What we know so far about the Colorado Springs shooting
November 22, 2022 11:13 pm
Police continue to investigate after a gunman killed five people and injured 18 others at an LGBTQ nightclub late Saturday in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Seventeen people were injured by gunshots, while another victim sustained other injuries, police said Monday afternoon.
At least one other person and likely many others were victims with no visible injuries, police said. Police earlier said 25 people were injured.
Police on Monday released the names of those killed: Daniel Aston, Kelly Loving, Raymond Green Vance, Derrick Rump and Ashley Green Paugh.
Three victims are in stable condition at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, its CEO said on Monday.
Officials have identified Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, as the suspect. He was taken into custody shortly after arriving on site at Club Q and is being treated at a local hospital as of Monday afternoon.
Court records for the case have now been sealed. Colorado Springs District Attorney Michael Allen said on Monday afternoon that no formal charges have been filed. He said the investigation is still active and charges will be filed in due time.
The attack comes six years after the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ community in modern U.S. history, when a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
Here’s what we know about the Colorado Springs shooting.
Two patrons subdued the gunman
Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said the gunman began shooting as soon as he entered the nightclub.
According to authorities, two patrons, Richard Fierro and Thomas James, helped subdue the gunman, which the chief described as heroic.
“We owe them a great debt of thanks,” he said at a news conference Sunday.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told NPR that one of the patrons “took the handgun from the [shooter] and hit him with the handgun to disable him.”
Club Q wrote on Facebook that the patrons’ “quick reactions” helped end the attack, which it called a hate attack, and prevented more people from being killed or injured.
Police said the first call came in at 11:57 p.m. local time after which the first officer arrived three minutes later. The suspect was taken into custody at 12:02 a.m. MT.
Vasquez said the shooter carried an “AR style platform” long gun along with multiple magazines with ammunition.
“That speaks to the preparation that he took before entering that club,” Vasquez told NPR’s Rachel Martin on Morning Edition.
Club Q has been a safe haven for Colorado Springs’ LGBTQ community
Club Q, which opened in 2002, serves the Colorado Springs area with drag shows, karaoke, and dance parties for those 18 years and older.
Both Vasquez and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called the club a “safe haven” for LGBTQ residents of Colorado Springs.
“Club Q has been a safe haven for the LGBTQ community in an area where it hasn’t always been easy,” Polis, who became the first openly gay governor in the U.S. in 2018, said at a church service Sunday. “It’s a place where we can gather, dance, and share the joy.”
Colorado Springs Police Lt. Pamela Castro said the department was shocked at the attack, as the nightclub had not been a problem spot for the city.
Club Q announced it will be closed until further notice.
The shooting came on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance
The gunman targeted the club the night before Transgender Day of Remembrance, which occurs annually on Nov. 20 to honor victims of anti-trans violence.
The day of remembrance had its start in 1999, when LGBTQ rights advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith helped organize a vigil for transgender women Rita Hester and Chanelle Pickett of Massachusetts. Both were women of color.
Among those fatally shot on Saturday were Kelly Loving, a 40-year-old trans woman, and Daniel Aston, a 28-year-old trans man who bartended and frequently performed at Club Q.
Aston loved 1980s music and hats, his mother told Colorado Public Radio. She admitted that in the past, she was often worried about her son being targeting for being transgender.
“I always worried about it,” she said. “He’s a trans man and the trans community are really the biggest targets I can think about it right now.”
Although the investigation is in its early stages, Vasquez said it’s not lost on him that shooting took place in a LGBTQ nightclub and on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance. He added that those details will be taken seriously.
“I think there’s a lot of work to be done before we can come to that determination,” he said on whether the shooting was a hate crime. “But certainly it feels that way.”
Biden and lawmakers respond, condemning anti-LGBTQ hate crimes
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., expressed his devastation upon hearing news of the shooting in his state and called for more protection and support of the LGBTQ community.
“As we seek justice for this unimaginable act, we must do more to protect the LGBTQ community and stand firm against discrimination and hate in every form,” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
President Biden said in a statement: “There is no place for violence, hatred, and bigotry in America. Yet, tragically, as last night’s attack in Colorado Springs reminds us, too many LGBTQI+ people in the United States — and around the world — continue to face unconscionable attacks.”
Biden called for Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would ban discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill stalled in the Senate after passing the House in February 2021.
In June, Biden signed the first major gun safety law passed by Congress in nearly 30 years, a month after the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two adults. The legislation expanded background checks on people between the ages of 18 and 21 seeking to buy a gun and expanded an existing law that prevents people convicted of domestic abuse from owning a gun.
But he said more must be done.
“We need to enact an assault weapons ban to get weapons of war off America’s streets,” Biden said in a White House press release.