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2 patrons confront the suspect who opened fire at an LGBTQ club in Colorado

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Police in Colorado Springs, Colo., are investigating why a gunman opened fire in an LGBTQ nightclub late Saturday night.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Five people were killed; 25 others were hurt in the attack at Club Q before patrons subdued that gunman.

MARTÍNEZ: Colorado Public Radio's Dan Boyce is here to catch us up on the latest.

Dan, first, let's go over the timeline from Saturday night because all of this happened really fast.

DAN BOYCE, BYLINE: Yeah. You know, it really did. So police - they received the first 911 call at 11:56 on Saturday night that a man had entered the club with multiple firearms and had begun shooting people with a rifle. Now, the first officer arrived within four minutes, and 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich was in custody just two minutes after that. Still, by that point, more than 20 people had been shot and, as you say, five of them fatally.

MARTÍNEZ: And we'd heard that people in the club actually subdued him before police got there.

BOYCE: Yeah. It's a remarkable showing of courage. Officials say at least two individuals fought with Aldrich, you know, hand to hand, shortly after he entered, and they were able to stop his advance. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers says they did that through one of them grabbing a handgun the suspect was carrying and then hitting him with it.

MARTÍNEZ: Wow. Do we have any names of any victims?

BOYCE: At this point, officials have not released any names of victims, nor of those people who confronted Aldrich. My newsroom has confirmed one of those killed was a bartender at the club. Twenty-eight-year-old Daniel Aston was a trans man who was also performing on Saturday night.

MARTÍNEZ: The suspect, we know, remains in the hospital and in police custody. What more do we know about him?

BOYCE: Police say he was hospitalized because he was hurt in that fight with the club patrons who stopped him. We don't know the extent of his injuries, and police say they did not shoot him. We do not yet have any word on a motive from investigators, but it may not be his first run-in with local law enforcement. A man by the same name and age was booked in our county jail last year. He had threatened his mother with homemade bombs, weapons and ammunition. Officials did not tell us Sunday how that case was resolved, nor have they actually confirmed that this is the Anderson Lee Aldrich, that it's the same man as the Club Q shooting suspect. Again, though, it's the same name and age.

MARTÍNEZ: All right. Now, what about Club Q itself and also the LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs? How are they handling things?

BOYCE: Well, the club is closed until further notice. I visited yesterday, and it was taped off, and, you know, there was one of these large makeshift memorials with flowers and signs. Well-wishers and many club regulars see Club Q as really the biggest hub for the gay community here. And the people who go there - they know each other. So, of course, they're deeply shaken. And one of the hardest elements now is they still don't know which of their friends may have been killed.

Still, I spoke with Shenika Mosley. She first moved to Colorado Springs 14 years ago when she was in military service. She says she hopes the public does not take the wrong lesson about her city - often known for its conservative politics.

SHENIKA MOSLEY: I have not been held back in any job. I've not been treated any type of way by any friends or by anyone in the community because I'm gay. And so I just don't want people to think that Colorado Springs is, like, anti-gay. Like, I feel like, honestly, like, Colorado Springs is one of the safest places for us.

BOYCE: But Mosley does worry Club Q will never quite feel like the same place again. And now Colorado is holding candlelight vigils for the victims, like we've done for Columbine, the Aurora theater shooting, the Boulder grocery store shooting just last year and others. The state has seen more than its share of tragedies like this.

MARTÍNEZ: That's Dan Boyce from Colorado Public Radio.

Dan, thank you.

BOYCE: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

A Martínez is one of the hosts of Morning Edition and Up First. He came to NPR in 2021 and is based out of NPR West.
Dan Boyce
Dan Boyce moved to the Inside Energy team at Rocky Mountain PBS in 2014, after five years of television and radio reporting in his home state of Montana. In his most recent role as Montana Public Radio’s Capitol Bureau Chief, Dan produced daily stories on state politics and government.