Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez credited two “heroic” patrons of Club Q whofiring inside the nightclub to prevent further tragedy.
“We really have to pay him a big tribute for that,” he said on “CBS Mornings” on Monday. “At least two of the patrons engaged with the suspect and were able to actually get him to the ground and subdue him until officers arrived and were able to take him into their custody.”
Police say the gunman entered the LGBTQ club and immediately began shooting with a “long rifle”., Of those who were injured, Vasquez said it does not appear at this time that their injuries are life-threatening.
Club Q has been considered a safe space for the LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs for decades. They had planned to recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance later this week, honoring those killed in the violence.
Gov. Jared Polis, the first openly gay man elected in the US, said, “Colorado stands with our LGBTQ community.” He called the shootings “horrible, sickening and devastating”.
The club is referring to the shooting as a “hate attack”.
Police have yet to determine a motive, but the suspect remains in custody. Vasquez said the suspect is still hospitalized. “At some point he will be released by the hospital and taken to the Criminal Justice Center,” he said. “The person will be charged as soon as possible.”
Detectives say the suspect is 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, and that “conversations with law enforcement” are part of the investigation.
According to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, a man of the same name and age was arrested in June 2021 for making a bomb threat that caused the entire neighborhood to be evacuated.
The threats—which included weapons and ammunition, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette—were reported to police by Aldrich’s mother. But the case was dropped and sealed, raising questions about the state’s nearly two-year-old red flag laws and whether anything was missed.
Correspondent Janet Shamlian reports that multiple agencies are involved in the investigation. Authorities say they found two weapons at the scene.
Vasquez told “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King that police were not yet ready to classify the shooting as a hate crime. “Of course, we are fully looking into those aspects of the investigation,” he said. “Our detectives will sift through as much information as possible and determine whether or not this was, in fact, a hate crime.”
Vasquez described the incident as tragic.
“It feels like an evil person came in and did something terrible in this community. And that’s not what we stand for. This police department is part of the community. I’ve been a Colorado native my whole life and Been in it.” Colorado Springs for 27 years. I am very sad.
“Club Q is a safe haven for this special population. And I feel that I need to reach out to them and make sure they understand that the police department stands behind them through this incident.
“I went to an event last night at Temple Beit Torah, and it was all about caring for the feelings and for these individuals who were either in the club or part of the LGBTQ community. And my message to them that they are a part of this community just like me. Our police department is here for them. We stand behind them. We are here to provide them with the safety and security of every citizen of this city. It’s just a beautiful city live in. I want them to enjoy it and feel safe in our community.”
One of the witnesses to Saturday’s shooting, Joshua Thurman, described hearing gunshots and seeing flashes from the dance floor. She and another customer went to a dressing room, locked the door, and called 911. In an emotional interview, Thurman called Club Q “a place of welcome, a place of peace”. A place for us to be ourselves.
“It was very scary, I heard gunshots. Glass shattered. Bodies. It was – how? Why?”
Natalie Skye Bingham told Shamlian that she was talking to her friend, Kelly Loving, who was on her way to Club Q, just 10 minutes before the shooting. Bingham said, “She was going to the bar, getting drinks, going out on the patio, smoking cigarettes and calling me back. And that never happened.” “Never heard from him.”
He said that Loving was one of those killed.
Bingham also lost five of his friends in 2016.A gay nightclub in Florida.
She said that Loving went to Club Q to welcome her.
“I want him to rest in peace knowing that I will fight for him,” she told Shamlian. “I want justice for her. Because she didn’t deserve this.”