Police respond as at least five killed in shooting at gay nightclub in Colorado Springs
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The FBI has joined an investigation in Coloroda Springs after a gunman killed five people and injuring 18 others after opening fire within moments upon entering a LGBT+ nightclub.
Police and the district attorney’s office have named 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich as a suspect.
At least “two heroic people inside the club confronted and fought with the suspect” within minutes after he entered, according to deputy chief Adrian Vasquez, speaking at a news briefing on Sunday.
Police responded within minutes after several 911 calls from the scene just before midnight on Saturday.
In 2016, a gunman killed 49 people at gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, before he was shot dead by police. The mass shooting was the deadliest attack against LGBT+ people in US history.
Mass shooting follows wave of abuse and harassment at drag events across US
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Joe Biden responds to mass shooting: ‘We cannot and must not tolerate hate’
President Joe Biden has issued a statement condemning the attack inside a LGBT+ nightclub in Colorado that killed five people and injured 18 others.
“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,” he said in a statement issued by the White House on Sunday.
He added: “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.”
The president said that 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,” he added. “We must drive out the inequities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people. We cannot and must not tolerate hate.
“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.”
The president mentioned signing gun reform legislation earlier this year, but in his statement he renewed his call for Congress to enact a ban on high-powered firearms like AR-15s
“We need to enact an assault weapons ban to get weapons of war off America’s streets,” he said.
Alex Woodward20 November 2022 17:40
Two ‘heroic’ people stopped gunman moments after suspect entered the club
Club Q and law enforcement officials said that people inside the club stopped the gunman before police arrived on the scene.
The 22-year-old suspect in the Colorado Springs attack allegedly “immediately” began firing a long rifle when he entered the LGBT+ nightclub.
At least two “heroic people inside the club confronted and fought with the suspect,” according to deputy chief Adrian Vasquez, speaking at a press conference on Sunday morning.
“Their actions clearly saved lives,” added Mayor John Suthers.
In a post on Facebook, Club Q wrote: “We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”
Alex Woodward20 November 2022 17:30
Mass shooting at LGBT+ club follows wave of harassment and threats to drag performers and venues
A 22-year-old gunman who allegedly opened fire inside a LGBT+ club that hosts drag performances follows a wave of politcised harassment aimed at drag performers and the venues that host them.
Law enforcement officials have not yet discussed or revealed a motive in the attack at Club Q.
Republican lawmakers in several states have introduced legislation to bar minors from drag shows, falsely linking them to sex acts and suggesting that child services should intervene.
Meanwhile, far-right activist groups and groups like the nationalist Proud Boys gang – fuelled by transphobia, homophobia and misogyny – have protested and outside popular drag queen story hours at libraries.
Right-wing personalities with influential social media channels, like Libs of Tik Tok, have also repeatedly targeted LGBT+ people and communities – including in a post aimed at Colorado drag performers within hours after Saturday night’s shooting.
Earlier this week, officials in Texas introduced several bills targeting transgender people and drag performances, including a bill that would classify any business that hosts drag shows as a “sexually oriented businesses,” defining a performer as anyone whose gender identity is different than the performer’s gender assigned at birth.
Critics have warned that the bill essentially criminalises transgender people for existing in public.
Alejandra Caraballo, a clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic and a former staff attorney at the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, said that the bill would define drag as “essentially any trans person performing at all.”
“A trans actor in a musical singing would suddenly make it ‘drag’ and thus result in the play venue being labeled a ‘sexually oriented business,’” she wrote earlier this week.
“You can draw a straight line from the false and vile rhetoric about LGBTQ people spread by extremists and amplified across social media, to the nearly 300 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this year, to the dozens of attacks on our community like this one,” GLAAD’s president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement on Sunday morning.
“That this mass shooting took place on the eve of on Transgender Day of Remembrance, when we honor the memory of the trans people killed the prior year, deepens the trauma and tragedy for all in the LGBTQ community,” she added.
Alex Woodward20 November 2022 17:15
Congressional LGBT+ Equality Caucus chair responds to mass shooting
Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline, chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, 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,” he said in a statement on Sunday. “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.”
The shooting ocurred hours before Transgender Day of Rembrance, a day to be “reminded that deadly violence against members of our community is sadly not new,” Mr Cicilline said.
“We know the toxic combination of hate and access to guns in this country leads to deadly results,” he added. “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.”
Alex Woodward20 November 2022 16:30
Victim who was shot seven times ran to nearby store to get help, witness says
“One of the victims had gotten shot seven times and ran over here … trying to get some help,” he said. “He collapsed. That’s why that caution tape is out in the front there.”
Alex Woodward20 November 2022 16:11
Suspect appears to have been involved with bomb threat against mother in 2021
A person with the same name and who fits the description the suspect in the Colorado Springs shooting was arrested by El Paso County sheriff’s deputies last year, after the suspect’s mother told police that he was “threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition.”
Deputies “contacted the suspect by phone and he refused to comply with orders to surrender.”
Four hours after the bomb threat was initially reported, a Crisis Negotiations Unit convinced him to leave the house.
“He walked out the front door of the home and was apprehended,” according to the sheriff’s office.
Alex Woodward20 November 2022 16:03
Senator Michael Bennet: ‘We must do more to protect the LGBTQ community’
Colorado Democratic Senator Michael Bennet said he is “devastated” by news of the mass shooting in Colorado Springs that killed five people and injured 18 others.
“I’m thinking of their families and loved ones, and sending strength to those who were injured, the survivors, and Colorado’s LGBTQ community,” he said on Twitter.
“As we seek justice for this unimaginable act, we must do more to protect the LGBTQ community and stand firm against discrimination and hate in every form.”
Alex Woodward20 November 2022 15:41
Two people remain in critical condition
Doctors from two hospitals have reported that two victims from the mass shooting at Club Q remain in critical condition. Several people have been discharged.
Officials also said that not all the victims may have been shot. Some may have been injured while fleeing the attack.
Alex Woodward20 November 2022 15:37
Colorado Springs police identify suspect in mass shooting
While police are “actively processing” the scene at Club Q, police have identified the suspect, who was subdued by people inside the club after he “immediately began shooting” when he entered the club.
“At least two heroic people inside the club confronted and fought with the suspect,” Chief Adrian Vasquez said.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was named as a suspect.
He allegedly used a long rifle to commit the attack.
Alex Woodward20 November 2022 15:21
Chief Adrian Vasquez condemns ‘senseless and evil shooting’
Colorado Springs Police Department chief Adrian Vasquez said during an 8am press conference on Sunday that the department is “working tirelessly” to investigate the mass shooting that killed five people and injured 18 others.
He condemned the “senseless and evil shooting” inside Club Q, “a safe haven for our LGBTQ citizens.”
Residents should be able “to go about our beautiful city without fear of being harmed or treated poorly,” he said. “I am so terribly saddened and heartbroken.”
Alex Woodward20 November 2022 15:16