Police name suspect in ‘heartbreaking’ Colorado Springs shooting
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The FBI has joined an investigation in Colorado Springs after a gunman killed five people and injured 25 others after opening fire within moments upon entering a LGBT+ nightclub on Saturday night.
Police and the district attorney’s office have named 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich as a suspect. The suspect reportedly carried an AR-15-style rifle. Two firearms were recovered from the scene.
At least “two heroic people inside the club confronted and fought with the suspect” within minutes after he entered, according to chief Adrian Vasquez.
Police responded within minutes after several 911 calls from the scene just before midnight on Saturday, when the club hosted drag performances and a DJ the day before the club would commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance.
President Joe Biden urged members of Congress to reinstitute a ban on high-powered rifles like the AR-15-style weapon allegedly used in the attack. He also called on public officials to reject a “disturbing wave” of legislation designed to marginalise LGBT+ people as far-right activists and lawmakers continue to target drag events.
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Colorado Springs police to hold resource expo to help community grieve
The Colorado Springs Police Department will hold a resource expo “to provide our community members with support in navigating the variety of emotions surrounding this tragedy” in the wake of Saturday’s massacre.
The city will offer “mental health resources, spiritual support, emotional support animals, childcare, emergency financial resources, LGBTQ+ support, meals, and other services,” according to officials.
Uniformed officers will be present; the event will not be open to press or camera footage.
Alex Woodward21 November 2022 05:00
Who were the five people killed in the Colorado Springs shooting?
“I love the folks I’ve met at this bar. It’s crazy how much support and love I’ve received here… y’all saved my life.”
That is how Daniel Aston, a 28-year-old bartender at Club Q in Colorado Springs, described the well-known LGBT+ nightclub in a tweet in September.
Here is what we know so far about the five victims of the Colorado Springs shooting.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar21 November 2022 04:51
Pulse foundation issues statement responding to latest mass shooting involving LGBT+ people
The foundation created in the wake of the deadliest attack on LGBT+ people in US history is demanding an end to anti-LGBT+ violence.
onePULSE Foundation was founded to preserve the legacy of the 49 people massacred in a nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida in 2016.
“We are deeply saddened and horrified by the mass shooting at the Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs that killed five people and wounded 18 others,” the organisation said in a statement.
“Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the victims and their families, as well as the wounded and those affected by this tragedy,” the statement adds. “We are grateful to the brave patrons whose heroic actions undoubtedly saved lives and to the first responders who rushed to the scene. While details will emerge in the coming days, violence directed at members of the LGBTQIA+ community must come to an end.”
Alex Woodward21 November 2022 04:00
Nancy Pelosi reacts to mass shooting: ‘Despicable’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that “our hearts break at the senseless slaughter of least five beautiful souls and the many more injured or forever traumatized, at what was a sanctuary of safety and solidarity.”
“The attack on Club Q, which fell on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, is despicable — further shattering the sense of safety of LGBTQ Americans across the country,” she said.
The attack “is a challenge to our conscience and a reminder that we must keep fighting to do more,” she added.
Ms Pelosi thanked the “heroic” customers inside the club who stopped the suspect as well as the “brave first responders at the scene. “
“May it be a comfort to the loved ones of those murdered and the Colorado Springs community that all of America mourns with them during this devastating time,” she said.
Alex Woodward21 November 2022 03:07
‘I just chalked it up to young male aggression’
A Colorado Springs resident has given more details about her encounter with an “aggressive” Anderson Lee Aldrich.
Leslie Bowman, who says she rented out a spare room to Mr Aldrich’s mother Laura Voepel for 15 months in 2020-21, told The Denver Post that he had confronted her about a problem with the bathroom.
“He kind of got in my face and said ‘get out’ and slammed the door in my face,” Ms Bowman said. “I just chalked it up to young male aggression. It was late and everyone was grumpy. There were no incidents after that.”
Then, in June 2021, Mr Aldrich was arrested for allegedly making bomb threats against his mother, who texted Ms Bowman telling her not to come home.
Ms Bowman said that she packed Ms Voepel’s things the next day, and they were picked up by some men from her church. Later, she learned that the case against Mr Aldrich had been dropped.
“The police, investigators, the DA, no one contacted me after that weekend. “I hope [Ms Voepel] is OK. I’m sure we’ll find out soon.”
Io Dodds21 November 2022 02:40
Why did authorities drop bomb threat charges against Anderson Aldrich?
The Anderson Lee Aldrich who was arrested last year for making bomb threats was never formally charged with any crime, according to local media.
The Gazette, a Colorado Springs newspaper, updated its original story about the bomb threats today with this note: “No formal charges were pursued in this case, which has since been sealed, according to the district attorney’s office.”
In fact, the newspaper says Mr Aldrich himself phoned one of its editors in August and asked them to remove the story.
“There is absolutely nothing there, the case was dropped, and I’m asking you either remove or update the story,” Mr Aldrich reportedly said. “The entire case was dismissed.”
Authorities have not yet confirmed whether this is the same Mr Aldrich who is suspected of Saturday night’s massacre, but public records and evidence from social media suggest they are the same person.
Io Dodds21 November 2022 02:21
How ‘heroic’ witnesses stopped more violence inside Club Q
A group of “heroic customers” are being praised after confronting a gunman who killed five people and wounded numerous others in a shooting at an LGBT+ nightclub in Colorado Springs on Saturday and preventing further violence.
Alex Woodward21 November 2022 02:00
‘Does anyone know of a fantastic defence attorney?’
What can we learn from the Facebook page of Laura Voepel, a 45-year-old Colorado Springs resident who appears to be the mother of shooting suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich?
In a post from 2015, first spotted by Heavy, Ms Voepel posted that her son was “surfing cloud nine” after she bought him a ghillie suit – a type of military camouflage designed for snipers and scouts – for his 15th birthday. The date of the post matches the suspect’s age.
The post also tagged Pamela Pullen, a relative of Ms Voepel who mentioned celebrating a different birthday with “Anderson” in 2019.
A Facebook post made by the apparent mother of Anderson Lee Aldrich
(Laura Voepel via Facebook)
In May this year, Ms Voepel asked in a Colorado Springs women’s group: “Can anybody refer my son to a private boxing coach? He’s 6’6 tall and hits like a freigh train. Cannot find a good gym or anyone serious. He has made huge life changes and needs this!”
It’s not clear whether that post refers to Anderson, although the 2015 post did say he had already reached a height of 6’3.
A Facebook post by the apparent mother of Anderson Lee Aldrich
(Laura Voepel via Facebook)
Another post in February asked for recommendations for a “great trauma/PTSD therapist”, with Ms Voepel adding in a comment that it was for a 21-year-old.
Most tellingly, in the month after one Anderson Lee Aldrich was arrested for allegedly making bomb threats, Ms Voepel posted in the women’s group: “Hello sisters. Does anyone know of a fantastic defence attorney? I ask this with a heavy heart but my family really needs some help at this time.”
Io Dodds21 November 2022 01:59
Everything we know about the mass shooting in Colorado Springs
A gunman killed five people and injured 25 others during a mass shooting inside a LGBT+ nightclub in Colorado Springs on 19 November.
The attack has devastated Club Q, which has operated as safe haven for the city’s LGBT+ community since it opened 21 years ago.
Here is what we know so far as the investigation begins and the city mourns:
Alex Woodward21 November 2022 01:35
Rachel Levine issues statement on Transgender Day of Remembrance
Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, is one of only a few openly transgender government officials in the US and the first to hold an office that requires Senate confirmation.
In a statement on Sunday, she said that “Transgender Day of Remembrance is a solemn day to remember those we have lost as a result of transphobia. In this land of the free that so many advocates have fought and died for, we should all have the right to live our lives authentically.
“President Biden and the whole administration supports us, and supports an equitable future,” she added. “I call on you all to put aside your differences and stand for love and acceptance in honor of those we have lost to violence and hate.”
Alex Woodward21 November 2022 01:30