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Colorado judge in 2021 case called Club Q shooting suspect ‘a scary person’


By Raja Razek, CNN

A year before the deadly Club Q shooting in November, a Colorado judge called the suspect “a scary person” during a hearing about a bomb threat at their grandparents’ home.

According to a court transcript obtained by CNN, Anderson Aldrich was present in the courtroom for a hearing regarding a 2021 bomb threat by Aldrich that involved their mother when Colorado Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Robin Chittum made the remark.

During that hearing, the defense argued for a lower bond. “The part that concerns me is… that you clearly have been planning for something else, and it wasn’t something that — I just — it didn’t have to do with your grandma and grandpa,” the judge considered.

“It was saving all these firearms and trying to make this bomb, and making statements about other people being involved in some sort of shootout and a huge thing. And then that’s kind of what it turned into,” Judge Chittum said, according to the transcript.

Judge Chittum also voiced concern regarding Aldrich’s state of mental health.

“Yes, a million dollars is a lot for a bond. And I don’t think it’s appropriate to leave it at that, but I have here a very, very aggravated allegation of the threatening, the kidnapping, and the holding of your grandparents. And then things just went unhinged. And it looks like it could have been worse because you had plans for it to be worse. I need to reflect the fact that you have some plans for mental health coverage; that you have some plans for places to go and things to do to be able to address these issues if you get out, but wow. Just really, really scary,” Chittum said.

Aldrich promised the judge, “I’m not able to access any firearms, and I won’t make any effort to do so in the future.”

Even with the concerns, the judge lowered the bond to $100,000 and also modified the protection order in place so that Aldrich could have contact with their mother, Laurel Voepel. If Aldrich could post bond, the judge said that they needed to live with their mom, that they must participate in treatment and continue to take their medications.

According to the transcript, the Judge Chittum had concerns saying, “If we have a slip-and-fall and mess-up on this one, it’s going to be so bad. So I can’t risk that.”

CNN previously reported an unsealed case file revealed details about what took place during a 2021 bomb threat incident that led to the arrest of Aldrich.

Aldrich’s grandmother had told dispatchers that Aldrich was upset about the recent sale of her house and plans to move to Florida with her husband.

“You guys die today, and I’m taking you with me. I’m loaded and ready. You’re not calling anyone,” Aldrich reportedly told their grandparents while drinking from a bottle of vodka, holding a handgun and loading the magazine, according to the affidavit.

The grandmother also reportedly told officials that Aldrich told her if they moved to Florida “it would interfere with his plans to conduct a mass shooting and bombing,” the affidavit said.

When officials responded to the scene Aldrich said that they had an explosive called Tannerite, that they would shoot through the walls, and that they had a gas mask and armor-piercing ammunition, the affidavit said.

Aldrich was ultimately arrested following the incident, but Judge Chittum dropped all charges against them on July 5, 2022.

In a December press conference Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said the charges against Aldrich were ultimately dropped because after roughly a year of court continuances, the family was unwilling to testify against Aldrich.

“If we are unable to produce a witness, none of those statements would be admissible in a criminal courtroom,” Allen said. “If witnesses cannot be produced at a trial and we are against a speedy trial, it is very common for a court to dismiss the case.”

Aldrich — whose attorneys say identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns — faces up to life in prison without parole if convicted on first-degree murder charges stemming from the November 19 Club Q shooting that left five dead and 25 injured at the LGBTQ club.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Jeremy Harlan contributed to this report.

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