COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — At least five people were killed and 18 others injured in a shooting Saturday night at an LGBTQ+ nightclub, and a suspect was arrested within minutes of the first call to police, according to authorities.
At 11:57 p.m., Colorado Springs Police (CSPD) received numerous calls about an active shooter at Club Q, at 3430 N. Academy Blvd., according to CSPD spokesperson Lt. Pamela Castro.
Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said the suspect, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, entered the nightclub and immediately started shooting. Two patrons fought with the gunman and prevented him from injuring more people, Vasquez said. He said less than a minute went by between the gunman arriving and the two patrons taking him down.
"We owe them a great debt of gratitude," he said.
"Their actions were selfless," Club Q founder Matthew Haynes said. "One tackled and put himself in harm's way, got the suspect to the floor and then was assisted by another and they kept the suspect on the floor until the police arrived and apprehended him."
"Without a doubt, we have heroes that saved numerous lives," Haynes said. "If he was able to get onto the patio, if he was able to continue, there'd certainly be more victims."
Police said they arrived on the scene at midnight and took Aldrich into custody inside the nightclub at 12:02 a.m.
Multiple victims were taken to local hospitals by ambulance and police cruisers, Castro said. CSPD was working to identify the victims and notify their families.
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The suspect was also taken to the hospital to receive medical attention, according to CSPD.
Of the 18 injured, at least seven were in critical condition, authorities said. On Monday, police said 17 of those victims suffered gunshot wounds, while the 18th victim's injuries did not include gunshot wounds. Police also said there was a 19th victim who did not suffer any visible injuries.
Authorities initially said at least 25 people were injured in the shooting, but clarified Monday that at least 18 people suffered injuries in addition to the five victims who were killed.
UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central said as of Sunday evening, they were caring for 10 patients who were injured in the shooting. They said one patient has been discharged.
The shooting came during Transgender Awareness Week and just before Sunday’s International Transgender Day of Remembrance, when events around the world are held to mourn and remember transgender people lost to violence.
CSPD has not released any information on a motive for the shooting.
"We're still trying to understand if we are going to have an opportunity to speak with the suspect," Vasquez said. "Whether he will speak with us or not."
Vasquez said interviews with the suspect's friends and family will be critical.
"We did try to talk with the mom in this, but she was not overly cooperative with us," he said. "We're still trying to figure out more information with regard to her, or find out other things from other family members."
Last year, a man with the same name as the suspect was arrested in Colorado Springs. At the time, deputies said a woman reported her son was threatening to hurt her with a bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition. The Sheriff's Office arrested him on multiple felonies, but on Sunday, the courts had no public record for anyone with that name.
Investigators could not confirm whether the suspect in both investigations was the same person, but Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, a former state attorney general, spoke generally about why a case might not appear in public records.
"Our legislature, a couple years ago, passed a law that any case that did not result in conviction is automatically sealed," Suthers said. "That means law enforcement has to proceed as though it didn't exist."
Law enforcement in Colorado has access to sealed cases, but to talk about one publicly, police must go to court to request the documents be unsealed for the public to access them.
Colorado has allowed the sealing of records for dismissed cases for decades. Before 2019, a person needed to file a petition with the court to seal a record in a case that was completely dismissed. A law that went into effect in 2019 changed that process, so a dismissed record is automatically sealed without anyone needing to file a petition.
"There's all kinds of issues why a case is dismissed, including lack of cooperation by witnesses, and that is still very valuable information that law enforcement should have ready at their fingertips and not go to court to seek to unseal records," Suthers said.
Police said multiple firearms were found at the scene and law enforcement was working to identify who the firearms belonged to. Police said Aldrich used a "long rifle" during the shooting but did not have any more specifics as to what firearms were used and where they were obtained.
The FBI said that it will "review all the available facts of the incident to determine what federal response is warranted. The FBI is providing assistance to the Colorado Springs Police Department."
Police are trying to identify anyone who may have assisted Aldrich, Vasquez said.
Anyone searching for a loved one who may have been at Club Q during the shooting is asked to contact CSPD at 719-444-7000.
Anyone who has video of the shooting or was a witness not already interviewed at the scene is asked to contact the police.
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