Lifelong Colorado Springs resident Tiana Nicole Dykes told CNN that she knows people who were killed and critically injured during the shooting.
Dykes said the shock keeps getting worse. She called Club Q “a second home full of chosen family."
“I’m there every other week if not every single week. This space means the world to me. The energy, the people, the message. It’s an amazing place that didn't deserve this tragedy,” Dykes told CNN.
She said the mass shooting, which left at least five dead and 25 injured, is deeply unnerving for the LGBTQ community.
“Something like a mass shooting at an LGBT+ safe space is damaging beyond belief. There's feelings of disrespect, disbelief and just pure shock," she told CNN. "Nobody ever thinks it’s gonna happen to them, and sometimes it does.”
Police say it's too early to determine if the shooting at Club Q was a hate crime, but investigators will look into that possibility as they continue their probe.
A safe haven: Tim Curran, a copy editor for CNN’s "Early Start," visits Club Q with his boyfriend when he visits his family in Colorado Springs.
Curran, who hasn't been to the club since the pandemic, describes Club Q as one of the few safe spaces for the LGBTQ community in a town where they don’t always feel welcome.
“It’s a very warm, welcoming space, definitely a big step up for diversity in the Springs," Curran told CNN. "Club Q has a very tight knit community because they’re in the most conservative, big city in Colorado by far and there’s a lot of free-floating homophobia in the city."
But once patrons step inside — everything disappears, at least for a few hours of music and dancing, Curran says. Visitors and regulars can be found every evening Wednesday through Sunday, either lounging at the bar, laughing with friends at the tables or immediately heading to the dance floor.
Club Q, which Curran describes as a "chill, small-town gay bar where everyone knows everyone," caters to a racially diverse crowd — including college kids, military and older community members.
Because there is a scarcity of LGBTQ spaces for community members in the Springs, Curran says Club Q serves as a "welcoming, open and useful space" by also regularly hosting all-age events, like brunches and holiday dinners.