5 dead, 25 injured in US nightclub shooting, suspect held

The event took place on Saturday night at Club Q in Colorado Springs, about an hour from the state capital, Denver.

Updated – 09:48 AM, Monday – 21 November 22

5 dead, 25 injured in US nightclub shooting, suspect in custody

People hold a vigil at a memorial near the Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Photo: AFP

Denver: At least five people were killed and 25 others injured when a gunman who was in police custody opened fire inside a gay nightclub in the US state of Colorado, authorities said.

The event took place on Saturday night at Club Q in Colorado Springs, about an hour from the state capital, Denver.

Police received calls about an active shooter at 11:56 p.m. Saturday, the Colorado Springs Police Department said in a statement Sunday.

The first officer arrived around midnight and the suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was arrested two minutes later, police said.

Aldrich, who is also being treated for injuries, immediately began shooting when he entered the club with a rifle, Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said at a news conference Sunday.

“Initial evidence and interviews indicate that the suspect entered Club Q and immediately began shooting people inside as he moved further into the club.

“While the suspect was inside the club, at least two heroic individuals inside the club confronted and fought the suspect, and were able to stop the suspect from continuing to kill and harm others. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude,” he said.

Two firearms were found at the scene, and the shooter is believed to have used a long rifle.

Police have not suggested a motive for the shooting, but said the investigation will look into whether it was a hate crime and whether more than one person was involved.

A statement on the Club Q Facebook page thanked “the swift reactions of heroic customers who subdued the gunman and put an end to this hateful attack”.

The club was hosting a dance party at the time, and planned to hold a performance on Sunday evening to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance, the BBC reported.

In response to the incident, President Joe Biden said Sunday that “another American community has been torn apart by gun violence.”

“Gun violence continues to have a devastating and unique impact on our nation’s LGBTQI+ communities and threats of violence are on the rise.

“Places that are supposed to be safe spaces for acceptance and celebration must never become places of terror and violence… We cannot and must not accept hatred.

“More families are left with an empty chair at the table and a hole that can’t be filled… When will we decide we’ve had enough?” added Biden

He called for “addressing the public health epidemic of gun violence in all its forms” and “imposing an assault weapons ban” to get weapons of war off America’s streets.

In a statement, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers called the incident a tragedy.

“We are a strong community that has shown resilience in the face of hatred and violence in the past, and we will do so again,” he said.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who is gay, praised the “brave people who blocked the ferry,” possibly saving lives in the process.

“Colorado stands with our LGBTQ Community and all those affected by this tragedy as we mourn,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

In 2016, 49 people were killed and more than 50 injured in a shooting at the Pulse gay club in Orlando, Florida.

At the time it was the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

This year, gun violence has claimed nearly 40,000 lives in the US, according to the latest figures released by the non-profit research group Gun Violence Archive.

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