In November, I asked a very basic question about why the gay nightclub shooter was even on the loose considering what had happened in ’21.
Friday afternoon around 2:00 p.m., deputies with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Offices responded to reports of a bomb threat on Rubicon Drive in the Lorson Ranch neighborhood, just south of the Colorado Springs Airport.
The suspect, 21-year old Anderson Lee Aldrich, refused to comply with deputies’ orders to surrender. It was reported to the Sherrif’s Office that he had a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition.
A Tactical Support Unit, which includes the Regional Explosives Unit was called in. Around 10 homes were evacuated in the surrounding area, while an emergency text notification was sent out to homes within a 1/4-mile radius of the address.
Aldrich would later go on to shoot up a gay nightclub. But the actual story of that ’21 incident has turned out to be much worse.
Authorities said the person who would later kill five at a Colorado gay nightclub was on the FBI’s radar a day before being arrested for threatening to kill family members but agents closed out the case just weeks later.
The details of the June 17, 2021, tip to the FBI are not known. But the next day, Aldrich’s grandparents ran from their Colorado Springs home and called 911, saying Aldrich was building a bomb in the basement and had threatened to kill them. Details of the case remain sealed, but an arrest affidavit verified by the AP detailed how Aldrich was upset the grandparents were moving to Florida because it would get in the way of Aldrich’s plans to conduct a mass shooting and bombing.
The FBI can only do so much, but this is reminiscent of the Pulse gay nightclub shooting. In that case, Omar Mateen, the Afghan Muslim terrorist, had a father who was an FBI informant, and was extensively investigated by the FBI.
The veteran FBI agent and a local sheriff’s deputy took no chances when they got a credible tip about a potential terrorist.
In a joint operation, they ran his name through a maze of federal criminal and terrorism databases and scrutinized his telephone records for suspicious contacts.
Without a warrant, they couldn’t read his emails or listen to his calls. But they watched him from unmarked vehicles to track his daily routine and to see whom he met.
They deployed two confidential informants more than a dozen times to secretly record his conversations. They interviewed him twice and convinced him to provide a written statement — in which he admitted he previously had lied to agents.
In the end, after a counter-terrorism investigation that stretched from May 2013 to March 2014, the agent and his supervisor concluded that Omar Mateen was not a threat and closed the case…
Mateen was a private security guard at the county courthouse, where the Sheriff’s Office oversaw security. Co-workers had warned that Mateen had claimed connections to the terrorist groups Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and that he wanted to die as a martyr, the Sheriff’s Office told the FBI.
Mateen played the victim card and cried Islamophobia. Did Aldrich claim that he was nonbinary and troubled because he was the victim of bigotry? We may find out as more details emerge.