WASHINGTON — Less than a month after a deadly shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, the House Oversight Committee will host survivors for a hearing on violence and threats against LGBTQ people, NBC News has learned.
The Dec. 14 hearing will include testimony from bartender Michael Anderson and from James Slaugh, both of whom survived the Club Q shooting, as well as the club’s founding partner and co-owner Matthew Haynes, the committee told NBC News. The panel will also hear from Brandon Wolf, who survived the 2016 shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, where a gunman killed 49 people.
“Make no mistake, the rise in anti-LGBTQI+ extremism and the despicable policies that Republicans at every level of government are advancing to attack the health and safety of LGBTQI+ people are harming the LGBTQI+ community and contributing to tragedies like what we saw at Club Q,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who chairs the committee, said.
The hearing is likely to be one of the committee’s last before Republicans take control of the House, and thus the panel.
In November, a gunman opened fire at Club Q with a semiautomatic rifle, killing five people and injuring 17 others. Anderson Lee Aldrich has since been charged with 305 criminal counts in the case, including first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, and bias-motivated crimes. It could be the most heavily prosecuted murder case in state history, authorities said.
Slaugh was struck by a bullet in the shooting, which shattered the bone in his arm. He told NBC News last month, “No matter how many bullets someone sprays, there’s going to be a lot more love — and that’s a lot stronger than any bullet.”
Anderson echoed that sentiment in a statement to NBC News ahead of the hearing. “These attacks, like the one at Club Q, are designed to scare us from living authentically and honestly," he said. "But to our community and to the world, just know this: We are not afraid, we are empowered, we are strong and we are proud. Love will win.”
The December hearing also comes amid fears that the Supreme Court could revisit same-sex marriage. Last week, the House passed legislation enshrining federal protection for same-sex marriages after Justice Clarence Thomas called on the high court to revisit and ultimately overrule its 2015 precedent that established the right for same-sex couples to marry.
Maloney’s committee has spotlighted other deadly shootings over the past year, connecting them to broader policy themes that Democrats have tried to tackle as the majority party in the House. After deadly shootings at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, the Oversight Committee invited parents of children killed, as well as children who survived, to testify in an emotional hearing about the impact of gun violence.