Gunman kills 5 at gay nightclub, subdued by patrons

Colorado Springs: A 22-year-old gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub Colorado SpringsOfficials said on Sunday that five people had died and 18 were injured before he was subdued by “heroic” patrons and arrested by police, who were on the scene within minutes.
Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said two firearms, including a “long rifle,” were recovered at Club Q following the shooting on Saturday night.
The El Paso County district attorney said investigators were still determining a motive, and the assault was being investigated to see if it should be prosecuted as a hate crime. Michael Allen,
The charges against the suspect “will likely include first-degree murder,” he said.
Police identified the gunman as Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was in custody and receiving treatment for injuries.
According to authorities, a man of the same name and age was arrested in 2021 after his mother reported that he threatened to give her “a homemade bomb, several arms and ammunition”.
Police did not confirm whether it was the same person, saying they were investigating whether the suspect had been arrested previously.
Officers were called to Club Q at 11:57 pm on Saturday night with reports of shots fired and the first officers arrived at midnight.
“At least two heroic people” confronted the gunman and stopped the shooting, Vasquez said, adding, “We owe them a huge debt of thanks.”
Officials said some of the 18 injured were in critical condition and at least two were treated and released.
The shooting evoked memories of the 2016 massacre at Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 dead.
And it happened in a state that has experienced several infamous mass killings, including at Columbine High School in 1999, a movie theater in suburban Denver in 2012, and a Boulder supermarket last year.
It was the sixth mass killing this month and the first in a year after a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, rocked the nation, killing 21 people.
Club Q is a gay and lesbian nightclub According to its website, it features a “Drag Diva Drag Show” on Saturdays.
In addition to the drag show, Club Q’s Facebook page said planned entertainment includes a “punk and alternative show” preceded by a birthday dance party with an “all-ages brunch” on Sunday.
Drag events have become a focus of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and protests in recent months, as opponents including politicians have proposed banning children from such events and falsely claiming they are used to “groom” children. He is going.
Justice Department spokesman Anthony Collie said Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed about the firing.
The FBI said it was assisting but said the police department is leading the investigation.
President Joe Biden said that while the motive for the shootings was not yet clear, “we know that the LGBTQI+ community has been the victim of horrific hate violence in recent years.”
“Places that are supposed to be safe places of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence. Yet it happens too often,” he said.
“We must address the inequalities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people. We can’t tolerate hate and we shouldn’t.”
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who became the first openly gay person to be elected governor in the United States in 2018, called the shooting “sickening”.
“My heart breaks for the families and friends of those lost, injured and traumatized by this horrific shooting. I have spoken with Mayor (John) Suthers and clarified that every state resource is available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs,” Polis said.
“Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone affected by this tragedy as we mourn.”
A makeshift memorial was set up near the club on Sunday, with flowers, a stuffed animal and candles in front of a cardboard sign next to a rainbow-coloured heart reading “Love Over Hate”.
Ryan JohnsonJoe who lives near Club Q and moved there last month said it was one of only two nightly venues for the LGBTQ community in conservative-leaning Colorado Springs.
“It’s got to go for pride,” the 26-year-old said, describing it as a medium-sized club.
When he returned home in the early hours of Sunday, he found police cars crowding the streets.
“It just sounds crazy, you hear about it and you don’t think it will happen and then it does,” Johnson said.
“You come to Colorado and feel safer than other parts of the country and then this happens.”
Although a motive was not yet clear, nor was the gender identity of the victims, the incident has been fueled by extremists’ anti-gay rhetoric. Club Q in a statement called the shooting a hate attack.
“Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community,” the club posted on its Facebook page. It said its prayers were with the victims and families, adding: “We thank the quick responses of heroic customers who subdued the gunman and brought an end to this despicable attack.”
Kevin Jennings of Lambda Legal, CEO of a national LGBTQ-rights organization, responded with a petition calling for tighter restrictions on guns.
“America’s toxic mix of bigotry and absurdly easy access to firearms means that incidents like this are all too common and LGBTQ+ people, BIPOC communities, Jewish communities and other vulnerable populations have been blamed time and again for the failure of our political leadership to act.” The bar pays the price,” he said in a statement.
“We must stand together to demand meaningful action before another tragedy befalls our country.”
The shooting happened during Transgender Awareness Week and hours before Sunday’s International Transgender Day of Remembrance, when events are held to mourn and remember transgender people around the world.
The Colorado Springs shooting was sure to bring special resonance to those events.
Colorado Springs is a city of approximately 480,000 located approximately 112 kilometers south of Denver that is home to the US Air Force Academy, as well as Focus on the Family, a prominent evangelical Christian ministry.
In November 2015, three people were killed and eight wounded at a Planned Parenthood clinic in the city when authorities say a gunman targeted the clinic because it performed abortions.
In June, 31 members of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front were arrested in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and charged with conspiracy to riot a Pride event. Experts warned that extremist groups could see anti-gay rhetoric as a call to action.
Last month, a fundamentalist Idaho pastor told his small Boise congregation that gay, lesbian and transgender people should be executed by the government, which lined up with similar teachings from a Texas fundamentalist pastor.
According to The Associated Press/USA Today database on mass killings in the US, there have been 523 mass killings since 2006, resulting in 2,727 deaths as of November 19.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *