COLORADO SPRINGS – Just before midnight on Saturday night, a gunman opened fire in a 2SLGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs. Five people were killed, and at least 19 were injured before patrons of Club Q were able to stop him.
The shooter was identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, and was arrested after reportedly being restrained by patrons of the nightclub. Officials say that the police response was quick and heavy. Colorado Springs police report getting multiple 911 calls at 11:56, and Aldrich was arrested at 12:02 AM. Police say Aldrich used an AR-15-style semi-automatic weapon to carry out the mass shooting. He was also found to be in the possession of both a handgun and additional ammunition.
The nightclub is closed until further notice and has issued a statement about the attack.
“Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community. Our pray[er]s 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,” Club Q posted to their social media accounts.
An investigation into the motivation behind the attack is ongoing. Online, people are considering connections between the date of the attack, and the motives behind it. The club was set to host a drag bunch and drag show to honour Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is recognized on November 20th, the day after the attack.
Many people are drawing parallels between this attack, and the 2016 massacre at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Miami, which saw 49 people murdered and over 50 injured.
According to the Gun Violence Archives, so far this year the United States has experienced 604 mass shootings. This is up from 269 in 2014.
Queer Community Reacts to Club Q Massacre
Online many people who identify as members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community have spoken out about the tragedy, calling for reforms to gun laws, as well as more widespread acceptance of all people.
“The killing at Club Q is sickening. This is exactly what LGBTQIA+ groups across the country have been warning us about. This is what hateful targeted rhetoric inspires. This is what calling LGBTQIA+ people “sinners” and “groomers” and refusing to teach acceptance in our schools,” one person posted online, adding that Americans need to condemn hate in all forms.
“Mass shootings will continue in schools, grocery stores, gay nightclubs, churches, concerts, movie theatres, parades, anywhere and everywhere and most politicians won’t do anything more than think and pray. I hope those who lost their lives at Club Q rest in rage and peace,” activist, author, and academic Roxane Gay posted to Twitter.
“Last night’s shooting was senseless and preventable and there isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said a hundred times,” Gay continued.
While many people who claim to work at Club Q have also spoken out on social media.
“I never thought this would happen to me and my bar. I don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t stop hearing the shots,” wrote one person.
“There was a mass shooting at my job tonight. I am alive. Please pray for my community,” posted another.
Politicians React to Club Q Massacre
In response to the tragedy, Colorado Governor Jared Polis has ordered that the flags on all public buildings across the state are lowered to half-staff until November 26th. The flags will be lowered for five days to remember each of the lives lost.
Meanwhile, federal officials have also spoken out against the attack.
“Jill and I are praying for the families of the five people killed in Colorado Springs, and for those injured in this senseless attack. While no motive in this attack is yet clear, we know that gun violence has a particular impact on LGBTQI+ communities across our nation,” tweeted U.S. President Joe Biden.
“We must address the public health epidemic of gun violence in all forms. I signed the most significant gun safety law in nearly three decades, but we must do more. And we must drive out the inequities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people. We cannot tolerate hate,” Biden continued.
“Americans awoke this morning to horrific news: a brutal attack on an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. Our hearts break at the senseless slaughter of [at] least five beautiful souls and the many more injured or forever traumatized, at what was a sanctuary of safety and solidarity,” posted Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Speak of the House, who also added that more needs to be done to address gun violence in the United States.
The News You Can Use team will continue to follow this story as the investigation unfolds.