A 22-year-old shooter was taken into custody after killing five people and leaving at least 25 more injured at an LGBTQ nightclub. Club Q featured a weekly drag show on Saturday nights in Colorado Springs. Seven victims were said to be in critical condition. At around 11:57 pm local time, police received numerous 911 calls, and responded immediately to the Club Q, Colorado Police Department Lt. Pamela Castro said at a news conference.
The alleged shooter, Anderson Lee Aldrich, was arrested shortly after officers arrived on the scene and is now receiving treatment at a local hospital.
The suspect is believed to have begun shooting with an AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon upon gaining access to the club but also was carrying a handgun. At least two brave patrons confronted the shooter and managed to bring him down, preventing further violence, Adrian Vasquez, Colorado Springs Police Chief, noted. One of the patrons grabbed a handgun from the suspect, hit him with it, and managed to pin him down until the police arrived, according to the Mayor of Colorado Springs, John Suthers.
“We owe the two patrons a great debt of thanks,” he said.
Authorities are still gathering information to determine whether the attack was a deliberate hate crime. The FBI was at the scene, helping with the investigation. A handgun and ammunition magazines were found at the crime scene.
The nightclub released a statement on Facebook noting that “We are devastated by these senseless attacks on our community. Our thoughts and prayers are still with the victims, their families and friends. And we would wish to thank the heroic customers for their quick reaction to subdue the gunman.”
In a statement about the incident, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis termed the incident as “horrific, sickening, and devastating.”
Aldrich had a criminal history, having been arrested in 2021 for reportedly threatening his mother with a homemade bomb although no explosives were found and charges were dropped.
The gunfire incident came on the eve of marking Transgender Day Remembrance, an annual event that takes place every November 20th to celebrate the transgender people who have died due to transgender violence.
In recent years, Colorado has witnessed a series of mass shootings. In 2021 alone, a shooter killed 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, while in 2012, one shooter opened fire in a movie theater in Aurora, killing 12 people and injuring at least 70.
President Joe Biden released a statement in response to the tragedy acknowledging the unfair hate treatment the LGBTQ community has received in the recent past, with gun violence continuing to cause devastating effects in the community.
“Places that should be like safe havens of acceptance and celebrations should not be turned into violence and terror places. We must drive out the inequities that lead to violence against the LGBTQ community. We cannot and must not tolerate hate. Today, Jill and I are praying for the families who have lost their loved ones during this horrific act and those injured,” Biden said.