5 dead, 18 wounded in shooting at LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs

A gunman killed five people and wounded 18 others at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., police said.

Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez said Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, entered Club Q and immediately began shooting before at least “two heroic people” fought with him and stopped him.

“We owe them a great debt of thanks,” Vasquez said at a Sunday morning press conference, adding that authorities will determine if the shooting constitutes a hate crime as part of the investigation.

Vasquez added that investigators recovered two firearms from the scene, including a “long rifle” allegedly used by the suspect.

Colorado Springs Police Department Lt. Pamela Castro said authorities first received a call about an active shooter at Club Q at 11:56 p.m. Saturday, and responding officers detained the suspect by 12:02 a.m. Sunday.

“We are a strong community that has shown resilience in the face of hate and violence in the past, and we will do so again,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers (R) said at the press conference.

Injured clubgoers were sent to multiple local hospitals, officials said.

“Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community,” the club said in a statement. “Our [prayers] and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends. We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”

Last June, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said it responded to a report from Aldrich’s mother indicating he was allegedly threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition.

A statement from the sheriff’s office at the time indicates Aldrich allegedly refused to comply with orders to surrender and was booked on two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping, although police did not find any explosive devices.

The Gazette, a Colorado Springs-based newspaper, reported that no formal charges were pursued and the case has since been sealed. 

This weekend’s attack was quickly met with condemnation from prominent political figures, including President Biden, who referenced the 2016 massacre at Orlando’s LGBTQ Pulse nightclub that killed 49 people in one of the deadliest mass shootings in the U.S.

“Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence. Yet it happens far too often,” Biden said in a statement.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D), who in 2018 became the first openly gay man to be elected governor in the United States said his “heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured, and traumatized in this horrific shooting.”

“Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn,” he said.

“The attack on Club Q, which fell on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, is despicable — further shattering the sense of safety of LGBTQ Americans across the country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “While Democrats have taken important steps to combat gun violence this Congress, this deadly attack is a challenge to our conscience and a reminder that we must keep fighting to do more.”

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