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Community remembers lives lost in Club Q shooting

5 people are dead and another 22 injured after a mass shooting inside the LGBTQ business Club Q in Colorado Springs
Club Q shooting
Multiple people shot overnight near Colorado Springs nightclub
Posted at 2:18 AM, Nov 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-28 23:35:43-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — The suspect in the mass shooting that claimed the lives of 5 people and injured 22 on Saturday night was in court with for a virtual appearance this morning in El Paso County.

This is an advisement hearing in which defendants are informed of the charges under investigation and asked to confirm if they understand. Aldrich appeared in a wheelchair and only spoke when directly questioned by the judge on whether they had watched a video on their advisement before the hearing.

The public defenders for Anderson Lee Aldrich waived having charges read aloud. They will be held without bond, with the next appearance on December 6, 2022. That date could change due to a scheduling conflict with a public defender.

Anyone who has any information regarding the incident is asked to contact the FBI at 1-800-225-5324.

Normally, bond would be set. However, District Attorney Michael Allen has already stated Aldrich is being held without bond. Allen says his office will continue to work to keep Aldrich jailed without bond.

Aldrich, who identifies as non-binary according to court documents filed by their public defender, was moved from a local hospital to the El Paso County Jail Tuesday afternoon.

The court did allow for the streaming, broadcast and rebroadcast of today's hearing. However, there appear to have been audio issues with the stream.

Aldrich was arrested on 10 counts, including first-degree murder and bias-motivated crime, according to court records. Though they have yet to be formally charged, Colorado court records show Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was arrested for investigation of five counts of first-degree murder after deliberation and five counts of bias-motivated crime—causing bodily injury.

The first five charges are class 1 felonies, while the potential bias-motivated crime charges are class 5 felonies. Court records also show Aldrich is being held without bond in the case.

Anderson Aldrich hearing
Anderson Aldrich (seated) only spoke to confirm they are aware of their constitutional rights during an advisement hearing in El Paso County.

First-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted in Colorado.

State law on bias-motivated crimes refers to "unlawful acts against persons or groups because of a person’s or group’s race, color, ancestry, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation for the purpose of inciting and provoking bodily injury or damage to property."

The local and federal investigation into the mass shooting is ongoing, and additional charges could be filed.

MORE: Donate to help the Club Q shooting victims. This campaign is a KOAA initiative in collaboration with the Scripps Howard Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions to this campaign will be used to support those in the Colorado Springs area in partnership with Colorado Healing Fund and are tax deductible.

Mayor Suthers speaks on Club Q shooting

Questions about motive and background
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Police have still not confirmed a motive in the case despite the arrest-only charges. But Club Q called the shooting a “hate attack,” and officials said they would treat the investigation as one potentially involving a hate crime.

“We don’t know the motives precisely at this point in time. We’re looking at social media, we’re looking at all those sorts of things," Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said Monday morning. "But it certainly has the trappings of a hate crime, there’s no question about it.”

There are also questions about Aldrich’s past that the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has yet to comment on. Last year, a man with the same name who was 21 years old at the time was arrested after making bomb and weapons threats toward his mother in the Lorson Ranch neighborhood. Charges were not filed in that case.

RELATED: Club Q shooting suspect changed name in 2016, saying they wanted to protect himself from father

Two heroes credited with preventing more deaths

Aldrich was subdued by two heroes, Thomas James and Richard Fierro inside of Club Q.

Richard Fierro and another man, identified by Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers as Thomas James, subdued the 22-year-old suspect before they killed or harmed any more people.

Fierro, a former Army major and an Iraqi war veteran, was celebrating a birthday with his wife, daughter and his daughter’s boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance, 22, when the suspect came into the club shooting.

“I don't know what the hell he was shooting at. I smelled the cordite (ammunition explosive). I saw the flash. I dove, pushed my buddy down. I fell back behind [bar seating],” Fierro explained.

He said moments later, there was a lull in the shooting and noticed the suspect was making his way toward the patio, where his wife had escaped to. That’s when he acted.

“I grabbed [the shooter] by the back of his little cheap ass armor thing and pulled him down,” Fierro said.

READ MORE: ‘I’m not a hero. I’m just a dude’: Army veteran who stopped Club Q shooter speaks out

These are the victims in the Club Q shooting

Police and fire units got the call at 11:57 p.m. from Club Q, near N Academy Blvd and N Carefree for shots fired at the club. Emergency personnel arrived in three minutes to find at least two people in the club had already subdued the suspect. They were in custody within minutes.

As friends and families mourn the dead, the 5 victims have been identified. These are the victims of the Club Q shooting:

  • Daniel Davis Aston, 28 (he/him)
  • Derrick Rump, 38 (he/him)
  • Ashley Paugh, 35 (she/her)
  • Kelly Loving, 40 (she/her)
  • Raymond Green Vance, 22 (he/him)

Witness Joshua Thurman was inside the club dancing when he heard gunshots and saw the muzzle flash of a long rifle being fired.

“I thought it was the music, so I kept dancing. Then I heard another set of shots and then me and a customer ran to the dressing room, got on the ground and locked the doors, and called the police immediately,” Thurman said.

Thurman said there was no time to think. He was reacting on instinct. While inside the dark dressing room with both entrances locked, he heard more shots and people screaming. He said thoughts of surviving, family and friends were racing through his mind.

“I hope I make it out alive,” he said he told himself. “[I was thinking of] my mom, my friends, my loved ones.”

Anyone who has any information regarding the incident is asked to contact the FBI at 1-800-225-5324.

The City of Colorado Springs in junction with other local and state agencies had a press conference identifying all 5 victims, and where the investigation stands currently. You can re-watch the press conference on our Facebook Page.

The suspected shooter is currently being treated at a hospital. A UCHealth spokesperson said on Monday their facilities were treating 10 people from this attack, but can not provide specifics at this time.

Chief Adrian Vasquez confirmed multiple search warrants were executed in the wake of the shooting. Police are asking anyone who may have information on the suspect or anyone potentially involved to please reach out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

According to the Denver FBI Field Office, several federal agencies are reviewing the evidence "to determine what federal response is warranted." Investigators returned to the scene at Club Q today, including several FBI agents.

Joshua Thurman was inside the club dancing when he heard gunshots and saw the muzzle flash of a long rifle being fired.

“I thought it was the music, so I kept dancing. Then I heard another set of shots and then me and a customer ran to the dressing room, got on the ground and locked the doors, and called the police immediately,” Thurman said.

Thurman said there was no time to think. He was reacting on instinct. While inside the dark dressing room with both entrances locked, he heard more shots and people screaming. He said thoughts of surviving, family and friends were racing through his mind.

“I hope I make it out alive,” he said he told himself. “[I was thinking of] my mom, my friends, my loved ones.”

The City of Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Police Department, advocacy groups, and outreach groups have been listing out resources and services for the Colorado Springs community and anyone affected by the Club Q shooting to seek help.

Club Q posted on their Facebook page stating they are "devastated by the senseless attack on our community". They express somber gratitude to their patrons by saying "we thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack."

What Club Q means to the LGBTQ community

Out of respect for the community, another LGBTQ business nightclub, Icons, closed for Sunday evening. News5's Ashley Portillo spoke to employees at Club Q and Icons in June during Pride Month.

“Colorado Springs, especially with such the big military population and the time being a different time, ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ was in place. There weren't places that you realistically could go out with your partner and not be fired,” said employee Jason Jusell.

“Club Q opened up so that it was intentionally just slightly out of the way so that people wouldn't see you going there, and that way, the gay military men would have a space that they would be able to feel safe and welcome at,” he added.

Jusell, who helps with music and lighting at the club says, since opening, progress has been made in acceptance and inclusion across the city.

“In my experience, I’ve definitely seen growth within our community over the last five to 10 years for sure,” said Jusell.

RELATED:

Editor's note: We originally reported that five counts of first-degree murder, a class one felony, and five counts of bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury, a class five felony were charged to Aldrich. However, according to District Attorney Michael Allen any charges are only preliminary without an arrest warrant.
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