Skip to Content

Club Q accused shooter’s possible criminal past shines spotlight on Colorado’s sealed records laws

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A point of frustration for many community members since the Club Q shooting has been the limited information available regarding the suspected shooter's past criminal interaction with police.

In June 2021, the 22-year-old accused killer was arrested on five felony charges for making bomb threats. At that time, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said the suspect's mother was the one threatened. That case against the suspect was never continued.

However, each time the media has asked 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen what happened to the case, he has stated, "no such records exist."

Currently in Colorado, when a criminal case is dropped or dismissed, that charge record is automatically sealed. Allen has yet to say what happened with the suspect's 2021 bomb threat.

The way records are sealed stems from a 2019 piece of legislation called "Increased Eligibility For Criminal Record Sealing."

The act creates a simplified process to seal criminal justice records when:

  • A case against a defendant is completely dismissed because the defendant is acquitted of all counts in the case;
  • The defendant completes a diversion agreement when a criminal case has been filed; or
  • The defendant completes a deferred judgment and sentence and all counts are dismissed.

Thursday, 13 Investigates spoke with Timothy Lane, the Legislative Liaison for the Colorado District Attorney's Council and former 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler.

Both said the sealing records law was created as a way to prevent someone from feeling the impacts of a charge that doesn't result in a conviction, but it has had "unintended consequences."

"They're guessing as to what led it here. And in the absence of the truth, we may end up seeing, and we've seen this before under the gold dome, legislation being passed based on anecdote and rumor. That's not good for Colorado," Brauchler said.

The former republican DA argues Aldrich's prior case should already be unsealed given the heightened public interest surrounding the event and what followed.

"I don't see the downside [for not unsealing] to anyone other than potentially law enforcement, the judge, or the prosecutor in revealing this information," Brauchler said.

Lane believes prosecutors wish they could say more regarding records that are sealed, but if they say the wrong thing, they could be held in contempt of court.

"I hope folks understand that's what we're required to do. It's not our personal decision," Lane said. "It is an act that the court has ordered, and it is something the legislature has told the court that they must order."

13 Investigates reached out to the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office to ask if they had petitioned to court to unseal Aldrich's prior criminal case. They were not able to speak on the case.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


KRDO NewsChannel 13 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content