A gunman has killed five people and injured multiple others in a mass shooting at a LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, CNN reports. Colorado Springs Police Lt. Pamela Castro confirmed to CNN that police received multiple calls of a shooting at Club Q around 11:57 p.m. on Saturday night.
As of Monday, at least 25 Club Q patrons were treated for injuries sustained in the attack. A local reporter with Colorado’s PBS tweeted on Sunday night that she’d spoken to many LGBTQ+ residents of Colorado Springs that day, and because the list of victims has not been made public, many were fearful their loved ones were hurt in the shooting.
One of the five people killed was Daniel Aston, 28, a transgender man and bartender at Club Q who also performed there. “He was thriving and having fun and having friends. It’s just unbelievable,” Sabrina Aston, Daniel’s mother, told Colorado Public Radio on Sunday. “He had so much more life to give to us and to all his friends and to himself.”
As Them notes, the club was hosting a drag night on Saturday, with a drag brunch to follow on Sunday. The drag brunch was intended to celebrate Transgender Day of Remembrance. In the wake of the shooting, multiple outlets reported that local LGBTQ+ people in the area of Colorado Springs were already on high alert for homophobic and transphobic violence. Others told the media that prior to the shooting, Club Q was “the only place we felt safe.”
The shooter has been identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldritch. In 2021, Aldritch allegedly threatened his mother with a homemade bomb. Despite this, law enforcement did not attempt to trigger Colorado’s “red flag” law, which would have empowered them to remove the weapons and ammo he was thought to possess. As of Sunday, police had not shared a motive; Aldritch has been charged with murder and hate crimes.
Local and national advocates pointed to a rise in “hateful rhetoric directed toward transgender people and the broader LGBTQ community” as a possible contributing factor. On Sunday, advocates and others on social media pointed to the account Libs of TikTok, which on Sunday morning singled out a Colorado-based youth drag organization. Others criticized recently-reelected Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R), who tweeted about her “prayers” for the victims, despite her public track record of support for anti-LGBTQ and pro-gun policies and commentary.
Following the shooting, Club Q posted to its Facebook, writing, “Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community. Our [prayers] 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.”
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
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