COLORADO SPRINGS — A judge has ruled to unseal documents pertaining to a 2021 bomb threat incident in Lorson Ranch.
The suspect accused of killing five people and injuring 19 others at Club Q in Colorado Springs was arrested last year and accused of making bomb and weapons threats against their mother, according to our Denver station.
However, criminal charges were filed but ultimately dismissed by the court against 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich despite their initial arrest for investigation of two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping. They were arrested for investigation on 10 counts after Saturday night's shooting.
According to a June 18, 2021, news release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Aldrich reported a bomb threat just before 2 p.m. that day at a home in the 9800 block of Rubicon Drive. The sheriff’s office said that the person who reported the threat “said her son was threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition.”
Deputies eventually realized that Aldrich was at a home about a mile away, in the 6300 block of Pilgrimage Road, and was refusing to surrender. By 5:46 p.m., negotiators were able to get them to walk out of the home’s front door and surrender. Deputies cleared both homes and found no explosives, the sheriff’s office said at the time.
Michael Allen, the 4th Judicial District Attorney who oversees prosecutions in El Paso County, told our Denver station he could not comment on why charges were not filed in the case because of two separate laws passed by the legislature in 2019 and 2021 that led to criminal cases in which charges were not ultimately filed being automatically sealed.
“If a case is sealed by state statute, I have to say that no such record exists even though there might be other information in the public sphere that says actually a case did exist,” Allen said, reiterating that he was speaking in a general sense and not about this case in particular. “And that can be frustrating for people to hear. It can sound like we’re trying to hide things.”
Allen said in a news conference that when a person commits another crime after a previous case was sealed, prosecutors often file motions to unseal those cases to get more information to prosecute the current case.
Following the Club Q shooting Michael Allen said his office filed a motion to have the 2021 Larson Ranch case details unsealed on November 21, immediately following the shooting.
Our Denver station joined a lawsuit with other media organizations seeking to unseal the 2021 case.
The State Court Administrator’s Office said that it did not have any “public records” tied to Aldrich in Colorado. Sealed records would not be considered public records.
Allen, the district attorney, said the laws passed by the legislature were aimed at protecting people charged with crimes that were later dismissed.
“The case, for some reason, ends up getting dismissed – whether it’s from the prosecution or the court – and get that off of the person because of due process, right?” Allen said. “It means that somebody was not convicted. So, should they have to walk around with that around their neck for the rest of their lives? That’s really what the statute is designed to do.”
“It can cause frustration in the public, though, when we have to say, no record exists,” he added.
In a press conference, Thursday, District Attorney Michael Allen dug a little deeper into the district attorney's office prosecution of the 2021 Larson Ranch case and why the case was dismissed by the judge.
The case and the decision — for whatever reason — not to file charges in the case is being further scrutinized because law enforcement officers and private citizens can petition to have guns removed from people proven in court to pose a threat to themselves or others for up to 364 days under Colorado’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (red flag) law. El Paso County’s sheriff has been one of several sheriffs in Colorado that have opposed the law.
Allen explained in the press conference the reason that the threatening statements allegedly made by Aldrich in the 2021 case were provided by the immediate family members of the defendant.
The prosecuting lawyer in the case issued subpoenas for the family members to testify in court on the statements made by family members in 2021.
Ultimately, due to no witnesses coming forward to testify on behalf of the statements made to law enforcement in 2021 the judge dismissed the case.
The District Attorney's office did confirm through the weapons seized by law enforcement agencies in the 2021 Larson Ranch standoff have remained in the custody of law enforcement as evidence.
While it is unclear at this time where the Club Q alleged shooter acquired the weapons used in the Club Q shooting. At this time it appears since the alleged shooters run into the law in 2021 they were able to acquire new weapons.
Thursday afternoon, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office released a statement regarding their involvement with the suspect back in 2021:
"-On Friday, June 18, 2021, just before 2pm, Patrol Division deputies with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a bomb threat at a home in the 9800 block of Rubicon Drive. This is in the Security/Widefield area of unincorporated El Paso County.
-After an initial investigation, probable cause was found for (the suspect's) arrest on the charges of Felony Menacing and First-Degree Kidnapping. After obtaining search and arrest warrants, the Sheriff's Office Tactical Support Unit (comprised of SWAT, K9, Crisis Negotiators, EOD, Tactical Medics from the Colorado Springs Fire Department, and Tactical Dispatchers) apprehended (the 22-year-old) after a standoff and negotiation at that home on Rubicon Drive. (The suspect) was immediately booked into the El Paso County Jail. Recognizing the threat not only to the victims in that investigation but also to the general public, the arresting deputy requested, and was granted by the judge, an enhanced bond of $1 million.
-On the day of (the suspect's) arrest, both the home on Rubicon Drive, as well as a home in the 6300 block of Pilgrimage Road at which (the 22-year-old) was known to frequent, were searched under the probable cause established leading to the previously obtained search warrants. All firearms belonging to (the suspect) that were located during those searches were seized and placed into the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Evidence Facility. Additionally, bomb-making materials were also located and seized and placed into the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Evidence Facility.
-On June 22, 2021, while still detained inside the El Paso County Jail, (the suspect) was present at a charge advisement hearing. (The 22-year-old) remained in the El Paso County Jail following this advisement hearing. At that same time, in accordance with CRS 18-1-1001, and pursuant to the list of applicable crimes listed in CRS 24-4.1.302, a Mandatory Protection Order (MPO) was also set in place against (the suspect). That MPO ordered (the 22-year-old) to stay away from the home of the victim/witness or any other place the victim/witness is likely to be, to refrain from contacting the victim/witness, to not possess or control firearms or other weapons, and other provisions.
-On July 1, 2021, while still detained inside the El Paso County Jail, (the suspect) made a first appearance in court on the charges in the case. (The 22-year-old) remained in the El Paso County Jail following this first appearance.
-On August 5, 2021, while still detained inside the El Paso County Jail, (the suspect) appeared before a judge and, during an in-person preliminary hearing, the presiding judge reduced the bond amount from $1 million to $100,000 and lifted only the portions of the MPO that had previously prevented (the 22-year-old) from being with or contacting a victim/witness. It’s important to note that the portion of the MPO prohibiting him from possessing firearms remained in effect.
-On August 7, 2021, (the suspect) bonded out of the El Paso County Jail and was subjected to the bond conditions as set forth by the judge during the above-described August 5, 2021, hearing. The MPO prohibiting him from possessing firearms remained in effect.
-On July 5, 2022, during one of several motions hearings that occurred after (the suspect) bonded out, the judge presiding over the case dismissed the charges against (the 22-year-old) and released (the suspect) from the conditions of the bond. The judge also dismissed the MPO. (The suspect's) lawful ability to possess firearms was restored at that time.
-On July 6, 2022, a general request for release of all evidence was received by us from the DA’s Office. This is routine procedure following the dismissal of a case.
-On July 7, 2022, (the suspect's) defense team requested a motion to seal the record.
-On July 11, 2022, EPSO evidence staff requested further guidance from the DA’s Office regarding the standardized request for the release of the evidence in this case received from them.
-On August 4, 2022, the DA’s Office amended their standardized request to release the evidence to a request that it be held per the statute of limitations that governed the specific crimes for which (the suspect) was previously charged.
-On August 11, 2022, the motion to seal the record was granted.
-On August 12, 2022, (the suspect) called our evidence facility to seek the release of all items. This request was denied by us.
Since the day of (the suspect's) arrest associated to this specific case in June of 2021 and up until last week, all the firearms and bomb-making materials seized remained in the control of the EPSO and secured in our evidence facility. This evidence is now in the possession of the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Colorado Springs police identified the five people killed in the shooting as Kelly Loving (she/her), Daniel Aston (he/him), Derrick Rump (he/him), Ashely Paugh (she/her), and Raymond Green (he/him) and identified the two “heroes” who fought off the gunman as Richard Fierro and Thomas James.
“I have never encountered a person who had engaged in such heroic actions that was so humble about it,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said at a news conference after talking with Fierro.
Allen, ahead of the news conference, said his office and other officials would not be able to comment much further on Aldrich’s past encounters with law enforcement. He also said at the news conference that if anything changed, he would release further details.
“I would rather be safe at the front end about what we say or don’t say so that we can have a fair process, and if we convict somebody, that that conviction is upheld.”
Suthers said he would caution against any assumptions regarding whether the red flag law could have been applicable in the case and cautioned speculation.
“My view of the red flag law is it was passed by the legislature, it’s the law in Colorado, and law enforcement agencies, in appropriate circumstances, should take advantage of it. That’s my view,” Suthers said.
Aldrich was arrested for investigation of 10 charges, including first-degree murder after deliberation and bias-motivated crime and was formally charged with 305 counts, including assault, bias-motivated crimes and attempted murder.
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