Five people have been killed and at least 25 others injured at Club Q, an LGBTQIA+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, when an attacker opened fire inside the club.
The suspected hate crime happened just before midnight on Saturday, November 19, in the East Colorado Springs area shortly after a drag show took place at the club.
Police were called at 11:57PM on Saturday night, according to Colorado Mayor John Suthers, and were on the scene just three minutes later.
Suspect 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich was arrested and put in police custody. The gunman was reportedly subdued by two “heroic” clubgoers, who confronted and fought with the attacker.
Describing the interception as an “incredible act of heroism”, Mayor Suthers said: “This incident was over by 12:02, and that’s largely because of the intervention of at least one, possibly two, very heroic individuals who subdued this guy.”
According to Mayor Suthers, both individuals appeared to have “taken his handgun and used it to disable him”, but did not shoot, rather “hit him with the gun and disable him”.
“But for that, as tragic as this incident is, it could have been much, much worse but for these heroic actors,” he said.
Both Mayor Suthers and the governor of Colorado praised the patrons, as well as Club Q’s owner, Nic Grzecka, and local authorities. Grzecka argued that “dozens and dozens of lives” had likely been saved thanks to the “heroic” act.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said in a news conference of the two clubgoers: “We owe them a great debt of thanks”.
The attack came on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance in honour of those who have been murdered in hate crimes as a result of transphobia.
Club Q has now issued a statement on social media, stating: “Club Q is in shock, and deep mourning, with the family and friends who had loved ones senselessly taken from them”. Read the full statement below.
An investigation is now underway, as well as an investigation into the suspected attacker, Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was previously brought to police attention when he threatened his mother with a homemade bomb in 2021.
His mother allegedly called the police when he threatened to harm her with “a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition”. Questions are now being asked about his motivations.
On Sunday, November 20, Colorado locals gathered to remember those lost. The LGBTQIA+ community argued that they no longer feel safe in Colorado. “This space is really the only place in Colorado Springs that the LGBTQ+ community can get together and be ourselves,” Cole Danielson told CNN.
“Our safety as queer people in Colorado Springs is now questioned. I’m scared to be myself as a trans man in this community,” he said.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins