Colorado Springs, United States:
The gunman who opened fire at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado, killing at least five people, was restrained by two “heroic” people at the club, police said at a press conference on Sunday.
They identified the suspect as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich and said he had used a long gun at the club, where revelers were apparently celebrating Transgender Day of Remembrance, a tribute to transgender people who were the target of violent attacks.
Eighteen people were injured in the shooting shortly before midnight, police said, adding that an unspecified number of injured are in critical condition. They said at least one other firearm had been found in the club.
The shooting is the latest in a long history of attacks at LGBTQ venues across the United States, the deadliest of which claimed 49 lives at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub in 2016.
The Colorado Springs suspect entered Club Q and “immediately began shooting at people inside,” police chief Adrian Vasquez told a news conference.
He added: “At least two heroic people in the club confronted and fought with the suspect and were able to prevent the suspect from continuing to kill and harm others.”
Authorities said the suspect was being treated at a local hospital, but they did not release any other information about him, noting that local, state and federal authorities, including the FBI, are investigating.
But a man with the same name was arrested on June 18, 2021, aged 21 after his mother said he threatened to hurt her with a homemade bomb or “multiple weapons,” according to a press release at the time from the El Paso County office of the sheriff.
The Colorado Springs neighborhood around that man’s home was evacuated after he initially refused to surrender. No explosives were found, the press release said.
Police spokeswoman Pamela Castro said on Sunday that police received an initial call about an active shooting at the club at 11:56 p.m. She said a first officer arrived within four minutes and the suspect was subdued just two minutes later.
“Club Q is a safe haven for our LGBTQ citizens,” said Chief Vasquez. “I am so terribly saddened and heartbroken.”
Club Q said on Facebook it was “devastated by the senseless attack on our community,” adding: “We thank the quick responses from heroic customers who suppressed the shooter and ended this hate attack.”
Authorities said on Sunday that the shooting had not yet been officially classified as a hate crime, but that charges of first-degree murder would certainly be filed.
District Attorney Michael Allen said at the press conference that acts of violence designed to instill fear in “specific communities … will not be tolerated.”
Governor Jared Polis, who became the first openly gay man elected U.S. governor in 2018, called the shooting “horrific, sickening and devastating,” adding that “Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone affected by this tragedy.” has been affected.”
Messages of support poured in by the hundreds on the club’s Facebook page, some from Sweden, Britain, New Zealand, Germany and Australia.
‘Events we train for’
Authorities could not immediately say how many people were in the popular club at the time.
They said 39 police officers and 34 firefighters were sent to the scene.
“Unfortunately,” said Mike Smaldino, spokesman for the Colorado Springs Fire Department, “these are events that we train for, for what we call a ‘mass casualty,’ so that’s why we got such a big response.”
He added that some ambulances had to transport two or three victims to nearby hospitals.
Ms Castro said some of the injured were not injured by gunfire, but were injured in flight.
600 mass shootings in 2022
On June 12, 2016, a gunman opened fire at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 and injuring more than 50 in what was then the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
US President Joe Biden celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Orlando shooting last year and took the rare step of saying he would designate the club as a national memorial.
Gun violence is a major problem in the United States, which has seen more than 600 mass shootings so far in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.
The archive defines a mass shooting as a single incident in which at least four people are injured or killed.
Mass shootings have repeatedly reignited debate over gun control, a hot-button issue in the country, though little progress has been made in Congress on calls for reform.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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