On Sunday, November 20, a man entered a gay nightclub called Club Q in Colorado Springs and started shooting. The incident left five dead and multiple others injured.
According to Adrian Vasquez, the Colorado Springs Police Chief who spoke at a conference about the incident, the suspect of the shooting is 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich. Aldrich was being treated for injuries after a few patrons from the club overpowered him after he started shooting.
Reports stated that the gunman opened fire on the occupants of the club as soon as he entered the establishment but “at least two” brave occupants confronted and subdued him, after which the police were called to the scene just mere minutes after the initial shooting.
Police say the gunman employed the use of a long rifle to commit the crime, but another weapon was also found at the scene. Five people died during the attack and a total of 25 were injured, while seven were found in critical condition. It was also mentioned that the numbers are subject to change from the initial count but that witness identities will be kept under wraps.
Authorities have yet to establish a motive and are investigating thoroughly before labeling the shooting as a hate crime. Michael Allen, El Paso County District Attorney mentioned, however, that Aldrich will most likely be charged with first-degree murder. The FBI is said to be assisting with the investigation, but the police are taking point.
The mass shooting occurred during Transgender Awareness Week and on the day of the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is a day when transgender individuals who lost their lives to violence are mourned all over the world.
Speaking on the horrendous crime, President Biden voiced that to stop gun violence, elected officials should implement a ban on assault weapons. He noted, “Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence. Yet it happens far too often.” Continuing, he declared that as a people, hate should not be condoned as normal, that unfairness that leads to violence against LGBTQ+ people should be abolished.
The gay and lesbian night club, Club Q, hosts a drag show on Sundays, and an “All Ages Musical Drag Brunch” was a part of a planned entertainment, scheduled to start at noon. Anti-LGBTQ protests have begun to focus more on the effect of drag shows and some politicians even claim that the gay community is using events such as these to groom children.
In a statement released to the public, Club Q made it clear that they view the incident to be hate-crime related and posted on its official Facebook page, “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.” The post also highlighted the efforts of the two customers whose brave actions led to the attacker being subdued quickly.
Kevin Jennings of Lambda Legal (CEO of a national LGBTQ-rights organization), after hearing Biden’s plea for tighter gun restrictions, said, “America’s toxic mix of bigotry and absurdly easy access to firearms means that such events are all too common and LGBTQ+ people, BIPOC communities, the Jewish community and other vulnerable populations pay the price again and again for our political leadership’s failure to act.” He calls for members of the community to unite and insist upon consequential changes before they are faced with another tragedy such as this one.
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