Details are coming to light about the alleged gunman who killed five people at


The suspect in the mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado had a tumultuous upbringing in which he was bullied as a teenager and raised for a time by his grandmother, according to an emerging portrait of the alleged gunman pieced together by CNN.

Anderson Lee Aldrich ended up in the care of his grandmother as his mother struggled with a string of arrests and related mental health evaluations, according to court records and an interview with a family member. 

The suspect’s grandmother, who a relative described as his primary caretaker, declined to be interviewed by CNN.

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

No charges were filed, and the case has since been sealed, leaving unanswered questions about how Aldrich avoided prosecution in a matter that may ultimately have prohibited him from legally possessing a weapon if convicted.

A little over a year after the bomb threat incident, Aldrich allegedly opened fire at Club Q in Colorado Springs, killing five people and leaving more than a dozen injured. Aldrich, 22, faces five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury, according to an online docket in the El Paso County Court. The 6’4”, 260-pound suspect had been in the hospital for treatment of undisclosed injuries after he was subdued by club patrons during the attack.

Anderson Lee Aldrich and his mother Laura Voepel in July.

Aldrich was born in May of 2000 under the name Nicholas Brink, and 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 initial petition, he requested legal custody and visitation rights but asked that the court grant full physical custody to 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 who spent time in federal prison for illegally importing marijuana, according to court documents, interviews, and an entertainment website. 

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

Voepel, the daughter of California Assemblyman Randy Voepel, was granted 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, in addition to Aldrich, who was six years old at the time.  

In 2009, Aldrich’s mother received three years of probation for convictions of…

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