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Patrons at the Homosexual Bar Where the Shooting Occurred Hit the Attacker with His Own Weapon
In Colorado Springs, when gunfire tore through a gay nightclub, killing five people and injuring dozens more, one of the revelers sprang into action, snatching the suspect’s revolver, striking him with it, and holding him down until police arrived minutes later.
In the shooting at Club Q on Saturday night, at least two patrons are credited by the police and the city with halting the shooter and preventing more casualties. The LGBTQ community in the conservatively inclined city’s beloved entertainment venue was pierced by the violence, which shattered its comfortable surroundings.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told The Associated Press, “Had that person not intervened, this could have been exponentially more catastrophic.” On NBC’s “Today,” the mayor added, “It’s a wonderful act of heroism.”
Police identified the alleged shooter as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was being held under arrest and receiving medical attention for his wounds. A handgun and other ammo magazines were found in addition to the semiautomatic rifle the suspect allegedly used in the attack, according to a law enforcement officer. The official talked to The Associated Press under the condition of anonymity because they were not to publicly discuss inquiry specifics.
“While Club Q and its community have a long road of healing ahead, I can say with absolute certainty that violent extremists will never snuff out queer spaces in Colorado Springs or anywhere else.” – Kathleen Hallgren, @Everytown https://t.co/GcRJaVHr6o
— Moms Demand Action (@MomsDemand) November 26, 2022
On its Facebook page, Club Q expressed gratitude for the “heroic patrons’ rapid efforts that brought down the shooter and put an end to this hate crime.” El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen said that investigators were still figuring out the incident’s motivation and whether to charge the suspect with a hate crime. He predicted that the culprit will be accused of first-degree murder.
Already in 2021, when Aldrich was detained after his mother claimed he threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons, questions were being raised about why officials didn’t try to take Aldrich’s weaponry away from him.
Gun control supporters question why police didn’t attempt to activate Colorado’s “red flag” law, which would have authorized authorities to seize the firearms his mother claims he had, even if officials at the time said no explosives were discovered. Additionally, there is no evidence in the public domain that prosecutors ever pursued criminal kidnapping and menacing charges against Aldrich.
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The district attorney would make papers in court on Monday to permit law officers to talk more about any criminal background “that this man might have had,” the mayor said on “Today.” Authorities reported that at least seven of the 25 people hurt at Club Q were in critical condition. According to a police spokesperson, it was unclear whether all of them had been shot, and others had been harmed while attempting to flee. Suthers told the AP that there was “reason to hope” that every patient will make a full recovery.
The incident brought back memories of the 49-person murder that took place at the Pulse LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016. Colorado has had a number of mass killings, including those that occurred at Columbine High School in 1999, a movie theatre in a Denver suburb in 2012, and a supermarket in Boulder in 2017.
It was the sixth mass murder of the month and the 21 people killed in the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting last year, which shocked the country. On Saturday at 11:57 p.m., authorities received a call reporting a shooting at Club Q. The first officer arrived at midnight.
Joshua Thurman claimed that when the gunfire started, he was dancing in the club with approximately a dozen other people. Up until he heard another shot and claimed to have seen the light of a gun muzzle, he initially believed it to be a musical element.
Thurman, 34, claimed that he and a companion fled to a changing room where a person was already hiding. He continued, “They could hear the carnage occurring, with the gunman being subdued, even though they had shut the door, turned out the lights, and gotten on the floor.
“Over what? I could have lost my life. He asked, wiping away his tears, “What was the point? “We were simply having fun. We had no intention of hurting anyone. We were having fun as everyone else does in our own environment, neighborhood, and house.
According to Police Chief Adrian Vasquez, investigators were looking into whether anyone had assisted the suspect before the incident. Customers who stepped in during the attack, according to him, were “heroic” and stopped additional deaths.
According to its website, the gay and lesbian nightclub Club Q hosts a drag show every Saturday. According to the Facebook page for Club Q, there would be a “punk and alternative event” before a birthday dance party and an all-ages drag brunch on Sunday.
Recent anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and demonstrations have focused on drag events because opponents, including politicians, have suggested removing kids from them on the false pretense that drag events “groom” kids. Prosecutors would need to demonstrate Aldrich was motivated by the victim’s real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in order to support a hate crime accusation against him.
According to the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the suspect has not been forthcoming during conversations with detectives and has not yet provided them with clear insight into his motivation. Suthers stated on “Today” that the incident “has all the hallmarks of a hate crime, but we need to look at social media and all other sorts of evidence before we reach any conclusive findings about a purpose.”
Although the reason for the shootings is yet unclear, President Joe Biden stated that “we know that the LGBTQI+ community has been victim to horrendous hate attacks in recent years.”
He remarked, “Sites that are supposed to be safe havens of joy and acceptance should never be transformed into places of dread and bloodshed. We must not and cannot tolerate hatred. Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado, who was elected as the nation’s first openly homosexual governor in 2018, referred to the massacre as “sickening.”
According to Polis, “my heart hurts for the family and friends of those who were killed, hurt, or traumatized.” An impromptu tribute with flowers, a teddy animal, candles, and a banner that read “Love over hate” next to a rainbow-colored heart appeared near the club on Sunday.
Seth Stang learned that two of the deceased were his friends as he was purchasing flowers for the memorial. The transgender male, 34, described it as feeling like “a pail of hot water being dropped on you. I’m just sick of there being nowhere left for us to live in safety.
According to Ryan Johnson, who frequents the club and lives nearby, it is one of just two gay-friendly bars in Colorado Springs. The club, according to the 26-year-old, “is kind of the go-to for Pride.” The U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Olympic Training Center, and Focus on the Family, a well-known evangelical Christian organization that campaigns against LGBTQ rights are all located in Colorado Springs, a city of about 480,000 people located about 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of Denver.
According to the group, the shooting “exposes the darkness and immorality inside the human heart.” They also condemned the act. Authorities claim that a gunman targeted a Planned Parenthood facility in the city in November 2015 because it provided abortions, leaving three people dead and eight injured.
The incident occurred during Transgender Awareness Week and right before Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday, when activities are done all across the world to mourn and commemorate transgender people who have died as a result of violence. The Associated Press/USA Today database on mass killings in the U.S. shows that as of Nov. 19, there have been 523 mass killings and 2,727 deaths.