A former neighbor and friend of the suspect told NBC News that the FBI asked two websites about the shooting that left five people dead and 17 injured at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado last month.
Former neighbor Xavier Kraus said an FBI agent asked him about two websites at an FBI field office in Colorado Springs last Thursday afternoon after an agent called him earlier that day.
One of the websites was created by Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, who was charged with 305 crimes, including first-degree murder and bias-motivated crimes, in Tuesday’s mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Kraus told investigators. Shortly before midnight on November 19.
The website, allegedly created by Aldrich, is a forum-type “free speech” site where people anonymously post racist and anti-Semitic memes, language and videos.
A video titled “False Targets” on the homepage advocates the killing of civilians as part of a larger effort to “assassinate the top elite” and “cleanse” society.
“Visit Our Sister Site!” A link that says leads to a webpage with links to four short videos, each uploaded in two different formats and appearing to have been released in the hours before the shoot.
Two of the videos show the interior of a Toyota at night; In one, the dashboard clock shows 11:44 and the person recording the video says “OK” before ending the video. Local police began receiving 911 calls regarding a gunfight at Club Q at 11:56 PM.
The videos appear to have gone from 9:28 to 23:43 local time on the night of shooting. While it’s unclear who recorded and broadcast the videos, a frame from the 11:44 video shows a reflection that looks like Aldrich in the rearview mirror.
According to an archive of the page viewed by NBC News, the “sister site” previously hosted video of the mass shooting that killed 10 people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket in May.
Public defenders representing Aldrich did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
A spokesperson for the FBI’s Denver field office said, “The Denver FBI Field Office, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. District Attorney’s Office are aware of the situation regarding the Colorado Springs shooting. Club Q and determining what federal response is required. We will review all available facts about the incident for the Colorado Springs police department has not made a request for comment.
According to public records, Kraus, who lives in a Colorado Springs apartment complex one door away from Aldrich, told the FBI that he told the FBI that Aldrich set up the freedom of speech website in the late spring or early summer. Kraus said Aldrich describes the site as “a platform where people can go and post whatever they want.”
“At the time, okay, I can stand behind that, I guess I was like, not really understanding what it was going to turn into,” Kraus said. He added that he and Aldrich—whose lawyers said they were not binary and used pronouns—had visited the site together at Aldrich’s apartment about two or three times since the site went live, and that Aldrich once said they forgot to moderate the content. added by others.
Kraus said most of the posts currently on the site, including racist content, weren’t there when he visited the site with Aldrich. A message at the top of the site homepage reads “Two Rules. NO CP and NO SPAM”, “CP” probably refers to child pornography.
Kraus said agents asked if Aldrich had posted the “False Targets” video on the homepage. Kraus told them that embedding the video on the site was “something only an administrator could do.” He knew this because he had visited the site with Aldrich before, but could not confirm that it was Aldrich who posted the video.
The FBI also said that he asked Kraus if he knew anything about the “sister site” containing the video links, or what was there. Kraus said an agent tried to access the site from a laptop while Kraus was in the field office, and a subsequent text message between Kraus and the agent also indicated that the agent was unable to open the site at that time.
One of the four videos appears to be rapidly navigating in a circle. Kraus confirmed that the apartment shown is the one where Aldrich lived with their mother when he and Kraus were neighbors.
One of the videos is completely black, and the two videos recorded inside the vehicle are dark, but some details can be selected. In one of the car videos, the recorder says, “Shout out to the seven professional temptations,” and the car dashboard shows 10:06 am.
After listening to the audio in the videos, Kraus said it was “very, very similar” to Aldrich, but could not confirm this definitively.
When asked about the “professional seven sins”, Kraus replied that both he and Aldrich were familiar with an online community called the Se7en Sins Gaming Community, but Kraus did not know the meaning of the phrase. One of the administrators of this online community is called “Professional”.
If this statement is intended to reference the online gaming community and is linked to the alleged Club Q gunman, this would not be the first time such a reference has been made by a gunman. Brenton Tarrant, who shot and killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019, said during the live broadcast: “Subscribe to PewDiePie” A viral meme reference about a popular YouTuber who posts videos playing video games.
Aldrich was suppressed by three club bosses shortly after the conflict began and was subsequently arrested by the authorities. Aldrich is being held without bail.
Kraus said he felt “an enormous amount of guilt” since he was shot. He said he did not challenge Aldrich when they made racist or homophobic remarks, including stating they “hate fags”, because Aldrich is also an “angry person” who owns a gun.
“I know it’s not something I did but I don’t know how to explain it, I feel absolutely awful knowing that I know someone, know someone, and befriend someone who can come in and be able to do this horrible thing,” Kraus said. “There are some nights I just cry because it could have been me, it could have been, who knew what could have been – it’s just awful.”