What we know about the Colorado Springs LGBTQ club shooting

It should have been another night of fun, love, and joy at Club Q, a popular LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo.

For a $7 cover charge, regulars could party to tunes by DJ T Beatz, cheer on a performance by a Del Lusional drag queen, dance with old friends, make new ones, celebrate birthdays, and cherish the camaraderie and security that made Club Q feel like family.

The festivities would last until 2 a.m. The next day, the club had a musical drag brunch scheduled for Transgender Day of Remembrance.

But the warmth that made Club Q a safe haven for the LGBTQ community since it opened 20 years ago in this conservative corner of Colorado was cut short Saturday night after a gunman opened fire at the club, killing five people and 18 others were injured.

And it has shaken the community to its core. “It’s the only place we felt safe,” says Samantha Alcock, 25, who was a regular at the club when she lived in Colorado Springs.

A suspect has been arrested in connection with the mass shooting and authorities are considering murder and bias charges against him.

Here’s what we know:

What happened?

Just before midnight, a man dressed in what witnesses described as body armor and carrying what appeared to be several firearms, including a long-range rifle, entered Club Q, which was bustling with people dancing, ordering drinks, celebrating birthdays and enjoy a night out. .

The suspect began shooting immediately after entering the club, Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez, said.

Several witnesses described how the confusion escalated into chaos and fear. Joshua Thurman told reporters he was on the dance floor when he first heard gunshots, but mistook it for music. He couldn’t remember hearing anyone scream for help, he said.

“But then I heard another burst of shots, and I turned to the left and I saw the muzzle flash,” he said in an interview with NBC News.

Many customers said they were on the dance floor or at the bar when they realized the club was under attack. Many went to the terrace. Others described falling to the ground or hidden behind the bar as bullets shot through the club. Thurman said he and two others hid in a performer’s dressing room behind the stage, where they locked the doors, fell to the floor and turned off the lights.

Within just minutes of the suspected gunman entering the club, two patrons – Richard Fierro and Thomas James – subdued him, authorities said.

Richard Fierro gestures during a news conference outside his home on Monday about his attempts to subdue a gunman during Saturday’s shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colo.

(Jack Dempsey/Associated Press)

Fierro, a US Army veteran, saw a flash and fell backwards, he said in an interview outside his home on Monday. Then he went into “combat mode,” he said.

He made his way to the suspect, whom he described as tall, pulled him down by a handle on the back of his body armor and began “hunting him.” He instructed someone nearby to push the gun out of reach of the suspect and for others to call 911 transgender woman kicked in the man’s head with her heels.

The first 911 call came in at 11:56 p.m., said Lieutenant Pamela Castro, a spokesman for the Colorado Springs Police Department. The first officer was dispatched within seconds and arrived at midnight. The suspect — identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich — was apprehended two minutes later, she said.

At least two firearms were found at the scene, Vasquez said. Police are investigating who owns the guns and whether they were acquired legally, authorities said. Vasquez confirmed the suspect used a long rifle during the shooting.

Two men posted a memorial with five photos of the five victims of the Colorado-Springs mass shooting

Noah Reich, left, and David Maldonado, the co-founders of Los Angeles-based Classroom of Compassion, posted a memorial with photos of the five victims of a mass shooting at a nearby gay nightclub on Tuesday, November 22, 2022. Colorado Springs, Colorado.

(David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

Who was killed?

authorities identified the five people killed in the attack at a press conference Monday, after family and friends confirmed the death of their loved ones to The Times and other media outlets:

  • Kelly lovingly
  • Daniel Aston
  • Ashley Paug
  • Derrick Romp
  • Raymond Green Vance

At least 18 other people were injured in the shooting, down from an initial count of 25. All but one suffered gunshot wounds.

Ten patients are being treated at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, a spokesman said. One person was released from hospital on Sunday. The spokesman declined to comment on the status of the patients.

Three other patients are being treated at Penrose Hospital and were in stable condition, a spokesman said.

What do we know about the suspect?

Aldrich is in hospital, authorities said. They declined to give details of his condition or say whether he has made a statement to authorities.

He is the grandson of outgoing California councilman Randy Voepel (R-Santee), an aide to the legislature, told The Times on Monday. Vopel declined to comment to The Times, the aide said.

A man with the same name and age as Aldrich was involved in a June 2021 standoff with El Paso (Colo.) County sheriff’s deputies responding to reports of a bomb threat at a home in suburban Colorado Springs. Authorities found no explosives, and the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that prosecutors had not pressed charges against the man. Authorities have not confirmed that the two men are the same, citing Colorado law.

That reports the Washington Post that public records show that Aldrich legally changed his full name when he was a teenager, and that until he was fifteen he was known as Nicholas Brink, who lived in San Antonio.

What are the costs?

Prosecutors have not yet filed formal charges against the attack.

But court documents show that Aldrich is being held on suspicion of five counts of murder and five crimes involving prejudice that caused bodily harm. Prejudicial crimes are Colorado’s term for hate crimes, said Michael Allen, the district attorney for Colorado’s 4th Judicial District.

When asked if prosecutors are considering federal hate crime charges against the suspect, Cole Finegan, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, cited the ongoing investigation and said his office was working closely with Allen’s office and other local authorities, but that he could not comment further. .

Allen said he expects the warrant and likely affidavit to be unsealed in the coming days.

A man kneels at a makeshift memorial with flowers

A man kneels at a makeshift memorial near the site of a mass shooting at an LGBTQ bar in Colorado Springs, Colo, on Monday.

(Jack Dempsey/Associated Press)

Have authorities identified a motive?

Investigators have not found a motive for the shooting, but the investigation is being evaluated for bias and murder charges, Allen said.

Additional information is not expected to be released until next week, the Colorado Springs Police Department said said Tuesday.

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