Club Q shooting suspect changed name in 2016, court records show

The man accused of opening fire in a Colorado Springs nightclub changed his name in 2016 to protect himself from his birth father and that man’s “criminal history,” according to court records obtained by The Denver Post.

Nicholas Franklin Brink asked a Bexar County, Texas, judge to change his name to Anderson Lee Aldrich more than six years ago, when he was 15, court records show. Aldrich was living in San Antonio at the time, records show, and his grandparents signed the petition authorizing the name change.

The family wrote that Aldrich wanted to change his name “to protect himself and his future from any connections to birth father (sic) and his criminal history. Father has had no contact with (Aldrich) for several years.”

The petition was filed on April 28, 2016, and granted by a judge on May 2, shortly before Aldrich’s 16th birthday. The Washington Post first reported the filing Tuesday morning, but the revelations about Aldrich seeking his name change to distance himself from his father, Aaron Brink, have not yet been reported.

There has been intense scrutiny on Aldrich’s history since he was arrested early Sunday morning on suspicion of killing five people and injuring 18 more at Club Q in Colorado Springs.

Police have said Aldrich, 22, walked into the gay and lesbian club and opened fire, minutes before the beginning of Transgender Day of Remembrance began. The suspect was tackled by patrons of the club, one of whom beat him bloody with his own weapon. Aldrich was still being treated in an area hospital Monday evening.

Officials have remained tight-lipped about Aldrich. They have yet to publicly identify a motive for the shootings, and they have refused to confirm if Aldrich is the same man who was arrested in June 2021 for threatening his mother with a bomb and other weapons.

But the records obtained by The Post provide key insight into his history. They show that he had been the subject of a legal guardianship court ruling in California before and that his grandparents were his legal guardians. Aaron Brink signed the petition acknowledging he was Aldrich’s father and giving his son permission to change his name. The petition is also signed by Aldrich’s mother, Laura Voepel. Brink and Voepel divorced in 2001, court records show.

Public records indicate a man with the same name as Aaron Brink — and with the same middle name as Nicholas Brink — has an extensive arrest record in at least three states.

In an interview with MMA Junkie, Brink said he was in and out of juvenile detention as a teen. In 1996, he was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for smuggling marijuana into the country, according to federal court records. Online court records show he faced at least four criminal cases in San Diego County, California, though records do not name the charges. In Orange County, California, he was convicted of DUI, lying to law enforcement and possession of a controlled substance between 2011 and 2016. He also faced a felony charge, though online court records do not show the charge or the disposition.

Voepel, who has not returned multiple requests for comment since the shooting Saturday night, has posted to Facebook that her father is California Republican assemblyman Randy Voepel. Randy Voepel, a longtime mayor and city councilman of the San Diego suburb of Santee, also has not returned repeated requests for comment. He lost a primary election earlier this year. Randy Voepel is not one of the grandparents who signed Aldrich’s petition.

Aldrich also appeared to be the target of online bullying during his teenage years. A webpage created in 2015 lobs a series of profane insults and accusations at Nick Brink and his family, mentioning his grandparents by name. The website has been updated since the shooting with more bigoted language and insults, according to its archived history.

The page includes screenshots of an undated GoFundMe, allegedly launched by Aldrich’s grandmother to fund a trip to Japan, and photos that purport to depict Aldrich. The webpage also links to a YouTube account made in Nicholas Brink’s name. The account has only one post, a profanity-laced aminated video uploaded in 2012. The video has more than 700 views as of Tuesday morning.

Source: Read Full Article