Colorado Springs, Colorado. A 22-year-old gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle inside a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five and injuring 25 before being subdued by “heroic” patrons and police arriving within minutes. He was arrested, officials said on Sunday.
The suspect in Saturday night’s shooting at Club Q used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, law enforcement officials said. A handgun and additional ammunition depot were also recovered, according to a person familiar with the investigation, who could not discuss the details of the investigation publicly and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told The Associated Press that the attack ended when a patron grabbed a handgun from the suspect and punched him with it. said police were holding him down when they arrived.
“Had that individual not intervened, this could have been exponentially more tragic,” Suthers said.
On its Facebook page, the club called it a “hate attack.” Investigators are still identifying a motive and will decide whether to prosecute it as a hate crime, according to El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen. It is said that He said charges against the suspect would likely include first-degree murder.
Police identified the suspect as Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was being treated for injuries while in custody.
Aldrich was arrested in 2021 after his mother reported him. threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons, officials said. They declined to elaborate on the arrest. At the time, officials said no explosives were found, and the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that prosecutors had not filed charges and the record was sealed.
At least seven of the 25 injured were in critical condition, officials said. A police spokesman said it was not clear if all the victims had been shot, as some were injured while trying to escape.
Suthers said there is “reason to hope” that everyone in the hospital will recover.
Memories are revived by shooting The 2016 massacre at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. It killed 49 people. Colorado has witnessed multiple mass murders, including Columbine High School in 1999, a movie theater outside Denver in 2012, and a supermarket in Boulder last year.
It was the sixth genocide of the month and came in a year when the country was in turmoil. 21 dead in Uvalde, Texas school shooting.
Authorities called Club Q at 11:57 pm on Saturday and received a report of the shooting, with the co-pilot arriving at midnight.
Joshua Thurman said he was in a club with about 20 other people and dancing when the shot started. I thought it was part of the music until I told you.
Thurman, 34, said he ran with another person into the locker room where someone was already hiding. They locked the door, turned off the light, and went down to the floor, where they heard violence unfolding, including the gunman being beaten, he added.
“I could have lost my life—for what? What was the purpose?” he said through tears. “We were just having fun. ”
Police Chief Adrian Vazquez said investigators were also looking to see if anyone had helped Aldrich before the attack. He thanked the patrons who intervened during the attack for being “heroic” and preventing more deaths.
Club Q is a gay and lesbian nightclub that hosts drag shows on Saturdays, according to its website. According to Club Q’s Facebook page, planned entertainment includes a “punk and alternative show” before a birthday dance party, and an all-ages drug brunch on Sunday.
Suthers said the club had been operating for 21 years and had reported no threats before Saturday’s attack.
Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed on the shooting, and the FBI was assisting the police investigation.
To establish a hate crime accusation against Aldrich, prosecutors must prove that he was motivated by the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. So far, the suspect has been uncooperative in interviews with investigators and has yet to give clear insight into his motives for the attack, according to a person familiar with the matter.
President Joe Biden said it was not yet clear what the motives for the shooting were, but “we know the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to horrific hate violence in recent years.”
“A place that should be a safe haven of acceptance and celebration should not be turned into a place of fear and violence,” he said. “We cannot and must not tolerate hatred.”
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who in 2018 became the first openly gay man elected to office in the United States, called the shooting “disgusting.”
“My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who are missing, wounded and traumatized,” Police said. “Colorado mourns the LGTBQ community and everyone affected by this tragedy.”
A makeshift memorial was erected near the club on Sunday with flowers, stuffed animals, candles and a sign reading “Love over Hate” next to a rainbow heart.
Seth Stang was buying flowers for remembrance when he was told two of the dead were his friends. … I am tired of not having a safe place to live.”
Rian Johnson, who lives nearby and was there last month, said it’s one of two nightspots for the LGBTQ community in conservative-leaning Colorado Springs. “It’s the kind of place you can be proud to go to,” the 26-year-old said of the club, which hides behind other businesses such as bowling alleys and sandwich shops.
Located 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of Denver, Colorado Springs, with a population of approximately 480,000, is home to the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Olympic Training Center, and Focus on the Family. LGBTQ rights. The group condemned the shooting, saying it “exposes the evil and wickedness in the human mind”.
In November 2015, three people died and eight were injured at a Planned Parenthood clinic in the city. Authorities said gunmen targeted a clinic for performing abortions.
“Club Q is devastated by this senseless attack on our community,” the club posted on Facebook. “Thank you to our heroic customers for their quick response in subduing the gunman and ending this hate attack.”
Kevin Jennings of Lambda Legal, chief executive of the national LGBTQ rights group, called for tougher gun control.
“America’s toxic combination of prejudice and absurdly easy access to firearms has made such incidents all too common, LGBTQ+ people, BIPOC communities, Jewish communities, and other vulnerable populations. But that means our political leaders are paying the price again and again for their inaction,” he said in a statement.
the shooting happened during transgender awareness week and just at the beginning of sunday international transgender daywhen events are held around the world to mourn and commemorate transgender people lost to violence.
In June, 31 members of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front were arrested in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and charged with conspiring to riot at a pride event.Experts warned extremist groups could be seen Anti-gay rhetoric as a call to action.
The month before, a fundamentalist Idaho pastor told his small Boise congregation that gay, lesbian and transgender people should be executed by the government. The government is juxtaposed with similar sermons from a fundamentalist pastor in Texas.
Since 2006, as of November 19, there have been 523 mass murders and 2,727 deaths, according to the National Police Agency. Associated Press/USA Today Database on Mass Murder in the United States
Bedayn is a member of the Associated Press/Reports for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover hidden issues.
Associated Press reporters Colleen Slevin of Denver, Michael Balsamo of Washington, Jamie Stengl of Dallas, Jeff McMillan of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Matthew Brown of Billings, Montana contributed.
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