What we know about the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs



CNN

A 22-year-old gunman killed five people and wounded 25 others before midnight Saturday at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, police said Sunday.

According to Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez, the suspect in the shooting at Club Q has been identified as Anderson Lee Aldrich.

Upon entering the club, Vasquez said they immediately opened fire before being confronted by at least two other men inside the club and fought him off, preventing further violence.

“We owe them a huge debt of gratitude,” he said.

Police said that the accused is being treated in a hospital. The officers did not fire at him, police said.

Colorado has seen some of the worst mass shootings in US history, including the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999. Six people were killed in a mass shooting at a birthday party in Colorado Springs last year.

Here’s what we know about the deadly attack in Colorado Springs:

The shooting ended minutes after the gunman opened fire, according to authorities.

Police said they received 911 calls from 11:56 p.m., officers were dispatched at 11:57 p.m., an officer arrived at midnight and the suspect was arrested at 12:02 p.m., police said. A total of 39 patrol officers responded, police said, and 11 ambulances went to the scene, Fire Department Capt. Mike Smaldino said.

Police Chief Vasquez said Aldrich used a long rifle in the shooting and two guns were found at the scene.

The gunman appeared heavily armed and wearing a military-style flak jacket as he arrived at the club, the club’s owner told The New York Times, citing his review of surveillance footage. One of the owners, Matthew Haynes, said the gunman entered with “tremendous firepower,” the Times reported.

Joshua Thurman was dancing inside the club when he heard gunshots and his muzzle flashed, CNN affiliate KOAA told CNN.

“I thought it was music, so I kept dancing,” she said. When he heard another round of shots, Thurman said he ran to the dressing room to hide.

He said he heard multiple gunshots, people crying and windows breaking. When he came outside, he saw bodies on the ground, broken glass and blood, Thurman said.

Authorities have credited at least two club patrons with confronting the shooter and stopping the violence. Haynes told the Times, “One customer took the gunman down and another helped.”

The first customer, Haynes said, “saved dozens and dozens of lives. Knocked the man out cold. Everyone else was running away, and he ran toward him.

Officials initially said 18 people were injured but later adjusted that to 25.

Nineteen of the 25 injured were gunshot wounds, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Sunday. Based on interactions with medical personnel, Suthers said he expects the injured victims to survive — and the community is “crossing our fingers” for any fatalities.

Police said they are investigating whether the attack was a hate crime, given Club Q’s ties to the LGBTQ community. The shooting comes as the calendar turns to the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday.

“Club Q is a safe haven for our LGBTQ citizens,” Vasquez said. “Every citizen has the right to feel safe and secure in our city, to visit our beautiful city without fear of harm or mistreatment.”

In a statement on social media, Club Q said it was “devastated by this senseless attack on our community” and “grateful for the quick responses of heroic customers who subdued the gunman and ended this hateful attack.”

Two law enforcement sources confirmed the suspected nightclub shooter’s date of birth and name matched the man arrested last year over a bomb threat, and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis told CNN he believed they were the same: “Everything I’ve heard points to the same person,” Polis said.

Anderson Lee Aldrich was arrested in June 2021 after a standoff at the Colorado Springs home where his mother lived, according to a news release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and his mother’s former landlord at the time.

Video obtained by CNN shows Aldrich surrendering to law enforcement after being charged with making a bomb threat last year. Footage from the homeowner’s ring door camera shows Aldrich exiting the home with his hands up, barefoot, and walking toward sheriff’s deputies.

Sheriff’s deputies said in a June release that Aldrich’s mother responded to a report that he was “threatening to harm himself with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition.”

Deputies called out to the suspect, and he “refused to comply with orders to surrender,” the press release said, prompting him to evacuate nearby homes.

Several hours after the initial police call, the sheriff’s crisis negotiation unit was able to get Aldrich to leave the home he was in and he was arrested after he exited the front door. No explosives were found in the house.

It was not immediately clear how the case was resolved. But the district attorney’s office said no formal charges were pursued in the case, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported. The district attorney’s office did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Aldrich called the Gazette to try to remove the story behind the 2021 incident from the website, the newspaper reported. “There is absolutely nothing there, the case is dropped, and I am asking you to remove or update the story,” Aldrich said in the voice message, according to the Gazette.

Attempts by CNN to reach Aldrich’s mother for comment were unsuccessful.

Club Q opened in 2002 and until recently was the only LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs.

With just under 500,000 residents, the city is the second most populous in the state and is home to several military bases. A conservative Christian group that says homosexuality and same-sex marriage are sins, it is headquartered in Focus on the Family.

In a July 2020 interview with the Colorado Springs Indy, Club Q owner Nick Grjeka said he and his business partner opened the club to secure a “permanent” location in the city.

The venue hosts events for people of all ages, including brunch, and has an upcoming Thanksgiving event planned.

Lifelong Colorado Springs resident Tiana Nicole Dykes called Club Q “a second home filled with a chosen family.”

“I’m there every week, if not every week. This space means the world to me. The energy, the people, the message. It’s an amazing place that doesn’t deserve this tragedy,” Dykes told CNN on Sunday. “Something like a mass shooting in an LGBT+ safe space hurts beyond belief. Disrespect, mistrust and just There are feelings of pure shock. No one thinks this will happen to them and sometimes it does.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat and the nation’s first openly gay governor, released a statement Sunday, calling the attack “horrific, sickening and devastating” and offering state resources to local law enforcement agencies.

“We are eternally grateful to the brave individuals who restrained the gunman, potentially saving lives in the process, and to the first responders who quickly responded to this horrific shooting,” he said. “Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone affected by this tragedy as we grieve together.”

Police told CNN’s Jim Acosta that there are only two gay bars in Colorado Springs, and Club Q is one of the main locations.

“Everyone knew. I knew, I knew this place. It’s just shocking. It’s still setting people up. But I know we will bounce back. We show each other love. The Governor said that we have healed each other.

Colorado’s two US senators, both Democrats, Condolences in statements And said more should be done for the LGBTQ community.

“We need to protect LGBTQ lives from this hate,” said Sen. John Hickenlooper said.

“As we seek justice for this unthinkable act, we must do more to protect the LGBTQ community and stand firm against discrimination and hate in all its forms,” ​​said Sen. Michael Bennett said.

President Joe Biden issued a statement saying he was praying for the victims and their families.

“While any motive for this attack is still unclear, we do know that the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to horrific hate violence in recent years. Gun violence is having a devastating and specific impact on LGBTQI+ communities across our nation, and threats of violence are on the rise,” Biden said in a written statement.



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