Steph Deschamps / November 21, 2022
A 22-year-old man “entered” an LGBTQ nightclub “and immediately began shooting”, killing at least five people, before being subdued by “heroic” patrons, on Saturday night in Colorado Springs, USA. Eighteen people were injured in the shooting, which occurred shortly before midnight, police said, and some of the injured were in critical condition.
The establishment, which goes by the name “Club Q,” on Sunday thanked on Facebook “the heroic patrons who subdued the shooter and stopped this heinous attack.”
At least two firearms were found at the scene. “I can confirm that the suspect used a rifle,” said Colorado Springs City Police Deputy Chief Adrian Vasquez.
He “entered the box and immediately began shooting,” he said at a news conference. Authorities identified the suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was arrested and transported to a hospital. Vasquez said “at least two heroic people in the club confronted him and fought with the suspect. They were able to stop him from continuing to kill and injure.
Joshua Thurman, who was in the nightclub, said there were “bodies on the floor. There was shattered glass, broken cups, people crying.” “It was terrifying,” he told reporters Sunday. “This was supposed to be our refuge (…) where are we supposed to go?”. The Colorado Springs resident was “on the dance floor when he heard the shots” and had managed to take cover in the locker room.
A first-time visitor to “Club Q” that night, Aeron Laney, 24, described a small nightclub “where everyone was having a good time, smiling and laughing.”
“I can’t understand how someone could walk in and see people so happy and so comfortable in their community, and want to end that,” she told AFP in tears.
She and her friend Justin Godwin had left the scene minutes before the shooter emerged. “Maybe he was already there? In the parking lot…planning this,” the 25-year-old quipped. “It’s terrifying.”
The injured were transported to various hospitals in the central Colorado state. The management of the nightclub also said it was “shocked by this senseless attack on our community.” Michael Anderson, who worked at the bar, “can’t stop thinking about the images of the night, the bodies, the blood, the broken glass, the carnage and the debris, and watching a safe haven turn into a war zone,” he said on CBS. “We must not tolerate hate,” reacted President Joe Biden from Washington, while Colorado Governor Jared Polis, the first openly gay governor elected in the United States, said he was “horrified and devastated.”
Club Q had announced an LGBT event on Saturday, a party “with all kinds of gender identities and numbers” on Transgender Day of Remembrance, celebrated internationally on November 20. Authorities gave no indication of a possible motive for the attack attributed to Anderson Lee Aldrich.
A 21-year-old man with the same name threatened his mother last year with a pipe bomb and several weapons in a town 30 minutes’ drive from Colorado Springs, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, which includes the city, reported.