November 20, 2022 mass shooting in Colorado Springs

By Matt Meyer, Maureen Chowdhury and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 0148 GMT (0948 HKT) November 21, 2022
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3:46 p.m. ET, November 20, 2022

Colorado Springs resident says friends were killed and critically injured in shooting

From CNN's Alaa Elassar

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.

3:58 p.m. ET, November 20, 2022

House Speaker Pelosi says Colorado shooting shatters "sense of safety of LGBTQ Americans"

From CNN’s Sarah Fortinsky

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gives a new conference on September 30, in Washington, DC.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gives a new conference on September 30, in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the overnight shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs a “senseless slaughter” and said it’s “a reminder that we must keep fighting to do more” to combat gun violence in Congress.

The shooting left five people dead and more than two dozen injured, according to local officials.

“Our hearts break at the senseless slaughter of least five beautiful souls and the many more injured or forever traumatized, at what was a sanctuary of safety and solidarity,” Pelosi wrote in a statement.

“The attack on Club Q, which fell on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, is despicable — further shattering the sense of safety of LGBTQ Americans across the country.  While Democrats have taken important steps to combat gun violence this Congress, this deadly attack is a challenge to our conscience and a reminder that we must keep fighting to do more,” Pelosi added.

The motive of the shooting isn’t yet known, but police are investigating the possibility of a hate crime.

CNN has reached out to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office for comment as well.

Gabrielle Giffords, a prominent gun control advocate and former congresswoman, also reacted to the deadly shooting:

Giffords survived the 2011 shooting of 18 people in a Safeway parking lot in Tucson, Arizona, in which six died. She was targeted in the attack and was shot in the head.

2:42 p.m. ET, November 20, 2022

Number of people wounded in Colorado Springs mass shooting increases to 25

From CNN's Michelle Watson  

A Colorado Springs Community Service vehicle is parked near Club Q on Sunday.
A Colorado Springs Community Service vehicle is parked near Club Q on Sunday. (Geneva Heffernan/AP)

The number of people wounded in a mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs has increased to 25, city officials said in an online update.  

"Five people have been killed and 25 others are injured," the city said. "Victims are being treated at both UCHealth Memorial and Penrose hospitals. The names of the victims are not being released until their families are notified." 

The update also noted that "multiple firearms were found at the scene. Law enforcement is still working to identify who the firearms belonged to."

In a Sunday morning news conference, officials said the number of those injured may change as people self-reported to hospitals in the hours after the shooting.

The suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, "immediately" began firing after he walked into the club late Saturday night, police Chief Adrian Vasquez said at the earlier news conference.  

The suspect used a long rifle in the shooting, according to officials.

United Airlines has offered services for those trying to reach family members who were impacted, with "complimentary roundtrip air transportation to up to five family members each victim," the city said. 

1:11 p.m. ET, November 20, 2022

Biden on Colorado Springs mass shooting: "Jill and I are praying for the families"

From CNN's Sam Fossum

President Joe Biden said that he and first lady Jill Biden are praying for the families of the those killed in the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Biden released a statement reacting to the shooting at the LGBTQ nightclub and condemned the violence.

"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. Gun violence continues to have a devastating and particular impact on LGBTQI+ communities across our nation and threats of violence are increasing," Biden said in the written statement. 

He added: "Jill and I are praying for the families of the five people killed in Colorado Springs last night, and for those injured in this senseless attack."

Lawmakers and officials from around the country also condemned the fatal mass shooting.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg

Florida Rep. Val Demings

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker tweeted: "My heart breaks for the victims and loved ones of yet another mass shooting. Hate has no place in our country. I call on my colleagues in Congress to put politics aside so we can work together to stop this hate and gun violence."

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert

2:38 p.m. ET, November 20, 2022

Until recently, Club Q was the only LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs

From CNN's Eric Levenson

Flowers and a sign reading "Love Over Hate" are left near Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 20.
Flowers and a sign reading "Love Over Hate" are left near Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 20. (Jason Connolly/AFP/Getty Images)

Club Q opened in 2002 and was, until recently, the only LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, the state’s second-most populous city with just under 500,000 residents.

“Proudly queer Club Q has stood as a bastion of the LGBTQ community where others have fallen,” 5280 magazine wrote in a story last year. “It’s where LGBTQ folks go for drag performances, dance parties, and drinks, and it supports the community with event sponsorships, pride celebrations, charity drives, and more. While the club has recently shifted to offering more low-key ‘dinner and a show’ vibes before 10 p.m., it’s still known as the place for queer young adults to go and get their dance on.”

In a July 2020 interview with Colorado Springs Indy, Club Q owner Nic Grzecka explained why he and his business partner opened the establishment.

“The whole idea of this place (Club Q) is to have a safe place — to get a permanent one in the city,” Grzecka says.

He and his business partner toured other successful LGBTQ spaces and noted a common theme: “They were gay as hell,” Grzecka told the outlet. “They had go-go dancers and drag queens and bartenders in jockstraps. We knew we had to be gay as hell (to survive).”

The venue also hosts events for people of all ages, including brunches and an upcoming Thanksgiving event.

CNN's Alaa Elassar contributed to this report.

12:25 p.m. ET, November 20, 2022

Several people are in critical condition after club shooting, hospital officials say

Several victims from the Club Q shooting are in critical condition and being treated at hospital intensive care units, officials from Penrose Hospital and UCHealth Memorial Hospital system told reporters Sunday.

Penrose Hospital chief medical officer Dr. Bill Plauth said seven victims were taken to his hospital with two people remaining in critical care. Critical care implies the injuries are life-threatening, he added.

"The other five patients mainly had extremity injuries and two have already been treated and released back to the community," he said. "The others that have been admitted to the hospital, still undergoing treatment."

Dr. David Steinbruner, of UCHealth Memorial Hospital system, said that his medical center received a total of 10 patients.

"Both trauma teams at both hospitals were spun up and responded, the ERs responded, and we (were) able to take care of this very rapidly, and get the patients taken care of as well as we could at the time," he said.

"We do have patients in critical condition as well," Steinbruner said. "Several people being taken care of in our ICU."

The injured victims were transferred to three different hospitals, according to Fire Chief Randy Royal.  

Centura Penrose Hospital received seven patients, UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central received 10 patients, and UCHealth Memorial Hospital North received two, Royal said.  

12:05 p.m. ET, November 20, 2022

Police say they’re investigating whether shooting was a hate crime

From CNN's Michelle Watson

Police Chief Adrian Vasquez speaks during a press conference on Sunday.
Police Chief Adrian Vasquez speaks during a press conference on Sunday. (CNN)

It's too early to determine if the shooting at Club Q was a hate crime, Colorado Springs police said Sunday morning, but the department will consider that possibility going forward.

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

"There's a lot of work to be done,” added Michael Allen, the district attorney for Colorado's 4th Judicial District.

At this time, his office is serving in a supporting capacity, but in the next few days the case will be transferred to the district attorney for charges and additional suspects.   

"I can promise you that the DA's office will put together a strong team, and we will work tirelessly to achieve justice," Allen said.   

“Every person, regardless of who they are, has a right to be secure from fear and physical harm, and actions taken to strike fear in specific communities will not be tolerated in our community,” he added.

In a statement early Sunday morning, the club referred to the shooting as a "hate attack."

2:40 p.m. ET, November 20, 2022

District attorney identifies 22-year-old man as shooting suspect

From CNN's Michelle Watson   

T shooting suspect has been identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, said Michael Allen, district attorney for Colorado's 4th Judicial District, during a news conference.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said that, according to witnesses, the suspect entered Club Q with a rifle and started firing.  

"Initial evidence and interviews indicate that the suspect entered Club Q and immediately began shooting at people inside as he moved further into the club," Vasquez said.

"While the suspect was inside of the club, at least two heroic people inside the club confronted and fought with the suspect and were able to stop the suspect from continuing to kill and harm others. We owe them a great debt of thanks. As the investigation is still in its early stages we are not going to identify any of the witnesses inside of the club at this time," Vasquez continued.

A long rifle was used in the shooting and two firearms were found at the scene, Vasquez told reporters.

The police are not naming witnesses or those killed at this time, Vasquez said. Police are still working to identify the victims and notify families. 

10:43 a.m. ET, November 20, 2022

Colorado governor: Mass shooting at Club Q is "sickening"

From CNN's Michelle Watson   

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks during a news conference on November 1.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks during a news conference on November 1. (David Zalubowski/AP)

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, the nation's first openly gay governor, called the deadly Club Q mass shooting in Colorado Springs "sickening."  

“This is horrific, sickening, and devastating. My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured, and traumatized in this horrific shooting," Polis said in a statement, according to his office.  

"I have spoken with Mayor Suthers and made it clear that every state resource is available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs. 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. Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn together.” 

Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper also reacted to the mass shooting on Twitter.   

"Horrendous to hear about the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs. An unspeakable act. We have to protect LGBTQ lives from this hate," Hickenlooper tweeted.

Bennet tweeted:  "I’m devastated to hear about the shooting in Colorado Springs that cut five more lives tragically short. I’m thinking of their families and loved ones, and sending strength to those who were injured, the survivors, and Colorado’s LGBTQ community."