Former UFC fighter Aaron Brink, father of Anderson Lee Aldrich — the alleged suspect in the Club Q nightclub shooting in Colorado that left five people dead — says he has let his son down.
But Brink, 48, also believed his son was dead after his ex-wife called him in 2016 to let him know the then-teenager had changed his name and taken his own life. As it turns out, at least part of that was untrue: Aldrich legally changed his name shortly before his 16th birthday, at least in part because of his father’s history of abuse. But instead of being dead, the 22-year-old is now accused of murdering five people and injuring several others before nightclub patrons disarmed him.
Aldrich faces murder and possible hate crime charges, with Club Q identified as a gay nightclub. In a twist, Aldrich’s attorneys say he identifies as “non-binary” and refer to their client as Mx. Aldrich in lawsuits.
Prosecutors do not believe Aldrich’s gender will have any bearing on the case and have not necessarily ruled out hate crime charges.
Born Nicholas Franklin Brink, the younger Brink petitioned a Texas court to change his name in 2016 with the support of his grandparents, who were his legal guardians at the time. “The minor wants to protect himself and his future from any ties to the birth father and his criminal past. For several years, the father has had no contact with a minor,” the petition says.
Brink Sr. was allegedly abusive to Aldrich’s mother, the daughter of a California legislator, and began a career in porn under the name Dick Delaware. He was also the subject of an episode of the reality TV show Intervention, which focused on Brink’s use of methamphetamine. All of this contributed to Aldrich’s desire to distance himself from his father.
That changed about six months ago.
“I thought he was dead. I mourned his loss. I went through a crack and I thought I lost my son,” Brink told CBS 8 when contacted about the shooting. But earlier this year, Brink received a phone call from his son. “He is angry. He’s mad at me. He wants to poke the old man,” Brink said of the conversation.
This was Brink’s last contact with Aldrich. Then a few days ago, he got a call from the shooting suspect’s attorneys.
A devout Mormon, Brink stated that “we don’t do gays.” But after praising Aldrich for his past violent behavior, he expressed sympathy for the victims, saying, “I’m sorry for your loss. Life is so fragile and precious. These people’s lives were precious. You know, they’re precious. They are probably good people. It’s not something you kill someone for. I’m sorry I let my son down.”
Aaron Brink’s MMA career began in 1998 and saw him share the cage with the likes of Rich Franklin, Alistair Overeem, Travis Browne and at UFC 28 in 2000, Andrei Arlovski. Although this marked his only appearance in the UFC, Brink fought for a number of regional promotions through 2019. With just under 60 fights to his name, Brink’s record as of 2019 was 29-27, 2NC.