At least five people were killed, and 25 others were hurt after a shooter opened fire inside an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs late on Saturday, according to authorities. The shooter was eventually subdued by “heroic” clubgoers. Authorities declared on Sunday that they were looking into whether the incident had a hate-related motive.
Police named the suspect 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich and claimed he owned a “long rifle.” Shortly after the gunfire started, he was taken into police custody and, according to authorities, received medical attention for his wounds. It was just before midnight that the first report of the shooting was received, according to the police, and it took just a few minutes for law enforcement to act quickly for at least two heroic bystanders to step in and stop the shooting.
According to the club owners, who claimed they didn’t know the man, the gunman burst in carrying a rifle, a flak jacket with military-style detailing, and what seemed to be six magazines of ammo, as reported by the New York Times. According to Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez, the venue contained several firearms, including a rifle.
When telling reporters that he was dancing in the club when he first heard gunfire, one customer, Joshua Thurman, choked up. He went to a dressing room, shut himself in with others, and prayed for his life and his loved ones.
All of it was heard, Thurman claimed. “More gunshots were heard. We overheard the attacker getting beaten up by the person who tackled him. We could hear the police entering. We overheard them screaming at him. They said, “Take some people because they’re critical,” which we overheard.”
Authorities reported that several of the injured received treatment at nearby hospitals and were in critical condition. In a statement posted to Facebook, Club Q referred to the incident as a “hate assault” and thanked the “amazing customers” for bringing the shooter to justice.
Since some threats and violent attacks have been made against LGBTQ persons and events in recent months, anxiety has increased among many LGBTQ communities in the United States. President Joe Biden said in a statement that Americans must not put up with hate.
The statement Biden was that “locations that are supposed to be safe spaces of inclusion and celebration should never be transformed into locations of horror and violence.” Jared Polis, the governor of Colorado and the nation’s first openly homosexual politician, referred to the massacre as a “senseless act of evil.”
In a video appearance during a vigil held at a nearby church, Polis remarked, “I feel that same pit in my stomach that so many of you do today, a feeling sadly all too familiar.” Despite not formally confirming it, a city of Colorado Springs spokesperson stated investigators were aware of a 2021 bomb threat involving a person sharing the suspect’s name and birthdate.
Colorado has a sordid history of mass killings, which includes the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, a 2012 shooting spree inside a movie theatre in a Denver suburb, and a 2017 attack on a grocery that left ten people dead. On Sunday, while Colorado Springs resident Mark Travis, a retired police chaplain, played “Taps” on his bugle, mourners placed flowers outside the club.
Travis praised the club, saying, “We could enter and forget about work and everything else and feel like it was a home.” He claimed that the gunshot had destroyed his feeling of security. “It’s considerably worse than being the victim of a break-in. Even in your own house, you’re not secure.”