In a brazen attack a few minutes before 12:00 Midnight Saturday night a shooter entered a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub known as Club Q and began shooting with a long gun; killing five people and injuring at least 18 more. (UPDATE: As of late Sunday, November 20, police say that at least 25 people were injured.) He was subdued by two nightclub patrons. All four units of the Colorado Springs Police responded to the scene by 12:02 a.m. and they have credited the nightclub’s patrons as “heroic people” whose swift action prevented more casualties.
The suspect in custody has been identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, who it appears had a previous run-in with Colorado Springs police for threatening to bomb his mother’s house in 2021.
“This is horrific, sickening, and devastating,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis. “My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured and traumatized in this horrific shooting. I have spoken with Mayor Suthers and made it clear that every state resource is available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs. We are eternally grateful for the brave individuals who blocked the gunman, likely saving lives in the process and for the first responders who responded swiftly to this horrific shooting. Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn together.”
At least two firearms were found at the scene — but police confirmed that he used the long gun for the shooting. No motive has been identified, but police are looking into whether this could be a hate crime. Today is Transgender Remembrance Day, making the timing of the attack perhaps not an accident. If it is found to be a hate crime, this would mean not just state charges, but possible federal hate crime charges.
According to KRDO Television, police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation remain on the scene of the tragedy. While it is not yet known if this attack qualifies as a hate crime, Club Q is a gay and lesbian nightclub that features a “Drag Diva Drag Show” on Saturdays, according to its website. The shooting occurred in a year when anti-gay rhetoric has intensified from domestic extremists, politicians, and pundits.
In a statement, Club Q termed the shooting a hate attack:
“Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community,” the club posted on its Facebook page. It added that its prayers were with victims and families” “We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement:
“I’m devastated to hear about the shooting in Colorado Springs that cut five more lives tragically short. I’m thinking of their families and loved ones, and sending strength to those who were injured, the survivors, and Colorado’s 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.”
“Club Q is a safe haven for our LGBTQ citizens,” said Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez. “Every citizen has a right to feel safe and secure in our city, to go about our beautiful city without fear of being harmed or treated poorly.”
Colorado Springs is the home of several evangelical Christian organizations as well as leaders who have condemned the LGBTQ community.
Featured image: The FBI is on the scene of the Colorado Springs-Shooting at Club Q. AP Photo Thomas Peipert