COLORADO SPRINGS — Anthony clutches a hospital cup in one hand and his husband's hand in the other as he is brought into the room in his wheelchair.
He is receiving oxygen through his nose while recovering from shrapnel wounds at Penrose Hospital in downtown Colorado Springs. Anthony is a survivor of the Club Q shooting that left five dead and 19 others injured Saturday night.
"I never imagined anything like this because I've had a lot of, I guess, pride in Club Q. It was a family and that's what they have always stated. That this is your home this is your safe haven," he said.
On the night of the shooting, Anthony, who does not want to disclose his last name, met up with friends at the bar. He said everyone was having fun and dancing to music like usual. Those moments of happiness turned into fear when a gunman entered the club and started firing shots from a long gun. Anthony said he was at the front of the bar and about 20 feet away from the shooter at the time the shots rang out.
"I just heard the gunshots and I don't recall how many or anything else, but there was the gunshots going off. And then I ended up falling," he said. "I kind of crawled over against the wall in the corner. I just heard a few screams and that was it."
As he was lying on the floor of the club, the first person he thought of was his husband of 14 years, Jeremy.
"I didn't know if I'd ever get to hug him again. I didn't know how extensive my wounds were. I didn't know what had happened to me," Anthony said. "And all I did is I called him and told him there was a shooting. I've been involved. I'm okay."
Jeremy was waiting for his spouse at the hospital that night. Now back in each other's arms, they grieve together.
"I lost two of my dear friends in the shooting and being in here [the hospital], I could not go to any vigils. He took everything away as they were trying to take my life as well," said Anthony.
The couple also opened up about their struggles being in an openly gay marriage. They met in Denver, where they said people were more open-minded and accepting of people in the LGBTQ community. After moving to Colorado Springs together, they said the community mentality is different.
"I have never really felt 100% safe and comfortable. You know, even just walking down the street holding hands or, you know, you just show one little kiss or something, and then all of a sudden you're getting ridiculed," said Anthony.
That is why Anthony said spaces like Club Q are so important for people in the community. He also recognized the two people who held down the gunman after he entered the bar, saving countless lives.
"They're my heroes. You guys that took him down are my hero. And just thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you," he said.
Through all of the tragedy that has happened in the past three days, Anthony wanted to share his story to fight back against the hate shown to his community that night.
"We may be hurt, broken, and down right now. But we will be strong again," he said.
Penrose Hospital in downtown Colorado Springs confirmed they are caring for two other survivors, both in stable condition.
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