The suspect was not prosecuted. Court records involving the threat have been sealed.
Interviews and public records revealed that the suspect had a troubled childhood marked by frequent moves. The suspect’s mother and father divorced when the suspect was less than 2 years old. Each parent had problems with substance abuse and a history of arrests.
The suspect was born Nicholas Brink, but legally changed their name to Anderson Lee Aldrich as a teenager in Bexar County, Texas, according to court documents. (The name change was reported earlier by The Washington Post.)
In 2016, the suspect’s grandparents, acting as guardians, referred to the suspect as male in court documents they filed in a Texas court to request a name change. “Minor wishes to protect himself + his future from any connections to birth father + his criminal history,” the grandparents wrote to the court. “Father has had no contact with minor for several years.”
By that time, the suspect’s father, Aaron Franklin Brink, had been arrested numerous times in California on charges related to drug use and erratic driving, court records show.
Mr. Brink said in an interview at his home in San Diego that his ex-wife, Laura Voepel, told him years ago that their child had changed their name because they were embarrassed by their father. Mr. Brink said Ms. Voepel later told him that their child had died, and that he believed that to be the case until several months ago, when Mr. Brink and the suspect reconnected by phone.
Mr. Brink said the phone call devolved into an argument, and at one point his child threatened to beat him up. Yet Mr. Brink said the conversation ended amicably.
Mr. Brink, who said he had worked as a pornographic actor and was now a mixed martial arts coach, described himself as religious and a conservative Republican who condemned gun violence. He acknowledged that he had voiced strong disapproval of gay people when the child was younger. Even so, in the interview Mr. Brink expressed sympathy for the families of the victims in the club shooting.