Policy

Police enter the Q Club in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Sunday morning, November 20, 2022, continuing their investigation into Saturday’s shooting that left several people dead and many others injured. Christian Murdock/The Gazette via AP

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (AP) — A 22-year-old gunman opened fire at a Colorado Springs gay nightclub, killing five people and leaving 25 injured before he was overpowered by “heroic” patrons and arrested by police who arrived within minutes – authorities said on Sunday.

Two firearms, including a “long shotgun”, were found in the Q club after Saturday’s shooting, police chief Adrian Vasquez said.

The club called it a “hate att*ck” on its Facebook page. Investigators are still determining the motive and whether to prosecute it as a hate crime, El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen said. Charges against the suspect “will likely include first-degree m*rder,” he said.

Police identified the gunman as Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was in custody and was being treated for his injuries.

A man by that name was arrested in 2021 after his mother reported threatening her with a homemade b*mb and other weapons, authorities said. They declined to give details of the arrest. No explosives were found, according to authorities at the time, and The Gazette in Colorado Springs reported that prosecutors had not filed any charges and that the files had been classified.

Authorities were called to Club Q at 11:57 p.m. Saturday with a report of the shooting, and the first officer arrived at midnight.

Joshua Thurman said he was at the club with about 20 other people dancing when the shots started. At first he thought it was part of the music until he heard another shot and said he saw the muzzle of a gun flash.

Thurman, 34, said he ran with another person to a dressing room where someone was already hiding. They closed the door, turned off the lights, and climbed onto the floor, but could hear the violence unfolding, including the beating of a gunman, he added.

“I could have lost my life – for what? What was the goal? he said as tears rolled down his cheeks. “We just had fun. We didn’t hurt anyone. We were in our space, our community, our home, having fun like everyone else.”

Vasquez said the gunman was confronted by “at least two heroic men” who fought and subdued the suspect.

“We owe them a great debt of gratitude,” he added. Detectives were also checking to see if anyone had been helping Aldrich prior to the att*ck, Vasquez said.

Authorities said at least seven of the 25 injured were in critical condition. Some were injured trying to escape and it is not clear if all of the victims were shot, a police spokesman said.

The shooting brought back memories of the 2016 massacre at the Pulse gay club in Orlando, Florida, in which 49 people were killed. Colorado has experienced several mass killings, including at Columbine High School in 1999, a movie theater in suburban Denver in 2012, and a Boulder supermarket last year.

It was the sixth mass killing this month and comes in a year that saw the country shaken by the d*aths of 21 people in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Club Q is a gay and lesbian nightclub that hosts drag shows on Saturdays, according to its website. Club Q’s Facebook page said the planned entertainment included a “punk and alternative show” leading up to a birthday dance party with an “all ages brunch” on Sunday.

Drug events have recently become the subject of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and protests, as opponents, including politicians, have proposed barring children from them, falsely claiming they are used to “hairing” children.

Attorney General Merrick Garland was made aware of the shooting, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said. The FBI said it was helping, but said the police were investigating.

President Joe Biden said that while the motive for the shooting is not yet clear, “we know that the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to appalling hate violence in recent years.”

“Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never turn into places of terror and violence. But that happens way too often,” he said. “We must eliminate inequalities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people. We cannot and must not tolerate hatred.”

Colorado Governor Jared Polis, who became the first openly gay man in the United States to be elected governor in 2018, called the shooting “abhorrent.”

“My heart breaks for the family and friends of those who are missing, injured and traumatized,” said Polis. “Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone affected by this tragedy as we mourn.”

On Sunday, a makeshift statue sprang up near the club with flowers, a stuffed animal and candles and the words “Love Over Hate” next to a rainbow heart.

Ryan Johnson, who lives near the club and was there last month, said it was one of only two nightlife venues for the LGBTQ community in conservative Colorado Springs.

“It’s something to be proud of,” said the 26-year-old of the club, which is tucked away behind other businesses including a bowling alley and a sandwich shop.

Colorado Springs, a city of approximately 480,000 people 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of Denver, is home to the United States Air Force Academy as well as Focus on the Family, a prominent Christian evangelical ministry.

In November 2015, three people were killed and eight injured at a Planned Parenthood clinic in the city when authorities say a gunman att*cked the clinic because it was performing ab*rtions.

“Club Q is devastated by the senseless att*ck on our community,” the club wrote on Facebook. “Thank you for the quick responses of heroic customers who subdued the bandit and ended this hate att*ck.”

The CEO of the national LGBTQ rights organization, Kevin Jennings of Lambda Legal, has called for tougher gun restrictions.

“America’s toxic mix of bigotry and ridiculously easy access to firearms means that such events are all too common, and LGBTQ+ people, BIPOC communities, the Jewish community and other vulnerable populations are paying the price again and again for our political leadership’s inaction.” – He said. he said in a statement.

The shooting happened during Transgender Awareness Week and hours before Sunday’s International Transgender Day of Remembrance, when events are held around the world to mourn and remember transgender people who have lost their lives to violence.

In June, 31 members of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front were arrested in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and charged with conspiracy to cause a riot at a Pride event. Experts warn that extremist groups may see anti-gay rhetoric as a call to action.

Last month, a fundamentalist pastor in Idaho told his small congregation in Boise that gay, lesbian and transgender people should be executed by the government, coinciding with similar sermons by a fundamentalist pastor in Texas.

According to The Associated Press/USA Today’s US Mass Killing Database, there have been 523 mass killings and 2,727 d*aths since 2006 as of November 19

Bedayn is a corps member of The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nationwide non-profit program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on classified cases.

Associated Press reporters Colleen Slevin in Denver, Michael Balsamo in Washington, Jamie Stengle in Dallas, Jeff McMillan in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Matthew Brown in Billings, Montana contributed to the story.

var consent=”grant”;
/* The above code is parsing the JSON data from the local storage and storing it in a variable. */
const onetrustStorageConsent = JSON.parse(localStorage.getItem( ‘consent_one_trust_bdc’ ) );
if ( ( onetrustStorageConsent !== null ) ) {
/* Checking to see if the user has consented to the use of cookies.
* If they have not, it is deleting the cookie.
* This will comment for now, until further notice.
*/
//if ( onetrustStorageConsent.C0002 === false ) {
// document.cookie=”_fbp=;expires=Thu, 01 Jan 2010 00:00:00 UTC; path=/; domain=.boston.com”;
//}
/* Checking if the user has given consent for the cookie C0002.
* If the user has given consent, the variable consent will be set to ‘grant’.
* If the user has not given consent,the variable consent will be set to ‘revoke’.
* Documentation
*/
if ( onetrustStorageConsent.C0002 !== true ) {
consent=”revoke”;
}
}
!function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s)
{if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function(){n.callMethod?
n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)};
if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version=’2.0′;
n.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0;
t.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0];
s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window, document,’script’,

fbq(‘consent’, consent);
fbq(‘init’, ‘989222871864976’);
fbq(‘track’, ‘PageView’);

var consent=”grant”;
/* The above code is parsing the JSON data from the local storage and storing it in a variable. */

const onetrustStorageConsent = JSON.parse(localStorage.getItem( ‘consent_one_trust_bdc’ ) );
/* Checking to see if the user has consented to the use of cookies.
* If they have not, it is deleting the cookie.
* This will comment for now, until further notice.
*/
//if ( onetrustStorageConsent.C0002 === false ) {
// document.cookie=”_fbp=;expires=Thu, 01 Jan 2010 00:00:00 UTC; path=/; domain=.boston.com”;
//}
/* Checking if the user has given consent for the cookie C0002.
* If the user has given consent, the variable consent will be set to ‘grant’.
* If the user has not given consent,the variable consent will be set to ‘revoke’.
* Documentation
*/
if ( ( onetrustStorageConsent !== null ) && (onetrustStorageConsent.C0002 !== true ) ) {
consent=”revoke”;
}

!function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s){if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function()
{n.callMethod? n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)}
;if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;
n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version=’2.0′;n.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0;
t.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window,
document,’script’,’
fbq(‘consent’, consent);
fbq(‘init’, ‘813236348753005’);
fbq(‘track’, “PageView”);

#gunman #kills #people #Colorado #gay #club #beaten #customers

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *