It was supposed to be another night of fun, love and joy at Club Q, a popular LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
For a $7 cover fee, Patrons can celebrate to DJ T Beatz songs, cheer on Del Lusional’s Drag Queen performance, dance with old friends, make new ones, celebrate birthdays and cherish the camaraderie and security that made Club Q feel like family.
The festivities were scheduled to last until 2 a.m. The next day, the club had a musical lunch planned on Transgender Day of Remembrance.
But the warmth that has made Club Q a safe haven for the LGBTQ community since it opened 20 years ago in this conservative corner of Colorado was cut short Saturday night after a shooter opened fire at the club, killing five people and wounding 18.
It shook society to its core. “It’s the only place we ever felt safe,” said Samantha Alcock, 25, who was a regular at the club when she lived in Colorado Springs.
A suspect has been arrested in connection with the mass shooting, and authorities are considering filing murder and bias charges against them.
Here’s what we know:
Just before midnight, someone wearing what witnesses described as body armor and carrying what appeared to be several firearms, including a long-range rifle, entered the Q Club, which was busy dancing, ordering drinks, celebrating birthdays, and enjoying a night out. .
The suspect started shooting as soon as he entered the club, Adrian Vasquez, Chief of the Colorado Springs Police Department, He said.
Several witnesses described how the confusion escalated into chaos and fear. Joshua Thurman told reporters he was on the dance floor when he first heard gunshots but mistook it for music. He said he did not remember hearing anyone screaming for help.
“But then I heard another set of shots ring out, and I turned to my left, and I saw a flash from the muzzle,” he said in an interview with NBC News.
Several patrons said they were on the dance floor or at the bar when they realized the club was under attack. Many headed to the yard. Others described falling to the ground or Hiding behind the bar He also fired shots at the club. Thurman said he and two others hid in a locker room behind the stage, where they slammed the doors, fell to the floor and turned off the lights.
Within just minutes of the suspected shooter entering the club, authorities said, two patrons — Richard Fierro and Thomas James — subdued the person.
Fierro, a US Army veteran, saw a flash and fell backwards, he said in an interview outside his home on Monday. Then he said he got into “fighting mode”.
He made his way to the suspect, who he described as large, pulled the suspect down by a handle on the back of his body armor and began “whaling him”. He ordered someone nearby to push the gun out of the suspect’s reach and the others to call 911. A A transgender woman kicked the suspect head with her heels
The initial call to 911 came at 11:56 p.m., said Lt. Pamela Castro, a Colorado Springs police spokesman. The first officer was dispatched within seconds, arriving at midnight. She said the suspect — identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich — was arrested two minutes later.
At least two firearms were found at the scene, Vasquez said He said. Authorities said the police are investigating who owned the weapons and whether they were obtained legally. Vasquez has been confirmed The suspect used a long gun during the shooting.
authorities I identified the five The people killed in the attack during a press conference on Monday, after family and friends confirmed the deaths of their loved ones with The Times and other outlets:
- Kelly Loving
- Daniel Aston
- Ashley Pugh
- Derek Ramp
- Raymond Green Vance
At least 18 people were injured in the shooting, down from the initial number of 25. All but one person had gunshot wounds.
A hospital spokesperson said ten patients are being treated at UCHealth Memorial Central. One person was discharged from hospital on Sunday. The spokesman declined to comment on the condition of the patients.
A hospital spokesman said three other patients were being treated at Penrose Hospital and were in stable condition.
What do we know about the suspect?
Authorities said Aldrich was in hospital. They refused to give details of their condition or say whether they had made any statement to the authorities.
The suspect is the grandson of outgoing California Rep. Randy Voebel (R Santi), an aide to the lawmaker told The Times on Monday. The aide said Voebel did not want to comment to The Times.
a Someone with the same name and age Aldrich was also involved in a June 2021 confrontation with El Paso County (Colorado) sheriff’s deputies responding to reports of a bomb threat at a suburban Colorado Springs home. Authorities found no explosives, and the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that prosecutors have not filed any charges against the person. Authorities have not confirmed that the two people look alike, citing Colorado law.
The Washington Post reported Public records show that Aldrich had legally completely changed his name as a teenager, and that, until the age of 15, he was known as Nicholas Brink, who lived in San Antonio.
What are the fees?
Prosecutors have not yet filed formal charges in the attack.
But court documents show Aldrich is being held on five counts of murder and five counts of biased felony causing bodily injury. Bias crimes are Colorado’s term for hate crimes, said Michael Allen, the attorney general for the 4th Judicial District of Colorado.
Aldrich identifies as non-binary and uses their pronouns, according to a court filing by their public defenders on Tuesday.
Records show they are scheduled to appear in court for the first time by videoconference on Wednesday morning.
Colorado Springs Police Department said Tweet Tuesday.
When asked if prosecutors were considering federal hate crime charges against the suspect, Cole Finnegan, the US Attorney for the District of Colorado, cited the ongoing investigation and said his office is working closely with Allen’s office and other local authorities, but he could not comment further. .
Allen said he expects the arrest warrant and probable cause affidavit to be released in the coming days.
Did the authorities identify the motive?
Detectives have not determined a motive for the shooting, Allen said, but the investigation is under evaluation for bias and murder charges.
Additional information is not expected to be released until next week, Colorado Springs Police Department He said Tuesday.