially denied starting the fire, but security footage showed she was the only person in her room when the fire started, the police report said.

A licensed psychologist concluded that she suffered from severe borderline personality disorder and alcohol dependence, among other things. According to court documents, she was originally charged with arson, but pleaded not guilty to a reduced felony of criminal mischief in August 2013. She was sentenced to five years of community supervision.

After his mother’s struggles, Aldrich apparently had issues of his own with at least some of his peers. In 2015, he was the subject of an online bullying page on a parody website. The site, which resembles Wikipedia, has pictures of Aldrich as a teenager and uses offensive comments to mock his weight and accuse him of illegal activities.

The site mocked an apparent attempt by Aldrich’s grandmother to raise money so he could travel to Japan with classmates.? A screenshot of a fundraising appeal says, “Make a dream come true for a young man who has survived many adversities in his young life.” According to the post, the fundraising goal was not met.

A history of revisions to the page shows that the bullying posts about him were updated several times over a five-month period in 2015. The page, first reported by the Washington Post, is still active.

Later that same year, just before his 16th birthday, the teenager legally changed his name from Nicholas F. Brink to Anderson Lee Aldrich. A reason for the name change, also first reported by The Post, was not given.

Aldrich later moved to Colorado Springs where he lived with his grandmother. His mother lived in a rented room in a house nearby. Last year, Aldrich livestreamed a video from his mother’s Facebook page, supposedly showing himself in that house during a standoff with police in the wake of the alleged bomb scare.

Leslie Bowman, owner of the home where the standoff took place and where Aldrich’s mother had rented a room, said she recorded the on-screen video, which has since been deleted, and provided it to CNN.

The short video shows a few seconds of an agitated young man – identified by Bowman as Aldrich – wearing a helmet and some kind of body armor, daring the police to break into the house where he had holed up.

He ends the video with what appears to be a message to police outside: “So, go ahead and come on in, guys! Let’s see!”

The video doesn’t actually show any officers outside the house, and it’s not clear if Aldrich had any guns.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release at the time that Aldrich had threatened to harm his mother “with a homemade bomb, multiple guns and ammunition,” and that several nearby homes had been evacuated.

Aldrich later surrendered to the sheriff’s deputies, which was seen in other video footage previously reported by CNN. The sheriff’s office said no explosives were found in the house.

It’s not immediately clear how the bomb threat case was resolved, but the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the district attorney’s office said no formal charges had been filed in the case. The district attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment from CNN.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that the suspect is charged with first degree murder and bias motivated crime.

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