5 Killed by Gunman at Colorado Gay Nightclub

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A 22-year-old gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five and injuring 18 before being subdued by “heroic” patrons and arrested for the police who were on the scene. scene within minutes, authorities said Sunday.

Two firearms, including a “long rifle,” were found at Club Q after the shooting Saturday night, Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said.

Investigators were still determining the motive and the attack was being investigated to see if it should be prosecuted as a hate crime, El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen said.

Police identified the gunman as Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was in custody and was being treated for injuries. A man with the same name and age was arrested in 2021 after her mother reported that he threatened her with “a pipe bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition,” according to authorities.

Police did not confirm if it was the same person and said they were looking into whether the suspect had been arrested before.

Authorities were called to Club Q at 11:57 p.m. Saturday with a report of a shooting, and the first officer arrived at midnight.

“At least two heroic people” stood up to the gunman and stopped the shooting, Vásquez said, adding: “We owe them a huge debt of thanks.”

Of the 18 injured people, some were in critical condition and at least two had been treated and released, authorities said, adding that some were injured trying to flee.

The shooting brought back memories of the 2016 massacre at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which killed 49 people. And it happened in a state that has experienced several high-profile mass murders, including at Columbine High School in 1999, a suburban Denver movie theater in 2012 and a Boulder supermarket last year.

It was the sixth mass murder this month and came in a year that saw the nation rocked by the deaths of 21 people in a shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas.

Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed on the shooting, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said. The FBI said he was helping, but said the police department was leading the investigation.

President Joe Biden said that while the motive for the shooting was not yet clear, “we know that the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to terrible hate violence in recent years.”

“Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration must never become places of terror and violence. However, it happens all too often,” she said. “We must eliminate the inequities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people. We cannot and must not tolerate hate.”

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who became the first openly gay man in the United States to be elected governor in 2018, called the shooting “disgusting.”

“My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured and traumatized in this horrific shooting. I spoke with Mayor (John) Suthers and clarified that all state resources are available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs,” Polis said. “Colorado stands with our LGBTQ community and all those affected by this tragedy as we mourn.”

Ryan Johnson, who lives near Club Q and was there last month, said it was one of only two nightspots for the LGBTQ community in conservative-leaning Colorado Springs. “It’s kind of a place of pride,” said the 26-year-old, describing it as a medium-sized club.

When he got home early Sunday, he saw crowded police cars on the streets.

“It just feels crazy, you hear about it and you don’t think it’s going to happen and then it happens,” Johnson said. “You come to Colorado and you feel safer than other parts of the country and then this happens.”

Robert Nichols, 35, said he searched frantically on Sunday for a friend who had told him she would be at the club and had not returned his calls. He said it caused a few hours of “anxiety” before he saw the friend’s car outside her house and decided it was okay.

Although the motive was not yet clear, nor the gender identities of the victims, the incident came as extremists intensified anti-gay rhetoric. In a statement, Club Q called the shooting a hate attack.

“Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community,” the club posted on its Facebook page. He said his prayers were with the victims and families, adding: “We appreciate the quick reactions of the heroic customers who subdued the gunman and put an end to this hateful attack.”

The executive director of a national LGBTQ rights organization, Kevin Jennings of Lambda Legal, reacted by calling for tighter restrictions on guns.

“The toxic mix of bigotry and absurdly easy access to firearms in America means that such events are all too common, and LGBTQ+ people, BIPOC communities, the Jewish community, and other vulnerable populations pay the price again and again for the lack of action from our political leadership,” he said. he said she in a statement. “We must come together to demand meaningful action before another tragedy strikes our nation.”

The shooting occurred during Transgender Awareness Week and hours before International Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday, when events are held around the world to mourn and remember transgender people lost to violence. The shooting in Colorado Springs would surely bring a special resonance to those events.

Club Q is a gay and lesbian nightclub that hosts a “Drag Diva Drag Show” on Saturdays, according to its website. In addition to the drag show, Club Q’s Facebook page said planned entertainment included a “punk and alternative show” preceding a birthday dance party, with an “all ages brunch” on Sundays.

Colorado Springs is a city of approximately 480,000 located about 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of Denver that is home to the US Air Force Academy as well as Focus on the Family, a leading evangelical Christian ministry.

In November 2015, three people were killed and eight injured at a Planned Parenthood clinic in the city when authorities say a man opened fire because he wanted to wage “war” on the clinic because it performed abortions.

In June, 31 members of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front were arrested in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and charged with conspiring to riot a Pride event. Experts warned that extremist groups could see anti-gay rhetoric as a call to action.

The month before, a fundamentalist pastor from Idaho told his small Boise congregation that the government should execute gay, lesbian and transgender people, which aligned with similar sermons by a fundamentalist pastor from Texas.

There have been 523 mass murders since 2006 resulting in 2,727 deaths as of November 19, according to The Associated Press/USA Today database on US mass murders.

Rochester restaurants open on Thanksgiving [2022]

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Scroll through the list of Rochester restaurants open on Thanksgiving and/or offering Thanksgiving takeout.

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