Randy Voepel is an outgoing Republican state Assembly man in California.
He is also the grandfather of accused Colorado Springs mass shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich. Police in Colorado say Aldrich, 22, entered Club Q, which is a nightclub serving the LGBTQ community, and opened fire with a long rifle, killing five people. Another 19 were wounded, including 17 who suffered gunshot wounds, police said. Aldrich was subdued by patrons and is in the hospital. Aldrich’s motive is not clear, but the club called the mass shooting a “hate attack.”
Heavy reached out to Voepel’s office for comment about the Aldrich connection and received none back.
Voepel has been embroiled in controversy before – over comments he made comparing the January 6 attacks to the Revolutionary War. He was ousted in an August 2022 Republican primary that pitted him against another member of the GOP due to redistricting.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Voepel Called January 6th the ‘First Shots Fired Against Tyranny’
A January 12, 2021, article in the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that “California chapters of a group focused on national security” were calling for the expulsion of state Rep. Randy Voepel, R-Santee, because of comments he made in the days after the January 6 attacks at the U.S. Capitol.
“This is Lexington and Concord. First shots fired against tyranny,” Voepel said, according to the newspaper. “Tyranny will follow in the aftermath of the Biden swear-in on January 20th.”
The Union-Tribune noted that Voepel “later tweeted that he condemned violence and lawlessness.”
“What I meant by Lexington and Concord was, that was how it would be seen by some people,” Voepel explained to the newspaper, adding that he found the January 6 attacks disgraceful.
“The left has their crazies and the right has their crazies, and I don’t support either one,” Voepel said. “I support the First Amendment and the ability to protest, as long as you keep it peaceful.”
2. Voepel’s Daughter Laura Voepel Is the Mother of the Accused Club Q Mass Shooter
Heavy has confirmed that Voepel’s daughter Laura Voepel of Colorado Springs is the mother of Aldrich, 22.
On Facebook, Aldrich’s mom gave shout-outs to Randy Voepel, referring to him as “dad.” In one Facebook post, she wrote, “Keep up the work Dad~~ You work hard to improve our lives and a lot of us take notice.”
Divorce records on Ancestry.com confirm that Randy Voepel is divorced from Laura’s mother, Pamela Pullen. Laura Voepel also has a young son, according to her Facebook page.
She works as a “support engineer,” according to her LinkedIn page, and previously lived in California as well.
After Heavy reported the familial tie, the Denver Gazette also confirmed that Randy Voepel is Aldrich’s grandfather.
3. Randy Voepel, a Vietnam War Veteran, Was the Mayor of Santee, California
Randy Voepel is a former California mayor and city council member.
“Randy Voepel was elected to represent California’s 71st Assembly District in 2016. Before joining the Assembly, Randy served on the Santee City Council between 1996 and 2000, and then served as Mayor between 2000-2016,” his bio reads.
“Randy is a Vietnam veteran, serving two tours in the conflict with the US Navy. After leaving the service, he worked nearly forty years in the insurance industry. Randy and his wife Susan live in Santee, where they raised their two children.”
4. Randy Voepel Tweeted ‘Let Us Not Only MAGA But Make California Great Again!
In 2017, Randy Voepel tweeted, “Let us not only #MAGA, but Make California Great Again! Grateful to be representing my district in the State Assembly. #InaugurationDay.”
He represented District 71, starting in 2016.
“Assemblymember Randy Voepel has taken at least $155,000 from the Finance, Insurance & Real Estate sector since he was elected to the legislature. That represents 20% of his total campaign contributions,” Cal Matters reported.
5. Randy Voepel Lost a Republican Primary in August
Randy Voepel was defeated after redistricting forced two Republicans to run against each other, according to East County Magazine.
In that election, Voepel was crushed at the ballot box by Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, the Assembly Republican leader. She received 66.76% of the votes to Voepel’s 33.24%, East County Magazine reported.