Around 11:56 p.m. on Saturday, police officers received several 911 calls after a gunman opened fire inside Club Q – an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. The shooting only lasted five minutes, but it left 5 people dead and 25 injured. Officers arrived at midnight and had the suspect in custody by 12:02 a.m..
Within minutes, the nightclub went from party to tragedy as 39 police officers responded to the scene – as well as 11 ambulances to care for the wounded and fallen. At first, authorities counted 18 injured, but the number was upgraded to 25 the following day – some of whom suffered gunshot wounds in the attack.
The suspect was identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich and while authorities are unsure if this is a hate crime, it’s important to note that the shooting happened as the calendar turned to Transgender Day of Remembrance – an annual observance to memorialize those murdered as a result of transphobia.
If it weren’t for at least two of the patrons, the shooting might’ve lasted much longer than five minutes. Shortly after the gunman opened fire, several patrons took it upon themselves to confront and fight the shooter – preventing any further injuries or fatalities. The patrons are rightfully being praised as heroes.
“Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community. Our prays and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends. We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack,” the nightclub said on its Facebook a few hours after the incident.
In the hours after the shooting, the Colorado Springs community shared their sentiments toward the tragic event. The nightclub was viewed as a ‘safe space’ for the LGBTQ community for the past two decades – hosting a flurry of celebrations, events, brunches, drag performances, parties, charity drives, and more.
In fact, the club was preparing to host a drag brunch and drag show on Sunday to celebrate Transgender Day of Remembrance. Unfortunately, the club is now closed until further notice and the Colorado Springs community is left mourning the loss of their loved ones – while the LGBTQ community is living in fear.
This Isn’t the First Time an LGBTQ Nightclub Was Targeted
The recent mass shooting at Club Q follows a horrific trend of mass shootings over the past 12 months. According to the Gun Violence Archive, the United States has witnessed more than 600 mass shootings – shootings with at least four people dead – since the start of 2022.
It takes us back to 2016 when a gunman opened fire in an LGBTQ nightclub called Pulse in Orlando, Florida. The shooter was identified as Omar Mateen and he pledged his allegiance to Islam. 49 people were killed in the shooting and another 53 were injured – 104 total people were affected. It was absolute chaos.
Unfortunately, Colorado Springs has been the home of some of the most horrific shootings in recent history – the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, the 2012 shooting at a movie theatre in Aurora, and the 2015 Planned Parenthood shooting. There was also a shooting at a birthday party earlier this year.
“Flags will be lowered for 5 days to remember each of the 5 individuals who lost their lives in this senseless tragedy. To further honor and remember the victims and those injured in this tragedy, the Polis-Primavera administration will also be flying the Pride flag at the Colorado state capitol for the next five days,” said Governor Jared Polls in a statement.
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