The suspect in the deadly shooting at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub allegedly used anti-gay slurs — and chillingly said that “it’s not the gun you’ve got to be afraid of, it’s the people,” a neighbor said.
Xavier Kraus told the Daily Beast that Anderson Lee Aldrich enjoyed going with his mother, Laura Voepel, to a range where “rapid fire” was permitted.
Kraus said he spoke with Aldrich about the dangers of firearms, but he replied: “It’s not the gun you’ve got to be afraid of, it’s the people.”
He said Aldrich “had this idea that we would go out at some point to a range and he [would] teach me some gun safety and go out and shoot some target practice.”
“We never ended up getting around to do that. But that conversation just kind of sits with me, because I know how I felt when I saw the gun and he showed it to me. He was like, ‘This is all legal. I’m totally allowed to have this.’ It was an assault-rifle type gun,” Kraus told the outlet.
Kraus, who said he once considered the accused gunman a friend, also acknowledged that Aldrich “said things sometimes that probably should have been alarming to me,” including a vile homophobic slur.
“He used the term ‘f—-t’ a lot. Most of the time it came from a place of anger,” he told the news outlet.
The neighbor also recalled a time when Aldrich made a “shooting his gun” reference to a woman he was upset with.
“And this was one of the instances where his mom was like, ‘Andy, oh my God, no, you can’t say that,’” Kraus said.
In a separate interview, Kraus said Aldrich confided that he was a former drug user.
“He was addicted to opium and opened up about a previous heroin addiction,” he told CBS News.
Aldrich, 22, faces five murder charges and five counts of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury in connection with Saturday night’s shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, where five people were killed and dozens wounded.
He is believed to have used an AR-15-style rifle in the rampage, officials said.
Last year, he was arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat against his mom, who reported him for “threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition,” police said.
No formal charges were pursued in the case, which has reportedly been sealed.