A 22-year-old gunman killed five people and injured 25 others in an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, just before midnight Saturday, police said Sunday.
The suspect in the shooting at Club Q was identified as Anderson Lee Aldrich, according to Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez.
After entering the club, he immediately opened fire before at least two people inside the club confronted and fought him, preventing further violence, Vasquez said.
“We owe them a great debt of thanks,” he said.
The suspect is being treated at a hospital, police said. Officers did not shoot at him, police said.
Colorado has seen some of the worst mass shootings in US history, including the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School. Last year in Colorado Springs, a mass shooting at a birthday party left six dead.
Here’s what we know about the fatal attack in Colorado Springs:
The shooting ended within minutes of the gunman opening fire, according to authorities.
Police received numerous 911 calls starting at 11:56 p.m., officers were dispatched at 11:57 p.m., an officer arrived at midnight and the suspect was detained at 12:02 a.m., police said. A total of 39 patrol officers responded, police said, and Fire Department Captain Mike Smaldino said 11 ambulances went to the scene.
Aldrich used a long rifle in the shooting and two firearms were found at the scene, Vasquez, the police chief, said.
The gunman appeared heavily armed and wearing a military-style flak jacket as he arrived at the club, the club’s owners told The New York Times, citing their review of surveillance footage. One of the owners, Matthew Haynes, said the gunman entered with “tremendous firepower,” the Times reported.
Joshua Thurman was inside the club dancing when he heard gunshots and saw a muzzle flash, he told CNN affiliate KOAA.
“I thought it was the music, so I kept dancing,” he said. When he heard another round of shots, Thurman said he ran to a dressing room to hide.
He heard the sounds of more gunshots, people crying and windows being shattered, he said. When he came out, he saw bodies lying on the ground, broken glass and blood, Thurman said.
Authorities have credited at least two of the club’s patrons with confronting the shooter and stopping the violence. Haynes told the Times, “One customer took down the gunman and was assisted by another.”
The first customer, Haynes said, “saved dozens and dozens of lives. Stopped the man cold. Everyone else was running away, and he ran toward him.”
Authorities initially said 18 people were injured but later adjusted that total up to 25.
Nineteen of the 25 injured had gunshot wounds, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told CNN’s Jim Acosta Sunday. Based on communication with medical personnel, Suthers said he expects the injured victims to survive – and the community is “crossing our fingers” for no more fatalities.
Police said they were investigating whether the attack was a hate crime, noting Club Q’s relationship with the LGBTQ community. The shooting came as the calendar turned to Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday.
“Club Q is a safe haven for our LGBTQ citizens,” Vasquez said. “Every citizen has a right to feel safe and secure in our city, to go about our beautiful city without fear of being harmed or treated poorly.”
In a statement on social media, Club Q said it was “devastated by the senseless attack on our community” and thanked “the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”
Anderson Lee Aldrich was arrested in June 2021 in connection with a bomb threat that led to a standoff at a Colorado Springs home where his mother lived, according to a news release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office at the time, and his mother’s former landlord.
Two law enforcement sources confirmed that the suspected nightclub shooter’s date of birth and name matched a person who was arrested over a bomb threat the previous year, and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis also told CNN he believed they were one and the same. “Everything I heard indicates it is the same person,” Polis said.
According to the sheriff’s office, deputies responded to a report by Aldrich’s mother that he was “threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition.”
Deputies called the suspect, and he “refused to comply with orders to surrender,” the press release said, leading them to evacuate nearby homes.
Several hours after the initial police call,…