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Passengers claim Club Q shooting suspect made threatening remarks

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DENVER (KDVR/NewsNation) — Cell phone video from a Frontier Airlines passenger purportedly shows the alleged Colorado gay club shooting suspect and their mother in a heated confrontation that escalated to threats against fellow passengers in July.

The video was taken by passenger Maria Martinez after the woman claimed the suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich — who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns — referred to her by a racist slur used against Hispanics. After she was called the derogatory term, Martinez began filming the suspect and their mother, Laura Vopel, as they walked off the plane.

In the video, this exchange can be heard:

  • Martinez: “What makes me a b—-?”
  • Voepel: “Shut up.”
  • Martinez: “What makes me a b—-?”

A few seconds later, the suspect, believed to be Aldrich is seen responding, “You keep following me and I’m going to f— you up.”

The suspect was wearing a face mask at the time, but Martinez and her daughter Kayla Martinez told NewsNation affiliate KDVR that they immediately recognized Aldrich as the person now charged with killing five people and shooting 17 others at Club Q in Colorado Springs.

Aldrich, who is facing possible hate crime charges, was ordered to be held without bail in an initial court appearance Wednesday.

Martinez and her friend Tanya De La O said they remembered the suspect well, in part because of what they told each other after their flight home to Denver.

“Even my friend was like, we won’t be surprised, like, if he’s a mass shooter. And it was scary to think that,” Martinez said.

De La O said as the suspect walked off the plane, they said: “I wish I can shoot all of you right now.”

“I was having a hard time getting my luggage down (from the overhead bin), and all of a sudden, I just hear this woman say, ‘Hurry the f— up. You b—–.’ And then I turned around and said, ‘Excuse me?’” De La O told KDVR.

De La O said the suspect continued when a Black male passenger tried to de-escalate tensions.

“He also told him to ‘Shut the f— up, you f—— n—–,’” De La O said.

De La O added the suspect’s mother also participated in the racist remarks.

“She’s the one that started with the racial slur… She was obnoxious the whole flight. She literally made the crew remove a young lady with her baby that were sitting behind her because she (Voepel) was complaining about the baby. The plane hadn’t even taken off yet,” De La O said.

Martinez said she tried to complain to the Frontier Airlines flight crew but felt they weren’t willing to get involved and told her to call customer service when she got off the plane. She said that when she called customer service, they refused to take her complaint over the phone and told her she had to submit it in writing. Frustrated, Martinez said she hung up the phone and gave up.

NewsNation affiliate KDVR and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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