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Club Q survivors testify before House Oversight Committee hearing on violence against LGBTQI+ community

Posted at 7:17 AM, Dec 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-14 22:52:39-05

This morning in Washington D.C., survivors of the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs will be testify before the House Oversight Committee which is examining the issue of 'the rise in anti-LGBTQI+ extremism and violence in the United States.'

The hearing includes testimony from Michael Anderson and James Slaugh, who were inside the club when the shooting happened.

The hearing takes place many are still struggling to understand how the suspect was legally allowed to own guns after the El Paso County Sheriff's Office took guns away and kept them away from the suspect after a bomb threat they made in June of 2021. The suspect is facing 305 charges in the Colorado court system for the Club Q shooting, including murder, attempted murder, and bias-motivated crimes.

Survivor Michael Anderson's opening statement made clear they support action by Congress to enact and assault weapons ban similar to what was in place in the US from 1994 until 2004.

Club Q cofounder Matthew Haynes bluntly stated "thoughts and prayers are not changing the rhetoric of hate" as he shared comments and posts seen on social media against the LGBTQ community in the wake of the shooting.

Survivor James Slaugh told the committee about his experience on the night of the shooting when he was injured in the arm and chest while his sister was shot 5 times. “We shouldn’t fear being shot when we go to our safe spaces or anywhere for that matter, said Slaugh.

The committee will also hear from a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Additional panelists are:

  • Kelley Robinson, President, Human Rights Campaign
  • Brandon Wolf, Survivor of Pulse Nightclub Shooting
  • Olivia Hunt, Policy Director, National Center for Transgender Equality
  • Jessie Pocock, CEO & Executive Director, Inside Out Youth Services (Colorado Springs)
  • Ilan Meyer, Distinguished Senior Scholar for Public Policy, The Williams Institute

Based on the language in the hearing notice, expect to hear commentary by elected officials about lawmakers from the Republican party. The hearing is slated "to examine how the surge of anti-LGBTQI+ policies advanced by Republican lawmakers and the proliferation of extreme anti-LGBTQI+ rhetoric are fueling a rise in violence against LGBTQI+ people in the United States", according to a release from Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D - New York)

It is unknown at this time if members of the committee have specific actions or proposed legislation as part of an effort to reduce or prevent similar crimes.

Learn more about the members of the House Oversight Committee, made up of 25 Democrats and 20 Republicans. No representatives from Colorado are on the committee.


Learn more about the victims of the Club Q Shooting in the links below.

The Victims of Club Q
The five victims were identified in the Club Q shooting.


2021 case against Club Q suspect was dismissed after District Attorney says family didn't cooperate

A judge ordered the records in a 2021 case involving the suspected gunman in the Club Q shooting to be unsealed Thursday morning.

The case has been sealed for months, leaving many questions as to what happened with the suspected gunman in a previous criminal case and whether or not it could have prevented the shooting at the nightclub in Colorado Springs.

In a press conference Thursday, 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said the case was dismissed by a judge in July of this year after the prosecution couldn't serve subpoenas on some of the key witnesses in the case which were the suspect's family members.

Allen detailed the events leading up to the case's dismissal.

On June 18 2021, the gunman was arrested after sheriff's deputies say he made bomb threat in his grandparent's home in El Paso County. According to court documents, The suspect's grandmother, Pamela Pullen told law enforcement the suspect told her "he was going to be the next mass killer."

The documents also detail the grandmother's fear where she told deputies the suspect had been making homicidal threats towards her and her husband as well as others. The grandmother said the suspect was not happy about the grandparent's plans to move to Florida.

Within a week and a half of the arrest, the District Attorney's office filed charges against the suspect including three counts of First-degree Kidnapping and two counts of Felony Menacing. The suspect's bond was set at a million dollars.

In August, the bond was reduced to $100,000 after a hearing. Allen said in the hearing the grandparents called the suspect a "sweet young man" and "someone who will take advantage of a second chance."

The suspect bonded out of jail two days after the bond was reduced. In January of this year, the suspect pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Ahead of a trial, the District Attorney said his office needed to issue subpoenas but the grandparents were out of state and an interstate subpoena process was not effective. The judge granted a continuance.

In July, Allen said prosecutors were still not able to get a subpoena served to the family members. Prosecutors asked for an additional continuance, the defense objected and the judge dismissed the case.

Allen said the court's decision is common and in July the deadline for a speedy trial was approaching.

The District Attorney also revealed the weapons used in 2021 included two guns, one of which was a ghost gun. Allen said the guns were taken by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office as part of a mandatory protection order in place after the charges were filed.

The charges also prevented the suspect from having any weapons while the case awaited trial.

The order was lifted once the case was dismissed. In August, the suspect asked for the weapons to be returned, but the request was denied.


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