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The latest on the Colorado Springs shooting:
- Five people were killed and 19 injured after a gunman opened fire at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub Saturday.
- Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Ashley Paugh and Raymond Green Vance were identified as the victims.
- The suspect was charged Monday with five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of bias-motivated crime-causing bodily injury by state prosecutors. The charges were preliminary, and prosecutors had not yet filed them in court.
- The suspect was subdued by at least two people inside the club.
- A man with the suspect's name and age was the subject of a 2021 report of a bomb threat, according to a news release from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. The outcome of the case was not immediately clear.
- Colorado's governor has ordered that flags at public buildings across the state be lowered for five days in honor of the five people killed in the shooting.
'Club Q was not a building ... it was a community,' owner says
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Mourners gathered outside Club Q on Monday night to honor the victims of Saturday's shooting rampage, vowing to remain strong despite the tragedy that has rocked Colorado's LGBTQ community.
"Club Q was not a building, it was not a club," said co-owner Matthew Haynes. "It was a community."
Onlookers held one another tight, lighting candles and leaving notes to the victims and their loved ones. Several drivers honked in support while mourners held a moment of silence as each of the victims' names was read.
"We talked about hate, but for all the hate, there’s still so much love and that’s what we’ve had in this bar," the club owner said. "It is full of community ... and I don’t mean just gay people. It’s all the allies, it’s all of the people and all the support we have."
Army vet who took down Colorado gunman says ‘I’m not a hero’
"I'm not a hero," declared the Army veteran who helped subdue a gunman at a Colorado gay nightclub, adding that his thoughts are with the families of the five people slain.
“I wish I could have done more,” Richard Fierro told reporters Monday. “But those people aren’t home tonight, I am. And I’m really upset by that.”
Fierro, 45, was at Club Q with his wife, daughter and friends when “the guy came in shooting,” Fierro said. He said he could see the flashes and smell the cordite. There was a lull, and Fierro said he and another man took down the gunman.
"I grabbed him by the back of his little cheap-ass armor thing and pulled him down," Fierro said. Fierro, who served three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, said "I started whaling on this dude," and told the other man to kick him.
"This guy’s trying to wiggle, he’s trying to get his ammo, his guns," Fierro said. "One of the performers walked by, or was running by, and I told her, kick this guy, kick this guy!"
Fierro downplayed suggestions that he was a hero. "I’m not a hero, I’m just some dude," he said. "Everyone finds their heroes this Thanksgiving at the dinner table."
Authorities identify victims who were fatally shot at Club Q
Authorities in Colorado Springs identified the five victims Tuesday who were fatally wounded at a gay nightclub over the weekend.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez identified them as: Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Ashley Paugh and Raymond Green Vance.
In announcing their names, Vasquez said he hoped to take attention away from the suspect and refocus it on the victims.
Vasquez held a moment of silence and said that officers and detectives would diligently work for the victims' families to hold the alleged assailant accountable.
Wife of Colorado veteran who tackled gunman at LGBTQ club describes the harrowing moments he ended the shooting
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Richard Fierro, an Army veteran, was one of two people who tackled and subdued the gunman inside a gay nightclub Saturday night in Colorado Springs, ending a rampage that killed at least five people and injured 19 others, his wife said Monday.
In an interview at her home Monday afternoon, Jessica Fierro described her husband’s heroic efforts to prevent greater tragedy.
“My husband took the gunman down,” the wife said of the suspect who had an AR-15 style rifle and wore a flak vest. “My husband knocked the guns out of his hands and took the pistol and literally started hitting the guy with it.”
Fierro said her daughter’s boyfriend was among the deceased.
The family was at Club Q to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
Pulse survivor tells Club Q counterparts to 'stay strong and keep dancing, don't let them win'
A man who survived the 2016 attack on Pulse nightclub in Florida urged those touched by bloodshed at Club Q to "keep dancing" and not let the dark forces of hate win.
"We at Pulse, we had a vigil in supporting Colorado and Club Q and for them to stay strong and keep dancing, don’t let them win, because if you stop, they win," Orlando Torres told MSNBC's "Katy Tur Reports."
Torres said he's heartbroken, depressed and bewildered by this latest attack on the LGBTQ community. Suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of committing those alleged crimes as part of a bias-motivated attack, court records showed.
"These people that have not done nothing to them personally, and this anger of them reaching out just to kill as many lives they can just to prove a point in their beliefs," Torres said. "I can never understand it."
Northeastern State University 'deeply saddened' by death of former student Daniel Aston
Northeastern State University said in a statement Monday that the school is "deeply saddened" by the "tragic murder" of former student Daniel Aston, a 28-year-old transgender man who worked as a bartender at Club Q.
Dan P. Mabery, the vice president for university relations, said Aston attended the Tahlequah, Oklahoma, school for a year, starting in the fall of 2014. He was a member of the university's GayStraight Alliance, Mabery said, and was "very active" in the school's LGBTQ community.
Aston was among the five killed and 19 injured in Saturday's shooting. Colorado prosecutors on Monday charged Anderson Lee Aldrich — who is not yet talking to investigators, according to Colorado Springs police chief Adrian Vasquez — with five counts of first-degree murder and five bias crimes.
In a Monday interview with The Associated Press, Aston's mother said she rushed to the hospital early on Sunday when she learned of her son's condition from a friend of his. He died that morning, she later learned.
“I keep thinking it’s just, it’s a mistake," she told the AP. "They’ve made a mistake and that he’s really alive."
Justice Department working 'to determine what federal response is warranted'
The Department of Justice is working with its federal partners "to determine what federal response is warranted" in the aftermath of the deadly Colorado Springs shooting, according to a statement Monday from Cole Finegan, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado.
In the statement, Finegan offered his "deepest condolences" to the victims and families and said local branches of the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the DOJ are aware of the situation and are reviewing "all available facts of the incident."
"We will work closely with District Attorney Michael Allen, with local law enforcement, Mayor Suthers, and the Colorado Springs community to ensure the person who did this is brought to justice,” Finegan said.
Colorado-based LGBTQ rights group condemns rise in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric
One of the leading members of Colorado's top LGBTQ advocacy organization is condemning what he is calling "harmful and detrimental" anti-LGBTQ rhetoric brewing around the country and in Colorado.
"That kind of language has consequences," Garrett Royer, the deputy director of Colorado One, said in an interview on MSNBC on Monday.
"I don't want to direct clear correlation here, but I think if we have this national conversation around LGBTQ folks, that's harmful and detrimental," he said.
The motive of the shooter, who gunned down five people and injured dozens more on Saturday, has not yet been determined by local authorities, though the mayor of Colorado Springs said Monday morning on the "TODAY" Show that the incident has "all the trappings of a hate crime." The suspect was charged Monday with five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of bias-motivated crime-causing bodily injury.
“Using LGBTQ youth — including trans and non-binary youth — as a political prop, it’s going to continue to have devastating consequences like this," Royer said.
A report released in August by the Human Rights Campaign, the country's largest LGBTQ rights group, and the non-governmental organization Center for Countering Digital Hate, found anti-LGBTQ rhetoric surged online earlier this year in the wake of the passage of Florida's Parental Rights in Education Act, which critics have dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" law.
Suspect not yet talking to investigators, police chief says
The hospitalized suspect, charged with gunning down five people at Club Q, has not yet spoken to investigators about the shooting, Colorado Springs police chief Adrian Vasquez said.
When asked by CNN if the suspect has "not been cooperative," the chief appeared to hedge, declining to call Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, uncooperative but acknowledging that he has yet to give a statement.
“I haven’t heard that he has not been cooperative, just simply that he is — has determined not to — to speak to investigators," Vasquez told the cable network.
Shooting suspect charged with 5 counts of first-degree murder, 5 bias crimes
Colorado prosecutors on Monday charged Anderson Lee Aldrich with five counts of first-degree murder, along with allegations that the killings were part of a bias attack, court filings showed. The charges were preliminary, and prosecutors had not yet filed them in court.
El Paso District and County Magistrate Amanda Philipps also granted a prosecution request for the arrest warrant affidavit in the 10-count case against Aldrich, 22, to be sealed.
"If the information supporting the Arrest Warrant Affidavit was to be released, it could jeopardize the ongoing case investigation," wrote Deputy District Attorney Brent Nelson, who is with the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Aldrich allegedly walked into the LGBTQ nightspot and opened fire with a high-powered rife before patrons confronted him and stopped any further shooting, police said.
Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf: ‘Stop dehumanizing’ the LGBTQ community
Club Q victim Ashley Paugh leaves behind a ‘devastated’ 11-year-old daughter and husband
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Ashley Paugh capped off a day trip in this city with a night of fun at the LGBTQ nightclub Club Q when a lone gunman opened fire, killing her and four others, her sister told NBC News in an exclusive interview.
Stephanie Clark said Paugh was a loving mother and wife who was devoted to her family, including her 11-year-old daughter.
“My niece is devastated,” Clark said, adding that Paugh “lived for her daughter.”
“We are much greater than hate," says Colorado Springs City Council member
Nancy Henjum, a member of the Colorado Springs City Council, said in an interview Monday that although the community has been racked with "great fear and devastation," she believes the town of Colorado Springs is "much greater than hate."
"There’s great fear and devastation and anger and sadness," she told MSNBC's Jose Diaz-Balart. "Our love is much greater than the hate in our community."
She described an "outpouring of love" over the past 48 hours and called Club Q, a long-held safe space for LGBTQ people in Colorado Springs, to "be in community."
Colorado Springs, a mostly conservative city of about half a million people, sits about 70 miles south from the more progressive Denver. It has a history of anti-LGBTQ activism and is home to the Family Research Institute, which has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ hate group.
Poem celebrating Club Q circulates on social media
A poem as well as the book it appears in, both titled "Club Q," is circulating on social media after the deadly shooting there.
Poet James Davis "proudly named [the book] after a gay bar in Colorado Springs," according to his website. The book also won the 15th annual Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize.
In the poem entitled "Club Q," Davis describes the emotion and the feeling of finally belonging in a place.
"I stand for quest, which is to say mission, as in 'our mission is to provide a safe space for you to be yourself,' which is to say 'it is not always safe for you to be yourself,'" the poem opens.
The poem describes an immersive snapshot of the community and culture of Club Q. It closes with the words, "I stand for rainbow, and I stand for rain."
Club Q thanks those who 'moved immediately' to stop gunman
Club Q decried "disgusting rhetoric" increasingly directed at the LGBTQ community and thanked those who "moved immediately to stop the gunman" and likely prevented "more loss of life."
“Club Q is in shock, and in deep mourning, with the family and friends who had loved ones senselessly taken from them. We condemn the horrific violence that shattered an evening of celebration for all in the LGBTQ community of Colorado Springs and our allies," the nightclub said in a statement released through the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
"Club Q offers our greatest gratitude to those who moved immediately to stop the gunman and prevent more loss of life and injury. Club Q has always provided a space for LGBTQ people and our ally friends to celebrate together."
'Too early' to tell how shooting suspect got weapon, Colorado Springs DA says
It is still "too early" to tell how the suspect in the Colorado Springs shooting obtained the weapon used in the deadly attack or what the motive might have been, Colorado Springs District Attorney Michael Allen said Monday.
Speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe," Allen said the investigation into the shooting was still in its early stages.
“I think it would be a little bit reckless to say what might have been the motive or those kinds of things," he said. "Obviously, we’re looking at this as a bias motivated or hate crime type of incident, and we’ll learn more as this investigation progresses.”
He also said it was “too early” to tell if the suspect got the weapon legally or if he had assistance getting it.”
Allen said the suspect would already be facing “top level charges” due to the number of people killed and injured. Asked about reports of a prior bomb threat incident involving the suspect, Allen said investigators are aware of the allegations and, “we’ll be looking into that as well and we’ll be able to make some determinations as to how that may or may not be related to this incident.”
Mother identifies son, Daniel Aston, as one of those killed: 'It's just a nightmare'
The mother of Daniel Aston, a 28-year-old identified as one of the victims of the deadly Colorado Springs shooting, has described the hours after his death as a "nightmare that you can't wake up from."
"I keep thinking it’s just, it’s a mistake. They’ve made a mistake and that he’s really alive. I just, you know, he lit up a room, this old expression, but he really did," Sabrina Aston told The Associated Press.
Aston, a transgender man who worked at Club Q as a bartender, was one of the five people killed at the venue on Saturday. He had moved to the area two years ago, with Club Q being the “first job he had,” his mother said, describing him as a “happy child from always” who “loved to laugh.”
Aston's mother said she first heard about the attack early Sunday when one of her son's friends called to tell her to say that Aston was in the hospital, according to AP. She said she rushed to Memorial Hospital to be with her son, but was told to wait at home for an update, only learning that he had died later that morning.
She said she felt “almost positive” the deadly shooting was a hate crime, adding that she wanted to speak out to “help other LGBTQ and the queer society get the exposure are out there and get our legislators to do some action.”
Heroic patron used suspect's own handgun to hit and disable him, mayor says
One of the two heroic patrons who were able to subdue the suspect in the deadly Colorado Springs attack used the suspect's own handgun to hit and disable him, the town's mayor said.
Speaking on NBC's "TODAY" show, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said one of the patrons was able to take the suspect's handgun away from him and "use that weapon not by shooting it, but by hitting him and disabling him."
“It’s an incredible act of heroism," the mayor said. "That act probably saved a lot of lives.”
Celebrities pay tribute to shooting victims at American Music Awards
A number of celebrities used their time on stage at the American Music Awards on Sunday to pay tribute to the victims of the deadly shooting at Club Q.
Dove Cameron, a former Disney Channel actor who reached the Billboard charts this year with her hit single “Boyfriend,” paid tribute after being named best new artist at the awards show.
“Every award that I ever win will always first and foremost be dedicated to the queer community at large,” Cameron said.
“On the heels of the tragedy at Club Q in Colorado Springs, I want to remind everyone how important queer visibility is and how important our community is,” she said.
Comedian and host Wayne Brady also paid tribute to the victims and their families, saying: “We have to stop this senseless and terrible gun violence.”
Mourners hold vigil at memorial near Club Q
Colorado Springs shooting has 'all the trappings of a hate crime,' mayor says
The deadly shooting at the Club Q LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs has "all the trappings of a hate crime," the town's mayor said Monday.
Speaking on NBC's "TODAY" show, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said the motive behind the shooting that left five people dead and 25 injured was still under investigation.
"We need to look at social media. We need to look at all kinds of other information that we're gathering from people that knew the individual before we make any definitive conclusions about a motivation, but it certainly, as I say, has the trappings of a hate crime," he said.
The mayor said that due to Colorado law he could not comment on reporting that a man with the suspect’s name and age was the subject of a June 2021 report of a bomb threat. "I think the district attorney will be filing some motions in court today that will allow law enforcement to talk more about any criminal history that this individual might have," he said.