5 Shot Dead at LGBTQ+ Nightclub in Colorado


The names of the victims of the shootng.

Just before midnight on Saturday, November 19th, a gunman entered Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He immediately opened fire, killing five patrons and employees and shooting nineteen others, with even more clubgoers sustaining other injuries unrelated to the gunfire. The shooter was disarmed by army veteran Richard Fierro, who beat the shooter bloody with his own gun. After Fierro called for other patrons to help him, a transgender woman stomped on the gunman with her high heels, according to the New York Times. Clubgoer Joshua Thurman told CNN that when he heard the gunshots he ran to a dressing room, locked himself inside, and called the police. The shooting lasted mere minutes, with police receiving numerous calls starting at 11:56 p.m., and were dispatched a minute later. Officers arrived at 12:00 a.m. and the suspect, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, was detained minutes later.

“A total of 39 patrol officers responded, police said, and Fire Department Captain Mike Smaldino said 11 ambulances went to the scene.” says CNN. Those that sustained injuries are currently hospitalized and are expected to survive, including the suspect himself. Authorities are still working to determine if this shooting was a hate crime, but due to the club’s clear association with the LGBTQ+ community, many in Colorado Springs and all over the nation are calling for it to be deemed as such.

In terms of action being taken by law enforcement, police are investigating the suspect’s past. Aldrich had one previous arrest, which involved his connection to a bomb threat, with charges including felony menacing and first-degree kidnapping. Further investigative work is being done to pinpoint his motive for the shooting. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi issued a statement on the violence that occurred at Club Q which served to point out how the shooting “fell on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance.” This correlation is steering public opinion in the direction of labeling the shooting a hate crime, and therefore determining Aldrich’s reasoning behind what occurred Saturday night. Authorities have yet to release any details regarding his motive. Although, the suspected shooter is facing five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury, court records show.

Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, and Raymond Green Vance were the five victims who died Saturday night. Aston and Rump were both employees of Club Q, Aston a bar supervisor, and Rump a bartender. Loving was a regular patron of Club Q, and Paugh was a visitor of Colorado Springs from La Junta. Vance was a first-time attendee who was at the club with his longtime girlfriend and her family, including her father, the brave Richard Fierro.

Colorado Springs locals put together a makeshift memorial on Monday morning for the victims of the Club Q shooting, laying LGBTQ+ flags, flowers, prayer candles, and gifts on the grass near the site. The names of the fallen adorn much of it, with heartfelt messages written all over the commemoration. Many were seen crying, praying, or staring solemnly at the memorial, mourning loved ones, community members, and fellow LGBTQ+ individuals. A candlelight vigil was held in Colorado Springs on Sunday night, as well as in other places in the country with large LGBTQ+ populations.

It’s no secret we hear about new mass shootings far too often in this country, many of them being rooted in bigotry and hatred. We need to look at this shooting in Colorado Springs and let it fuel the fire of change, both politically and socially. No matter if you believe this shooting was a result of homophobia and transphobia or not, and no matter your stance on gun rights, this was an event that took American lives. You should be angry, and you should use your vote, write to your representatives, have uncomfortable conversations, advocate for change, and spread love with this anger in your heart. We as a country need to keep this shooting fresh in our minds so history does not repeat itself as it has continued to do.

Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, and Raymond Green Vance. Say their names as a reminder of how much harm hate can cause. Say their names as a reminder of how it could have just as easily been you or someone you love. Say their names because they deserved to see another day.