COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The gunman who opened fire at an LGBTQ nightclub just before midnight Saturday, killing five and wounding 25, was subdued by someone who grabbed the gunman’s handgun and assaulted him, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said. Sunday’s New York Times.
Authorities have credited club patrons with confronting and disarming the gunman, preventing further injuries and loss of life. “We have to thank them,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said, calling those who intervened “heroes.”
Suthers told the newspaper that when police arrived minutes after the attack began, the man carrying the gun was holding the perpetrator. Police say the shooter used a long rifle, and at least one other firearm was found at the scene.
A suspect was arrested about five minutes after police first received the 911 call, Vasquez said. According to authorities, the injured were taken to several hospitals, with at least seven in critical condition.
With the Club Q shooting, 2022 surpassed 2019 for the most mass shootings by firearms in a single year, according to the AP/USA TODAY/Northeastern University database.
The suspect, identified as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, is believed to have acted alone, police said. Aldrich was being treated for injuries; Police offered few other details.
A man with the same name and age was arrested in 2021 after his mother said he threatened to have a “homemade bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition,” according to authorities, who have not confirmed if the man is the same as the suspect. Saturday shooting.
Authorities said at the time that no explosives were found.
Authorities on Sunday were considering whether to prosecute the attack as a hate crime, according to El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen, who said charges against the suspect “could include first-degree murder.”
When will it stop?:LGBTQ community, Pulse Survivors respond to Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs
In a statement on its Facebook page, Club Q called the shooting a “hate attack” and said it was “devastated by the senseless attack on our community. Our … thoughts are with the victims and their families and friends.”
“We are thankful for the quick responses of heroic patrons who subdued the gunman and ended this hateful attack,” said the statement from Club Q, which is described as a dance and nightclub.
Joshua Thurman, 34, said he was dancing at Club Q when the shootings started, but at first thought they were part of the music. He was well aware when he heard another shot and said he saw the gun flash at the muzzle.
Thurman and another man ran into a dressing room, where they locked the door with a third man and hid while the chaos unfolded.
“I should have lost my life—for what? What is the purpose?” Thurman said as tears streamed down his cheeks. “We were having fun. We did not intend to harm anyone. We were having fun in our space, in our community, in our home, just like everyone else.”
A prominent Colorado lawmaker is hitting back at the state’s congresswoman on social media after the Colorado Springs shooting.
After newly re-elected Republican Rep. Lauren Bobert expressed her condolences on Twitter State Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, a Democrat and co-founder of the Colorado LGBTQ Legislative Caucus, urged Boebert to “do better” for the victims of the attack and for an end to “lawless violence.”
“You are part of the problem. Try to be a better representative to all your constituents who are stuck with you sometimes. Esgar tweeted, points out that Boebert has publicly criticized the LGBTQ community. In June, Boebert tweeted: “Take your kids to church, don’t drag bars.”
In an interview on MSNBC later Sunday, Esgar said that while she was shocked by the fatal shootings, she was not surprised by the hateful rhetoric sweeping the country.
“By putting out such messages, people should understand that people are listening to those rhetorics and they are acting on them,” Esgar said.
“We have to do better,” concluded Esgar. “We have to be better.”
The shooting brings back memories of Colorado’s dark days
Suthers and several members of the City Council joined a standing-room-only crowd for a vigil Sunday at All Souls Unitarian Church, making it clear the city doesn’t want to take a step back in its relationship with the LGBTQ community.
David Darling, vice president of philanthropy at the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, was also in attendance and said: “We’re devastated by this. I’ve lived here for 33 years and I’m a member of the LGBTQ community and we’ve made progress.”
Dahlin added that Colorado became known as the hate state when Amendment 2 was passed in 1992, prohibiting the state from protecting gay rights. The U.S. Supreme Court later rejected it, paving the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage, Darling said.
“We have a lot of good things in our community. It’s an amazing place and we don’t want to go back to that reputation. This (shooting) is like a giant step in the wrong direction,” Darling said through tears.
– Tracy Herman, Pueblo Chief
Natalie Bingham, 25, received a FaceTime call from her friend Kelly Jenn as Jenn entered the club at 11:48 p.m. Saturday.
Jen, who is transgender, doesn’t go out much and was excited to show her friend her outfit – a black top, black skirt and freshly dyed red hair. She told Bingham she was going to have a drink at the bar, then go outside for a cigarette, and call her later.
Eight minutes later, police received the first 911 call about an active shooter at the club. Bingham hasn’t heard from her friend since, and fears Jen may be one of the victims of the shooting.
Bingham, who also identifies as transgender, said Club Q is a popular hangout in the LGBTQ community and is considered a “safe space” among her peers. Bingham, who lives in Denver, visited the club in the summer and said it draws patrons from both Colorado Springs and Denver.
“It’s crazy to think that people still have that kind of hatred in their hearts in this day and age,” she said.
Macie Loureiro, 27, told USA TODAY her brother, Luca Loureiro, was hosting a monthly “Drag Divas” event at Club Q on Saturday night when the shooting happened. She said Luca was backstage after the show and hid with other performers when he heard the gunshots. He was not injured.
“In general, it’s a great place to go with friends and be yourself and celebrate everyone in it,” Macie Loureiro said.
“It’s devastating because it’s an attack on a family — beautiful people who just want to go and hang out and have a safe place to be themselves,” she said. “It won’t happen to us again.”
According to Macie Loureiro, Colorado Springs, a city of about 480,000 about 70 miles south of Denver, has become more accepting of the LGBTQ community in recent years, including more LGBTQ restaurants and spaces like Club Q.
The club was preparing for a drag brunch on Sunday, according to its Facebook page, which said it would celebrate Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday “with a variety of gender roles and performance styles.” Memorial Day saw at least 32 transgender and non-binary people killed in violence this year, capping Transgender Awareness Week.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis, the first openly gay man elected governor of the United States; He expressed his gratitude for “brave people”. who confronted the gunman during the shooting
“This is horrible, sickening and devastating,” Polis tweeted. “My heart breaks for the families and friends of those lost, injured and traumatized by this horrific shooting.”
Police on Sunday ordered flags in all public buildings across the country to be flown at half-mast for five days starting Monday to honor and remember the five victims. A Pride flag will also fly in the state capital for the next five days.
President Joe Biden also weighed in and prayed for the “senseless” tragedy. “While no motive for this attack is yet clear, we know that gun violence has a particular impact on LGBTQI+ communities across our nation.” He said on Twitter, addition. “We cannot tolerate hate.”
On June 12, 2016, a shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida left 49 people dead and 53 injured. The Pulse nightclub attack was the second deadliest mass shooting in US history.
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Contributions: Thao Nguyen, USA TODAY; Eric Larsen, Fort Collins Coloradoan; Associated Press