Officials said in a news release the number of victims injured has increased to 25 people.
President Joe Biden released his statement on social media Sunday. “Jill and I are praying for the families of the five people killed in Colorado Springs, and for those injured in this senseless attack,” the president said. “While no motive in this attack is yet clear, we know that gun violence has a particular impact on LGBTQI+ communities across our nation.”
Joshua Thurman, a Colorado Springs resident, told ABC-affiliated KRDO he was on the dance floor when he heard shots fired and mistook them for music. When he realized what was happening, he said he and a customer ran to the dressing room, where a drag performer was waiting.
“I made them lock the doors, and we got down on the ground and cut off the lights immediately,” Thurman said.
He told KRDO he and the others in that dressing room “heard everything,” from more shots to the assailant being beaten up and police coming in.
Thurman said he wasn’t supposed to be in the city but came back from a trip to Denver a day early to celebrate his birthday.
“This is our only safe space here in the Springs, and so for this to get shot up, like well what are we going to do now?” Thurman asked. “Where are we going to go?”
Adrian Vasquez, deputy chief of the Colorado Springs Police Department, identified the suspected shooter as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich during a news conference on Sunday. Vasquez said the shooter, using a “long rifle,” entered the club and immediately began firing.
“While the suspect was inside of the club, at least two heroic people inside the club confronted and fought with the suspect and were able to stop the suspect from continuing to kill and harm others,” Vasquez said. “We owe them a great debt of thanks.”
According to a news release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado, Aldrich was earlier at the center of a call to dispatchers and was arrested on two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping. His mother had called 911 on June 18, 2021 because her son was “threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition,” according to the release.
Deep into the years-long Republican-launched attack on the LGBTQ community, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs was the target of a shooting on Saturday night that killed at least five people and injured 18. Police have described the shooting at Club Q as a “hate attack.”
“Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community,” the club penned in a Facebook post on Sunday. “Our prays and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends. We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”
Colorado Springs Police Lt. Pamela Castro said at a media briefing early Sunday that the suspect is in custody and being treated at a local hospital for injuries. Dispatchers received the call about the shooting minutes before midnight Sunday, which happens to be Transgender Day of Remembrance. The observance was started in 1999 to memorialize those murdered as a result of transphobia. Social media users weren’t willing to separate the shooting from the LGBTQ hate that Republicans and one billionaire, in particular, continue to inspire on social media and in policy decisions.
That billionaire, Elon Musk, tweeted in 2020, “Pronouns suck.” And in his attempt to walk back the language, he defended it. “I absolutely support trans, but all these pronouns are an aesthetic nightmare,” Musk continued.
Fast forward to this October when Musk purchased Twitter. One of his first decisions was to hack away at moderation tools and rules in place to curb hate speech and misgendering language while GOP politicians worked to terrorize the families of those with transgender children and oppose same-sex marriage rights.
Thirty-seven Republicans voted against the Respect for Marriage Act last week, which would grant statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriage. Their names are John Barrasso, of Wyoming; Marsha Blackburn, of Tennessee; John Boozman, of Arkansas; Mike Braun, of Indiana; Bill Cassidy, of Louisiana; John Cornyn, of Texas; Tom Cotton, of Arkansas; Kevin Cramer, of North Dakota; Mike Crapo, of Idaho; Ted Cruz, of Texas; Steve Daines, of Montana; Deb Fischer, of Nebraska; Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina; Chuck Grassley, of Iowa; Bill Hagerty, of Tennessee; Josh Hawley, of Missouri; John Hoeven, of North Dakota; Cindy Hyde-Smith, of Mississippi; Jim Inhofe, of Oklahoma; Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin; John Kennedy, of Louisiana; James Lankford, of Oklahoma; Mike Lee, of Utah; Roger Marshall, of Kansas; Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky; Jerry Moran, of Kansas; Rand Paul, of Kentucky; Jim Risch, of Idaho; Mike Rounds, of South Dakota; Marco Rubio, of Florida; Rick Scott, of Florida; Tim Scott, of South Carolina; Richard Shelby, of Alabama; John Thune, of South Dakota; Patrick Toomey, of Pennsylvania; Tommy Tuberville, of Alabama; and Roger Wicker, of Mississippi.
So please, spare us the tweets of condolences from these accounts. These legislators have already shown through their actions that they do not care. Sadly, they only begin the list of inhumane politicians working to spread division and hate.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott instructed child welfare employees earlier this year to investigate gender-affirming medical procedures as child abuse. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin introduced rules in September to prevent students from participating in programming that respects their gender identity.
In Arizona, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, Republicans passed at least four anti-trans laws since 2018. Arkansas and Alabama passed three, according to The Washington Post.
”This year has seen nearly 240 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced across the country, the bulk of them targeting transgender people’s access to gender-affirming health care, ability to participate in school sports, and in Oklahoma, to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity,” journalist Heidi Beedle wrote for the Colorado Times Recorder in June. “The moral panic over the existence of transgender people has manifested itself in a renewed interest by conservatives in drag queen events, rekindling the performative hand-wringing and protesting of 2018.”
Lauren Benet Stephenson, the director of communications at the Colorado Education Association, pointed to Beedle’s work in a tweet encouraging journalists to read the post “on how Colorado got here — the many reps and radio hosts who’ve been prepping the kindling with anti-LGBTQ, anti-trans, anti-drag hatred.”
For those paying attention, the nightclub shooting wasn’t difficult to predict.
”This mass shooting in Colorado Springs is horrifying and exactly what LGBTQ organizations and leaders have been warning would happen if the violent rhetoric toward our community continued,” activist Charlotte Clymer tweeted. “This is what happens when hateful propaganda goes unchecked.”
Journalist Jeff Sharlet tweeted: “As a human being, I’m broken-hearted by news from Colorado Springs. As a journalist covering the Right, I’m furious about the latest in our slow civil war. As parent of a nonbinary kid who’s working hard to feel hope, I’m terrified of what happens when they see the news today.”
Writer Caitlyn Hays tweeted: “My heart goes out to the victims of the Club Q shooting Colorado Springs, and their loved ones left behind. We are not monsters. We are not freaks. We bleed and we love and we dream as much as anyone else. Hoping we may all find some peace someday.”
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