The man charged with the fatal mass shooting at a Colorado gay bar last month was locked behind bars for a 2021 kidnapping … but a judge later tossed out the case and released him, possibly leading to the massacre, according to new court documents.
First some background … in June 2021, Anderson Aldrich allegedly held his grandparents at gunpoint inside their Colorado Springs home after he became irate upon learning they were moving to Florida because he was making a bomb in the basement. But, his grandparents managed to flee and call 911.
A SWAT team arrested Aldrich after a brief standoff. Investigators recovered Aldrich’s homemade bombs and firearms for a planned terrorist attack. He was charged with menacing, kidnapping and crime of violence.
Two months later, Judge Robin Chittum expressed concerns over Aldrich stockpiling weapons and explosives during a court proceeding, according to legal docs obtained Friday by the AP. At the hearing, Chittum also referenced Aldrich’s struggles with mental illness, saying he needed treatment or “it’s going to be so bad.”
Fast forward to July 2022 … during another hearing, there was no mention of Aldrich’s violent tendencies or his mental health status. Then Chittum granted a defense counsel’s motion to dismiss the case and drop all charges against Aldrich just before trial. The reason? Aldrich’s grandparents stopped cooperating, although other relatives warned the judge in a letter that Aldrich would kill someone if released.
Of course, the case’s dismissal raises concerns about whether the recent mass shooting at Club Q could have been prevented. In that case, five people were killed and dozens were wounded. Aldrich has been charged with a whopping 305 criminal counts, including hate crimes and murder.