Colorado officials have publicly identified the five people tragically killed in a mass shooting at Club Q this weekend.
Content warning: This story may include topics that could make some readers feel uncomfortable.
The LGBTQ+ venue was hosting an event for Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual moment for trans people and their allies to honour and remember trans people who have died in the last year.
Two of the deceased victims were staff at the club.
Daniel Davis Ashton, 28, was a bartender who had worked at Club Q for two years.
“I love your collection of goofy ass hats. I love your laugh and your sense of humor and how your eyes crinkle up when you smile. I love our insiders. I love you so much. I would have told you all of this but we never really get that kind of heads up. I really fucking love you. I’ll tell you every day. I should have told you every day,” a friend shared on Instagram.
A photo he posted on the social media platform, shirtless after top surgery, conveyed such joy and contentment with his transition.
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Derrick Wayne Rump, 38, was his co-worker and was also killed.
Friends and club regulars have shared anecdotes of his kindness and generosity. The Washington Post shared that he would buy fake eyelashes for drag queens when they couldn’t afford them, and during the pandemic lockdowns, bought groceries for people who were struggling for two months straight.
A survivor of the attack shared his positive memories of Club Q, and emphasised the bartenders’ role in creating a supportive, family atmosphere.
“I hung out near the bar where their smiling faces and warm personalities made me feel welcome,” a patron wrote on Facebook. “It was the same story every time we spoke. They were kind and considerate and the world is a darker place without them.”
Three of the deceased were visitors to the club.
Kelly Loving, 40, was a trans woman on a weekend break from Denver.
Her sister told the New York Times: ““She was loving, always trying to help the next person out, instead of thinking of herself.”
She was also known to support younger trans women in their transitions.
“She reminded me that you are not doing the wrong thing by being trans, that it was OK to embrace it because you are a beautiful person … Without her giving me the confidence, I don’t know where I would be today.”
Kelly Loving, 40, was among the five people killed in the Saturday night shooting at #ClubQ in Colorado Springs. Kelly was a trans woman who loved to travel and meet new people. Her family found out about her murder from the FBI. https://t.co/IVBbElc48H pic.twitter.com/OugGSVq3LS
— Alexandra Halaby (@iskandrah) November 21, 2022
Ashley Paugh, 38, worked for a non-profit that helped foster children and was visiting the club to see a stand up comedy show.
“Nothing will ever be the same without her … Right now, I don’t want to laugh. She was a loving, caring person who would do anything for anybody. We’re gonna miss her so much,” her sister shared with NBC news.
Raymond Green Vance, 22, was celebrating a friend’s birthday that evening. He had a new job at a FedEx distribution centre, and was excited for his future.
“u are my home. my heart. my everything. u changed my life. u made life worth living. u made me the happiest i ever been. laugh the hardest i ever have. meeting u was the best thing to ever happen to me,” his girlfriend, who he had been dating since high school, wrote on Facebook.
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The suspected gunman is in custody in hospital.