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Colorado Springs LGBTQ club shooting: Here's what we know so far

Colorado Springs LGBTQ club shooting: Here's the latest updates
Colorado Springs LGBTQ club shooting: Here's the latest updates 12:41

A suspected gunman is in custody after a mass shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. A total of five people were killed and at least 25 people were hurt. The shooter was also injured and then detained by people who were in the club.

With the shooter in custody, the FBI is now helping the Colorado Springs Police Department investigate the shooting and motive.

The investigation is active and ongoing and the Colorado Springs Police Department said they won't have more updates until noon on Monday.

Here's everything we do know so far:

What happened? 

Information released by city officials shows a brief timeline of events:

  • Call for service came in at 11:56:57 p.m. Saturday night.
  • The first officer was dispatched 11:57 p.m.
  • The first officer arrives on scene at midnight Sunday.
  • Suspect detained and taken into custody 12:02 a.m.

CBS News Colorado spoke to several witnesses about what they heard and saw when the shooting began.

"I lost friends," Joshua Thurman said through tears. "I'm not okay."

Thurman said he heard four or five muffled blasts that he initially thought were part of the music.

"I heard another set of shots ring out and I saw the flash of the muzzle when I looked to my left and I took off running to the dressing room. Immediately, I locked the door and turned off all the lights."

He said there were two other people in the room with him and at least one of the others called the police.

Joshua Thurman describes what he saw at the deadly mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs on Nov. 20, 2022.   CBS

"During that time, we heard the assailant get detained by Club Q employees, they beat the - out of him, then we heard the police come in, they're yelling at him, 'get on the ground, stay on the ground!'" Thurman recalled. "I crawled out on my stomach and that's when we were escorted out."

That's when he saw the horrific scene in the club: "Bodies on the ground, blood, shattered glass, windows, it was just so heartbreaking."

When Thurman finally made it outside, he described a chaotic scene with dozens of cops, paramedics tending to the wounded and white sheets covering the deceased.

"All I could think about were my friends. Where are my friends? Did everyone make it out okay? Honestly, no," he said. "I'm sad. I'm sad because it should have been me. No one deserves this. It should have been me." 

Michael Anderson, a bartender at the club, told a CBS station in Houston, "what I can't stop thinking about is the visuals of the evening, of the bodies, of the blood, of the broken glass, of the carnage and the wreckage and seeing a safe place turned into a war zone."

Gil Rodriguez and Felicia Juvera went to Club Q for the first time since the start of the pandemic to support their friend, DJ T Beats, who was DJing at the club that night.

Felicia Juvera, left, and Gil Rodriguez were at Club Q in Colorado Springs when a gunman began shooting. Rodriguez was grazed by a bullet. CBS

Rodriguez, an Air Force veteran, thought the first shot that was fired was part of the music, but then his military training kicked in and recognized the subsequent shots for what they were.

"I flipped the table that we were sitting next to you for cover and I just yelled for everyone to get down," he told CBS News Colorado.

The shooter was going through the club as he fired shots, according to Rodriguez: "all we heard was just him kind of gradually going through the club and just shooting as he was walking it was almost like target practice really for him."

He then got on top of Juvera to protect her. That's when he felt a bullet graze him.

"I felt a bullet graze my foot which kind of like woke me up to realize that the shooter was looking in our direction," he said. But his friend Tara, the DJ he came to support, had been shot in the back, he said.

Juvera stayed with Tara until paramedics arrived while Rodriguez directed first responders to the suspect and victims. They say it still feels like a nightmare: "Prayers and condolences go out to all the families affected you know that obviously aren't weren't able to walk out from that scene."

Tara is expected to survive after the bullet was removed at the hospital, the couple said. 

Who is the shooter?

The suspect in the shooting has been identified by police as Anderson Lee Aldrich. He was injured and is in custody. At least 25 other people were hurt, up from an initial figure of 17, according to the city.

He is 22 and police haven't released his photo. They also didn't share any motive for the shooting.

"The motive of the crime is part of the investigation and whether this was a hate crime is part of that investigation," Colorado Springs Police Department Deputy Chief Adrian Vasquez said.

At least two firearms were recovered at the scene, according to Vasquez. The suspect used a rifle in the shooting, Vasquez said, but investigators were working to determine who the other gun belonged to.

Last year several news outlets reported that a man with the same name and age was arrested in a menacing case in Colorado Springs involving a possible bomb threat. That person was initially charged with two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping, according to the El Paso Sheriff's Office.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported, however, that those 2021 charges against the man were dropped and the case sealed. CBS News Colorado has reached out to the District Attorney's office for more information.

When asked about his possible prior criminal history in a news conference on Sunday morning, Vasquez, the deputy police chief, didn't share any additional information.

How has the community responded?

Just before 3 a.m., about 3 hours after the shooting, Club Q expressed grief and gratitude in a Facebook post.

"Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community," the post read. "Our prays (sic) and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends. We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack."

At a news conference, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told reporters that the suspect was subdued by people at the bar, corroborating what several witnesses said, although it's not yet clear if those people were employees or customers.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers   CBS

"As indicated, there is much we're still waiting to learn about this tragic incident," he said. "We know one or more patrons heroically intervened to subdue the suspect and we praise those individuals that did so because their actions clearly saved lives. We also thank our first responders across the Pike's Peak region who quickly responded."

Speaking at a vigil Sunday afternoon, club owner Matthew Haynes said "Club Q doesn't have employees, doesn't have customers, it has family and community."

"We at Club Q celebrated so much [like] the right to marry," he continued. "It's been there through some tragedies as well."

Haynes said he knows there are politics involved, but that today is for grieving.

Matthew Haynes, owner of Club Q   CBS

"I saw couples that met at that club. I saw friend groups that were sitting together that knew themselves from that club. Very much a community center," he told CBS News Colorado in a later interview. "We're all hurting and we are getting such tremendous support from everywhere."

Gov. Jared Polis on Sunday morning sent a statement about the overnight shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub. Polis, who became the first openly gay governor in American history when he was elected into office in 2018, called the shooting that left five dead and at least 17 injured "horrific, sickening and devastating."

"My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured and traumatized in this horrific shooting. I have spoken with Mayor Suthers and clarified that every state resource is available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs," Polis said.

"We are eternally grateful for the brave individuals who blocked the gunman, likely saving lives in the process, and for the first responders who responded swiftly to this horrific shooting," he continued. "Colorado stands with our (LGBTQ) Community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn."

President Joe Biden also issued a statement on the shooting.

"While no motive in this attack is yet clear, we know that the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to horrific hate violence in recent years.," he said, in part. "Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence. Yet it happens far too often. We must drive out the inequities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people. We cannot and must not tolerate hate."

The Denver Broncos held a moment of silence for the victims at their game Sunday.

"A senseless act of violence took place in Colorado Springs that took the lives of five innocent people and injured many more," an announcer said at the stadium. "There is no place for hate and the Denver Broncos stand with the LGBTQ+ community. Please join us in a moment of silence as we remember the victims and their loved ones."

The Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche tweeted identical statements later Sunday afternoon, both saying, "We are distraught for the victims and loved ones from the senseless act of violence in Colorado Springs. Our deepest condolences go out to the victims' families and friends. We stand with the LGBTQ+ community and all communities impacted by gun violence."

Both teams are owned by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.

The Colorado Rockies also tweeted a statement, saying, "The Colorado Rockies are deeply saddened by the senseless tragedy in Colorado Springs. Our heart breaks for the lives needlessly lost and for all impacted. There is no place for hate and our thoughts are with the LGBTQ+ community."

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, a gay and lesbian advocacy group, expressed grief and anger at the shooting, citing an increase in attack on the LGBTQ community.

"Our hearts are broken for the victims of the horrific tragedy in Colorado Springs, and their loved ones," she said in part. "This unspeakable attack has robbed countless people of their friends and family and an entire community's sense of safety. You can draw a straight line from the false and vile rhetoric about LGBTQ people spread by extremists and amplified across social media, to the nearly 300 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this year, to the dozens of attacks on our community like this one."

By evening, a large memorial site was set up near the club with flowers, photos, candles and more.

A memorial site sprang up outside the LGBTQ bar, "Club Q" in Colorado Springs, where a mass shooting claimed the lives of five people and injured over two dozen others on Nov. 20, 2022. CBS

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