Colorado Springs, CO – Five people were killed and 25 people were wounded by a gunman who opened fire inside a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs late on Saturday night before brave customers grabbed the shooter’s weapon and beat him with it.
The first 911 call to police from terrified patrons reporting the active shooter inside Club Q occurred at about 11:57 p.m. on Nov. 19, the Associated Press reported.
Colorado Springs police said the first officer to respond to the mass shooting at the nightclub located in the 3400-block of North Academy Boulevard arrived on the scene at exactly midnight.
Witness Joshua Thurman told KRDO that the dance floor inside the drag club was full when he heard gunfire.
Thurman, 34, said he thought it was part of the music until he heard another gunshot and saw a muzzle flash across the dance floor.
He and another person ran and hid in the dressing room with another person already hiding there, KRDO reported.
Thurman recalled locking the door, turning off the lights, and getting down on the floor.
From there, they heard more people getting shot and then the fight that occurred after at least two brave patrons inside the bar rushed the gunman, took his weapon, and beat him up with it, KRDO reported.
“I could have lost my life – over what? What was the purpose?” Thurman said through tears. “We were just enjoying ourselves. We weren’t out harming anyone. We were in our space, our community, our home, enjoying ourselves like everybody else does.”
🏳️🌈 CLUB Q WITNESS: “This was our only safe space in The Springs… What are we gonna do now? Where are we gonna go?”
Joshua hid with a drag performer, heard the gunman captured. (TN’s @SenJohnson & @WilliamLamberth have a bill to criminalize drag shows)pic.twitter.com/QPxd8qRb3p
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) November 20, 2022
Some customers were able to flee through exit doors but many were trapped inside the nightclub.
“I felt like a fish trapped in a barrel.” Michael Anderson, a bartender at Club Q in Colorado Springs, recounts his experience during the mass shooting. (Video: MSNBC) pic.twitter.com/I6dYg9fzGq
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) November 21, 2022
Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said the brave patrons who intervened and disarmed the mass shooter saved countless lives, the Associated Press reported.
Chief Vasquez said at least two people inside the club confronted the gunman as he made his way through the club shooting, KRDO reported.
The brave customers disarmed the gunman, beat him up with his own weapon, and then held him at gunpoint until police arrived, according to the police chief.
“Had that individual not intervened, this could have been exponentially more tragic,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told the Associated Press.
Officers took the shooter into custody at 12:02 a.m., KRDO reported.
Law enforcement sources said that two guns were recovered at the scene – an AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle that the gunman used to shoot the people in the nightclub and a handgun – plus additional magazines of ammunition.
Anderson Lee Aldrich killed 5 people and injured almost 20 more in his #MassShooting at Q Club, a LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs
He was also arrested last here for making a homemade bomb and then threatening to blow up his own mother with it…pic.twitter.com/oFDJ8zO1TX
— The Astute Galoot (@TheAstuteGaloot) November 20, 2022
Authorities said five people were fatally shot at Club Q, the Associated Press reported.
Twenty-five more people were hurt, seven of them critically, according to officials.
Police said some of the wounded were injured trying to flee the massacre and some of them were shot, the Associated Press reported.
The gunman was also transported to the hospital for treatment following the beating he received from the brave patrons who stopped his killing spree and remained there as of Monday morning, the Denver Post reported.
Officials said it was too soon to determine whether the shooting spree was a targeted attack against the LGBTQ community, but 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen told KRDO that the massacre was being investigated through “the lens” of a hate crime.
The gunman has been identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, the Denver Post reported.
Authorities have not confirmed their prior contact with the alleged Club Q shooter but court records showed that a man of the same name and age was arrested in June of 2021 after he threatened his mother with “a homemade bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition.”
That man was arrested after a brief standoff with authorities, the Denver Post reported.
Prosecutors wouldn’t confirm that the Club Q gunman and the Aldrich arrested in the 2021 incident were the same man but said that incident was part of the investigation.