Five people were killed, and another 19 others were wounded when an armed man opened fire on the crowd inside an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado.
The gunman, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, currently faces cases of committing five first-degree murders and five crimes motivated by bigotry. After receiving an emergency call a minute after the shooting, the police managed to apprehend the culprit at midnight. The inquiry, according to Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez, is still going on. However, despite attempts at questioning, the suspect won’t give a statement.
“I haven’t heard that he has not been cooperative, just simply that he has determined not to speak to investigators,” said Vazquez.
The police claim that the shooter had two weapons on him, including a pistol and a long rifle. Using the long gun, the suspect fires toward the crowd. Police are still unaware of where the suspect purchased the firearms, though. The shooter entered the club in Colorado with “tremendous firepower,” according to Matthew Haynes, the club’s owner. Around 11:56 PM, onlookers reported the incident and dialed 911; a minute later, the police showed up and took the culprit into custody.
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However, the police applauded the former army veteran who stood up for the club’s patrons. Rich Fierro was the first to react to the crime and stop the shooter’s spree. He said in an interview that his quick reflexes enabled him to control the circumstance. But he stated that he went to the armed man to defend his family and those around him.
“It’s the reflex. Go! Go to the fire. Stop the action. Stop the activity. Don’t let anyone get hurt. I tried to bring everybody back. There were five people that I could not help. And one of which was family to me. I’m going to see that guy in court. And that guy’s going to see who did him,” he said.
“At least two heroic people inside the club confronted and fought with the suspect and were able to stop the suspect. We owe them a great debt of thanks. I have never encountered a person who had engaged in such heroic actions and who was so humble about it. He said to me, ‘I was trying to protect my family,” said Vasquez.
“He saved dozens and dozens of lives. Stopped the man cold. Everyone else was running away, and he ran toward him,” recounted the shop owner.
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The significance of the bar
Following the occurrence, numerous families, friends, and relatives of the victims flocked to the area. Given what transpired and the location of the filming, the atmosphere that resulted was somber. The Colorado gay club offered the LGBTQ community a venue for expression and freedom. Additionally, it made the joy of connecting with the LGBTQ Community visible to heterosexual people. Unfortunately, the picture of liberty and joy changed to sorrow and terror.
“In a world that can be so dark and so angry, it’s that one place that feels like home. We’re able to unwind and forget about our troubles with work, family, and society. Because of Club Q, we’re able to make friends that turn into family and be accepted for our true selves,” said Jewels Park.
“The LGBTQIA+ community has undergone so much bigotry and hatred already. To have our safe place ripped from us and to lose members of our community is a whole other type of hurt,” she added.
Photo Credit: Geneva Heffernan