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Colorado nightclub shooting: 5 dead, 18 injured

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A 22-year-old gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring 18 before he was subdued by “heroic” patrons and arrested by police who arrived several hours later. minutes. authorities said Sunday.

Two firearms, including a “long rifle,” were recovered from Club Q after the shooting Saturday night, Police Chief Adrian Vazquez said.

El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen said investigators are still looking into a motive and the attack is being investigated to see if it rises to the level of a hate crime.

Police identified the gunman as Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was in custody and being treated for his injuries. A man with the same name and age was arrested in 2021 after his mother reported he threatened her with a “homemade bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition,” according to authorities.

Police would not confirm whether it was the same man, saying they were investigating whether the suspect had been arrested before.

Authorities were called to the Q Club at 11:57 p.m. Saturday with a report of a shooting, and the first officer arrived at midnight.

Vasquez said “at least two heroic people” confronted the gunman and stopped the shooting, adding: “We owe them a lot.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland has been notified of the shooting, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said. The FBI said it was assisting, but said the investigation was being handled by the police department.

The violence marked the sixth mass killing this month in a year that has left the country reeling from the deaths of 21 people in a school shooting in Uwald, Texas.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who became the first openly gay United States governor-elect in 2018, said the news was “terrifying.”

“My heart goes out to the families and friends of those killed, wounded and injured in this horrific shooting. I spoke with Mayor (John) Suthers and clarified that all state resources are available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs,” Polis said. “Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and all those affected by this tragedy as we grieve.”

Although the motive was not yet clear, as was the gender of the victims, the incident came amid increased anti-gay rhetoric from extremists. In a statement, Club Q called the shooting a hate attack.

“The Q Club is devastated by the senseless attack on our community,” the club wrote on its Facebook page. He said his prayers were with the victims and families, adding: “We are thankful for the quick response of the heroic customers who subdued the gunman and stopped this hate-motivated attack.”

The shooting occurred during Transgender Awareness Week and hours before Sunday’s International Transgender Day of Remembrance, when events are held around the world to remember transgender people who have died as a result of violence. The shooting in Colorado Springs certainly gave those events a special resonance.

Club Q is a gay and lesbian nightclub that hosts a “Drag Diva Drag Show” on Saturdays, according to its website. In addition to the drag show, Club Q’s Facebook page said planned entertainment includes a “punk and alternative show” before a birthday dance party with a Sunday “brunch for all ages.”

Colorado Springs is a city of about 480,000 people located about 70 miles south of Denver and home to the US Air Force Academy and the well-known evangelical Christian ministry, Focus on the Family.

In November 2015, three people were killed and eight wounded at a Planned Parenthood clinic in the city when authorities said a man opened fire because he wanted to wage a “war” against the clinic for providing abortions.

The shooting brought to mind the massacre at Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016, which left 49 dead. And it happened in a state that has seen several high-profile massacres, including at Columbine High School in 1999, at a movie theater in suburban Denver in 2012 and at a Boulder supermarket last year.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on Twitter that he was “sickened and horrified” by the shooting, adding, “The LGBTQ+ community has once again been the target of the most horrific violence. And such devastating attacks will become more common unless we fight back. It has to stop.”

Rep.-elect Eric Sorensen, who is Illinois’ first openly gay congressman, tweeted that “we must use loud voices to stand up to hate. Our country must reject the hateful rhetoric directed against our LGBTQ community.”

In June, 31 members of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front were arrested in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and charged with conspiring to riot during a Pride parade. Experts warn that extremist groups may see anti-gay rhetoric as a call to action.

Last month, a fundamentalist pastor from Idaho told his small congregation in Boise that gays, lesbians and transgender people should be put to death by the government, echoing similar sermons by a fundamentalist pastor from Texas.

According to the Associated Press/USA Today database of mass murders in the United States, there have been 523 mass murders since 2006, resulting in 2,727 deaths as of Nov. 19.


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