5 dead, 25 injured in mass shooting at Colorado Springs LGBTQ+ nightclub | Sri Lanka News


A 22-year-old gunman entered an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, just before midnight Saturday and immediately opened fire, killing at least five people and injuring 25 others, before patrons confronted and stopped him, police said Sunday.

The suspect in the shooting at Club Q was identified as Anderson Lee Aldrich, according to Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez. He used a long rifle in the shooting, and two firearms were found at the scene, Vasquez said.

At least two people inside the club confronted and fought the gunman and prevented further violence, Vasquez said. “We owe them a great debt of thanks,” he said.

Police said they were investigating whether the attack was a hate crime and noted Club Q’s relationship with the LGBTQ community.

“Club Q is a safe haven for our LGBTQ citizens,” Vasquez said. “Every citizen has a right to feel safe and secure in our city, to go about our beautiful city without fear of being harmed or treated poorly.”

In a statement on social media, Club Q said it was “devastated by the senseless attack on our community” and thanked “the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”

Club Q posted earlier in the day that its Saturday night lineup would feature a punk and alternative show at 9 p.m. followed by a dance party at 11. The club also planned to hold a drag brunch and a drag show on Sunday for Transgender Day of Remembrance. The club’s website now says it will be closed until further notice.

Gov. Jared Polis ordered flags lowered to half-staff at all public buildings statewide to honor the victims of the mass shooting beginning Monday until Saturday, according to a news release from his office.

“Flags will be lowered for 5 days to remember each of the 5 individuals who lost their lives in this senseless tragedy,” the release read. “To further honor and remember the victims and those injured in this tragedy, the Polis-Primavera administration will also be flying the Pride flag at the Colorado state capitol for the next five days.”

The shooting came as the calendar turned to Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday and is reminiscent of the 2016 attack at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in which a gunman who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State killed 49 people and wounded at least 53.

Colorado has been the site of some of the most heinous mass shootings in US history, including the 1999 shooting in Columbine High School and the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora. Colorado Springs was the site of mass shootings at a Planned Parenthood in November 2015 that left three dead and at a birthday party last year that left six dead.

According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 600 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, defined as an incident in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.

Joshua Thurman told CNN affiliate KOAA he was inside the club dancing when he heard gunshots and saw a muzzle flash.

“I thought it was the music, so I kept dancing,” he said. “Then I heard another set of shots, and then me and a customer ran to the dressing room, got on the ground and locked the doors and called the police immediately.”

Thurman said he heard the sounds of more gunshots, people crying and windows being shattered. When he came out, he saw bodies lying on the ground, broken glass and blood, he said.

The violence lasted just minutes. Police received numerous 911 calls starting at 11:56 p.m., officers were dispatched at 11:57 p.m., an officer arrived at midnight and the suspect was detained at 12:02 a.m., police said. A total of 39 patrol officers responded, police said, and Fire Department Captain Mike Smaldino said 11 ambulances went to the scene.

Authorities initially said 18 people were injured but later adjusted that total up to 25. Nineteen of the 25 injured had gunshot wounds, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told CNN’s Jim Acosta Sunday. Based on communication with medical personnel, Suthers said he expects the injured victims to survive and the community is “crossing our fingers” for no more fatalities.

The suspect is being treated at a hospital, police added. Officers did not shoot at him, police said.

Authorities arrest members of the White supremacist group Patriot Front near an Idaho Pride event on Saturday, June 11, 2022, after they were found packed into the back of a U-Haul truck with riot gear.

Joseph Sheldon told CNN affiliate KRDO he visited the club Saturday night to drop off a friend about 10 minutes before the gunman opened fire.

“This is a bar I’ve gone to multiple times in my life since I became the age of 18. A lot of these people at the bar are friends, they are family, a lot are people I’ve become close to,” he said.

“Whether it’s a hate crime or not, it’s hard to see that this is going on, that this happened in my community, that this happened at a place that I’ve gone to and felt safe, that this happened at a place where if I stayed 10 more minutes, I would have been right in the middle of it.”(CNN)

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