(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Court documents relating to a 2021 incident involving the alleged Club Q shooter were unsealed on Thursday, Dec. 8, and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) has released a statement on the incident, standing behind the actions of their deputies.

In a press conference on Thursday, 4th Judicial District Attorney (DA) Michael Allen explained that the case file had been sealed because the case was dropped against the accused shooter, after the shooter’s family, who were victims of the 2021 incident, declined to testify or comply with subpoenas to appear in court. According to DA Allen, the case had to be dismissed at the end of a six-month time frame, due to Colorado’s Speedy Trial Statute, which ensures Coloradans the right to a trial within six months of a not-guilty plea.

According to EPSO, deputies responded around 2 p.m. on June 18, 2021 to a reported bomb threat at home in the 9800 block of Rubicon Drive in Security-Widefield. The newly released arrest affidavit for the incident states that the suspect’s grandparents had been attempting to discuss their plans to move to Florida, when the suspect emerged from the basement of their home with a handgun and pointed it at them.

The suspect allegedly told their grandparents that if they moved, it would interfere with the suspect’s plans to “conduct a mass shooting and bombing,” the affidavit shows. The suspect’s grandparents told deputies that they had been living in fear due to the suspect’s “homicidal threats towards them and others.”

After pointing the gun at their grandparents, the suspect then brought a box from the basement with chemicals in it, and told them it was a bomb “powerful enough to blow up a police department and a federal building.” The suspect’s grandparents ran from the home and called 911 when the suspect went back down to the basement.

Around 4:15 p.m., after SWAT teams had begun containment in the area, the suspect contacted a Sergeant with EPSO by phone, and the suspect told the Sergeant they could see SWAT members outside the home. The suspect instructed law enforcement to “get back,” and warned that they were going to begin “shooting through the walls.”

The suspect eventually surrendered to EPSO after a standoff, and when deputies searched the home, they found bomb-making materials as well as guns, which were seized as evidence. The affidavit shows the suspect was arrested on three counts of First Degree Kidnapping and two counts of Felony Menacing.

According to EPSO, after the suspect’s family refused to appear in court, and the allotted time under the Speedy Trial Statute had elapsed, the case against the suspect was dismissed on July 5, 2022. The Mandatory Protection Order that had been in effect barring the suspect from possessing firearms was also lifted at that time.

EPSO said that the suspect later requested all seized items be returned, including the guns, and that request was denied by EPSO.

EPSO released a statement after the case was unsealed on Dec. 8, addressing comments and criticisms that the office has received following the shooting at Club Q.

“Since our previous involvement with [the suspect] came to light following the Club Q shooting, rumors, false allegations, and incendiary accusations have reached a crescendo that ignorantly denigrated our actions surrounding our arrest of [the suspect] in the summer of 2021 despite our repeated reminders to the media, our community members, and politicians that state law strictly prohibited any comment being made by us regarding that previous involvement,” EPSO said.  

“Sheriff Elder proudly stands behind the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office involved in our previous case involving [the suspect] and their handling of that incident and investigation,” EPSO added. “From the initial responding Patrol Division personnel, to the Tactical Support Unit (TSU), to the involved detectives, everything lawfully possible was accomplished by EPSO personnel in accordance with applicable and available state laws to keep weapons away from [the suspect] and protect the public.”

You can read EPSO’s entire statement, including a breakdown of the 2021 incident and court proceedings that resulted in the dismissal of the case and restoration of the suspect’s right to possess weapons, here.

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