A gunman has killed at least five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The New York Times reported the Colorado Springs Police Department received a call for an active shooting at Club Q at 11:57 p.m. MT on Saturday (1:57 a.m. ET on Sunday.)
At least 18 people were injured. A spokesperson for the Colorado Springs Police Department said the suspected gunman is in custody and is in a local hospital. Officials have identified him as Anderson Lee Aldrich.
Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez told reporters the suspected gunman began shooting once he entered the club. Vasquez, according to KOAA, a Colorado Springs television station, said at least two customers subdued the shooter before officers arrived.
Club Q’s Facebook page notes a drag show began less than three hours before the shooting.
“Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community,” said Club Q on its Facebook page.
A gunman on June 12, 2016, killed 49 people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
Police in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in June arrested more than 30 members of a neo-Nazi group who sought to disrupt a Pride event. Drag queen story hours and other LGBTQ events have been disrupted in recent months.
Saturday’s shooting coincides with the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“While no motive in this attack is yet clear, we know that the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to horrific hate violence in recent years. Gun violence continues to have a devastating and particular impact on LGBTQI+ communities across our nation and threats of violence are increasing. We saw it six years ago in Orlando, when our nation suffered the deadliest attack affecting the LGBTQI+ community in American history. We continue to see it in the epidemic of violence and murder against transgender women — especially transgender women of color. And tragically, we saw it last night in this devastating attack by a gunman wielding a long rifle at an LGBTQI+ nightclub in Colorado Springs,” said President Joe Biden in a press release the White House released.
“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. We must drive out the inequities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people. We cannot and must not tolerate hate,” added Biden. “Today, yet another community in America has been torn apart by gun violence. More families left with an empty chair at the table and hole in their lives that cannot be filled. When will we decide we’ve had enough? We must address the public health epidemic of gun violence in all of its forms. Earlier this year, I signed the most significant gun safety law in nearly three decades, in addition to taking other historic actions. But we must do more. We need to enact an assault weapons ban to get weapons of war off America’s streets.”
Other lawmakers and activists also condemned the shooting.
“Devastating news in Colorado Springs where 23 people were shot at an LGBTQ club overnight, according to police,” tweeted openly gay Illinois Congressman-elect Eric Sorensen. “As we pray for those fighting for life, we must use loud voices to stand up against hate. Our country must turn down the hateful rhetoric aimed at our LGBTQ community.”
Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline, who chairs the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, in a statement said he is “horrified and devastated by the news out of Colorado Springs this morning.”
“LGBTQ+ clubs are often a place of refuge and affirmation for our community, yet once again what should have been a safe space became the target of a violent and deadly attack. My heart is with the victims of this horrific shooting, their family and friends, Club Q’s staff and patrons, and the entire LGBTQ+ community in Colorado Springs and around the country,” said Cicilline. “As we mark Transgender Day of Remembrance today, we are further reminded that deadly violence against members of our community is sadly not new. We know the toxic combination of hate and access to guns in this country leads to deadly results. We must honor the lives lost in this shooting and all LGBTQ+ lives lost due to violence with action — action to address the twin epidemics of hate and gun violence in this country.”
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who is openly gay, and incoming Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson are among those who have also condemned the shooting.
“This is horrific, sickening and devastating,” said Polis in a statement his office released. “My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured, and traumatized in this horrific shooting. I have spoken with Mayor Suthers and made it clear that every state resource is available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs. We are eternally grateful for the brave individuals who blocked the gunman likely saving lives in the process and for the first responders who responded swiftly to this horrific shooting. Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn together.”
“We are absolutely heartbroken by last night’s deadly shooting at an LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs. We know anti-LGBTQ+ hate is on the rise and gun violence impacts our community at devastating rates. We are also observing Transgender Day of Remembrance today and over the last 10 years two-thirds of the more than 300 fatalities we’ve tracked involved gun violence,” said Robinson in her statement. “We must rise against hate in the strongest possible terms, we must stand together in solidarity and love with our LGBTQ+ family in Colorado Springs and demand an end to this epidemic of gun violence. From Pulse to Colorado Springs to so many other lives stolen from us — this has occurred for far too long. HRC mourns the lives taken at Club Q last night and extends our deepest strength, love and condolences to the loved ones impacted.”
U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) called the attack as “an unspeakable act” and said it was “horrendous” to learn what happened.
“We have to protect LGBTQ lives from this hate,” wrote Hickenlooper, who is also the former governor of Colorado and a strong LGBTQ+ community ally.
Orlando (Fla.) Mayor Buddy Dyer tweeted his support to the city of Colorado Springs.
Appearing on “The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart,” Equality Florida Press Secretary Brandon Wolf, who survived the Pulse massacre, spoke about the Club Q shooting and the increase of anti-LGBTQ violence.
“This is a community that’s been traumatized, we’ve been demeaned, we’ve been dehumanized … We’ve been begging for people to take this rhetoric seriously,” said Wolf.
Equality Florida in a statement responded to the shooting.
“Today, we awakened to the all too familiar horror: another hate motivated mass shooting targeting a community that has been vilified and dehumanized by hateful political rhetoric. It is no coincidence that yet another community refuge, and the safety it provides, has been shattered amidst a political climate supercharged with anti-LGBTQ hate by powerful leaders and right wing extremists. Thanksgiving tables will have empty chairs this week. Holidays will have missing faces. These are the costs of hate violence — costs we know all too well,” said Equality Florida. “Our hearts go out to all those impacted and we will work with our local partners to ensure the community receives the care it needs and that we honor those stolen from us with action.”