5 dead, 18 injured in Colo. nightclub shooting
The gunman was subdued by patrons and arrested by police who were on the scene within minutes
By Thomas Peipert and Jesse Bedayn
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A 22-year-old gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring 18 before he was subdued by “heroic” patrons and arrested by police who were on the scene within minutes, authorities said Sunday.
Two firearms, including a “long rifle,” were found at Club Q after the Saturday night shooting, said Police Chief Adrian Vasquez.
Investigators were still determining a motive, and the attack was being investigated to see if it rises to the level of a hate crime, said El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen.
Police identified the gunman as Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was in custody and being treated for injuries. A man with the same name and age was arrested in 2021 after his mother reported he threatened her with “a homemade bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition,” according to authorities.
Police did not confirm whether it was the same person, saying they were investigating whether the suspect had been arrested before.
Authorities were called to the 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” confronted the gunman and stopped the shooting, Vasquez said, adding: “We owe them a great debt of thanks.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed on the shooting, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said. The FBI said it was assisting but said the police department was leading the investigation.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who became the first openly gay man in the United States to be elected governor in 2018, said the news was “sickening.”
“My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured, and traumatized in this horrific shooting. I have spoken with Mayor (John) Suthers and clarified that every state resource is available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs,” Polis said. “Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn.”
In a statement, Club Q termed the shooting a hate attack.
“Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community,” the club posted on its Facebook page. It said its prayers were with victims and families, adding: “We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”