Colorado Police have identified a suspect in the tragic shooting at Club Q.
Content warning: This story may include topics that could make some readers feel uncomfortable.
On 19 November, a gunman entered the LGBTQ+ nightclub at 11:57 pm and opened fire on the establishment’s patrons.
The devastating attack, which occurred minutes before Transgender Day of Remembrance, resulted in five innocent people killed and 18 individuals wounded.
“We had a shooting at a local club this evening. Numerous officers and medical immediately responded to the area, and officers immediately made entry. They did locate one individual who we believe to be the suspect inside,” said Colorado Springs Police Lt Pamela Castro at the time.
On 20 November, Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez gave further information about the ongoing investigation and revealed the shooting suspect to be 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich.
“We are actively processing the scene at Club Q. Initial evidence and interviews indicate the suspect entered Club Q and immediately began shooting at people inside as he moved further into the club,” he said during a press conference (per CBS News).
Chief Vasquez went on to reveal that “at least two heroic” individuals inside Club Q confronted and detained Aldrich before he could hurt anyone else in the building.
“We owe them a great debt of thanks,” he added.
The Colorado Springs police chief also stated that at least two firearms were found on the premises before stating that Aldrich used a “long rifle” during the senseless shooting.
“Detectives are actively looking to identify if there were any other individuals who assisted the suspect. The motive of the crime is part of the investigation and whether this was a hate crime is part of that investigation,” he continued.
The Colorado Healing Fund has been activated in response to the Club Q tragedy. Donations go directly to victims and their families to provide support across a broad range of short-term and long-term needs. https://t.co/470utJZVly
— GLAAD (@glaad) November 20, 2022
Before the shooting occurred, the club was hosting a “punk and alternative” drag show called “Delusions,” led by local drag queen Del Lusional.
In an additional report from KRDO News, witness Joshua Thurman opened up about the attack and his initial reaction to the first round of gunshots.
“As I was dancing on the dance floor, I heard shots fired. I thought it was the music because there were no screams, there was no ‘help, help’ nothing like that,” he told the news outlet between tears.
He went on to say that he found shelter in a dressing room with another customer, and Del Lusional before he heard more gunshots and the assailant being tackled.
Over the last few hours, tributes for the victims have started to roll in from community members, political officials and LGBTQ+ organisations.
Human Rights Campaign’s incoming President, Kelly Robinson, said: “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.”
Colorado’s openly gay Governor, Jared Polis, also condemned the attack in a heartfelt statement.
“This is horrific, sickening and devastating. My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured and traumatised in this terrible shooting,” he wrote via Twitter.
“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.”