Hours after a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, police say the gunman was subdued by ‘heroic’ clubgoers.
Tyler Johnston, left, his fiance Keenan Mestas-Holmes, center, and their friend Atlas Pretzius hug each other as they pay their respects at a makeshift memorial Sunday near Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo: AP)
By India Today Web Desk: Hours after a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing at least five people and wounding 25 others, police said the gunman was subdued by a ‘heroic’ clubber.
Police said they are investigating whether the attack was motivated by hatred.
The suspect has been identified as Anderson Lee Aldrich. Police said Anderson, who was carrying a long rifle, was taken into police custody shortly after the shooting and is being treated for injuries.
The shooting is reminiscent of the 2016 Pulse Club massacre when a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, before being shot dead by police.
The revelation comes as the LGBTQ community and allies around the world prepare to commemorate Transgender Day on Sunday to honor victims of transphobic violence.
Club Q, a longtime fixture in a modest strip mall, is described by many as a safe haven for the LGBTQ community in Colorado’s second-largest city.
The suspect, armed with a rifle, a military-style flak jacket, and what appeared to be six magazines of ammunition, was apprehended within minutes thanks to the quick action of law enforcement and the bravery of at least two patrons who intervened.
A patron, Joshua Thurman, told reporters he was dancing at the club when he first heard the gunshots. He sought refuge in a dressing room and locked himself in with the others, praying for his life and thinking of loved ones.
“We heard everything,” Thurman said. “We heard more gunshots. We heard the assailant being beaten by someone who I assumed tackled him. We heard the police come. We heard them yelling. We heard them say, ‘Take some people because they’re critical.'”
Several of the injured are in critical condition and are being treated at local hospitals, authorities said.
America should not tolerate hate: Prez Biden
“Americans must not tolerate hate. Places that are supposed to be safe places of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence,” Biden said.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who became the nation’s first openly gay man elected governor in 2018, called the shooting a “sinister act.”
“I feel the same pit in my stomach that many of you do today, sadly it’s a very familiar feeling,” Polis said in a video appearance at a vigil held at a local church.