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Suspected gunman in Colorado Springs LGBTQ night club shooting spent much of his life in San Antonio

An inclusion flag blows behind police tape at a makeshift memorial the morning after a mass shooting at Club Q.
Zachary Allen/The Pueblo Chiefta/USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Co
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An inclusion flag blows behind police tape at a makeshift memorial the morning after a mass shooting at Club Q.

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The suspected gunman in the shooting that killed five people and injured nearly two dozen at the Club Q LGBTQ bar in Colorado Springs grew up for much of his life in San Antonio under a different name, according to county records.

Anderson Lee Aldrich’s legal name was Nicholas Franklin Brink before he changed it when he was 16. His grandparents, listed as legal guardians in his Bexar County petition, granted him permission to change his name.

The petition points to his father’s "criminal history" as the reasoning behind the decision. Aldridge had not been in contact with his father, Aaron Brink, for "several years." A court order did not allow any contact between the two of them after his parents' 2001 divorce, a year after Aldrich was born in Orange, California.

Aldrich's mother, Laura Voepel, moved to the North Side of San Antonio with him shortly after.

Voepel also has a criminal record. She was arrested in 2012 on suspicion of arson and found guilty of criminal mischief.

A spokesperson for North East ISD confirmed Aldrich was enrolled at Johnson High School as a freshman until withdrawing in October 2015, the year before he changed his name.

Mayor John Suthers tells NPR one of the two patrons who fought the suspect grabbed a gun from the shooter and hit him with it. The motive behind the attack, which left at least five dead, is unknown.

Aldrich was the target of cyber bullying at age 15, according to the Washington Post, and an animated video posted to a YouTube account in his name was titled, "Asian homosexual gets molested."

Aldirch left San Antonio after changing his name in 2016.

Aldrich is suspected of walking into Club Q in Colorado Springs on Saturday and firing on patrons celebrating National Transgender Day of Remembrance.

The shooting comes as many Republican politicians and pundits nationwide have focused verbal and legislative attacks on LGBTQ+ generally, and transgender people specifically.

Many have baselessly accused LGBTQ+ people of being “groomers” — a term referring to pedophilia — and have pulled books with LGBTQ+ characters and themes off of school shelves, including in Texas.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez told NPR that while there was still an investigation to complete regarding potential hate crime charges, “certainly it feels that way."

After his alleged attack, he was tackled and brought to the ground by two patrons and then arrested by police. Aldrich was hospitalized. His condition was unknown.

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Josh Peck is the Technology & Entrepreneurship Reporter for Texas Public Radio.