November 21, 2022 Mass shooting in Colorado Springs

A police officer sits in their vehicle while responding to a mass shooting at the Club Q gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S., November 20, 2022.
Colorado Springs mayor says 'heroic' individuals subdued shooter with his gun
01:04 - Source: CNN

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"I don't know how I’m here." He was shot 7 times and survived mass shooting at nightclub

Barrett Hudson was shot seven times by the gunman at a Colorado Springs nightclub on Saturday night – and he doesn’t know how he’s still alive.

“Seven bullets missed my spine, missed my liver, missed my colon.” Hudson told CNN’s Jon Berman. “I got really, really lucky. I don’t know how I’m here.”

Hudson took his first steps on Monday. “I did not expect to make it. I damn sure did not expect to walk as soon as I’m walking,” he said.

Hudson said he had just moved to Colorado a few weeks earlier and decided to check out Club Q.

After only about 30-45 minutes inside, he heard several pops amid the music and then saw the gunman, who proceeded to shoot a man right in front of Barrett.

 “I took off running to the back and I got shot. I knew I got shot a few times. I fell down. He proceeded to shoot me. I got back up. I made it out of the back of the club,” said Hudson, who described a dramatic escape that included climbing over a chainlink fence before he ended up at a 7-Eleven.

He then collapsed and bystanders came to his aid. “They stopped the bleeding. They saved my life,” he said.

As he lay there, Hudson called his dad – whom he called his best friend.

 “That was the last person that I wanted to talk to,” Hudson said, not knowing whether or not he would survive. 

Due to rapid bursts of gunfire, one witness first thought there were multiple shooters in nightclub

Gil Rodriguez, who was in Club Q on Saturday night, recalled that he first thought there were multiple shooters inside the Colorado Springs nightclub.

“From the amount of shots that initially went off when he came into the club, I honestly thought it was multiple people shooting,” he told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Monday.

Rodriguez was accompanied by Felicia Juvera, who was at the nightclub to support a friend who was DJing. And, at first, she thought the shots were part of the song that was playing.

 “I remember the sounds. I honestly thought it was the music myself until I smelled the actual gunpowder. The smell is what got to me,” Juvera said. “When Gil said to get down immediately, my initial thought was just ‘React, act quickly and get on the ground.’”

Rodriguez, who had served in the military, said his instincts kicked in when he heard the gunshots. 

“Once I kind of heard the gunshots, like, stop shooting, I kind of, like, scanned the room to ensure that he wasn’t still in the room,” Rodriguez said. “I immediately called 9-1-1 to get them on the scene as soon as possible.”

Juvera said her friend who was working the DJ booth was shot in the attack.

As of Monday, her condition had improved.

“She’s doing much better. I know at this point that it was a success to get the bullet out. And they did have to take her appendix out, but she is going to make a great recovery,” Juvera said.

"I'm not a hero": Man who tackled gunman says his focus was protecting his family

Richard Fierro.

Richard M. Fierro, one of the men who tackled the gunman in the Colorado Springs Club Q shooting, said it wasn’t about being the hero — it was all about protecting his family.

“I’m protecting my family… and I did what I had to do. And honestly, I don’t care about myself in that moment, I care about everybody that was around me and I care especially about my family,” he said in an interview on AC 360 on Monday night.

His daughter’s boyfriend Raymond Vance was killed in the shooting and two friends are still in hospital.

Fierro, a former Army major, said he was at the club with family and friends to watch his daughter’s friend, her junior prom date, perform in a drag show.

As soon as Fierro heard gunfire, he said he pulled his friend to the ground.

“At that point, I saw the shooter,” he said. “I had no idea what was going on.”

Fierro said he saw the gunman start moving toward the patio area, and noticed he was wearing a body armor vest – and he knew there was a handle on the vest. So he ran across the room and grabbed the handle and pulled the suspect to the ground, he said.

At this point, the suspect’s rifle flew out of his hands. Fierro said he started hitting him with a pistol. “I just started whaling away with his gun,” he said.

Fierro served in the US Army for nearly 15 years and had four combat deployments.

“My daughter and wife should have never experienced combat in Colorado Springs, and everybody in that building experienced combat that night, not to their own accord, but because they were forced to,” he said.

When police arrived, Fierro said he started first aid on his friend who was shot in the chest, arms and legs. He said her husband was nearby, reaching for her.

“I put her hand in his hand so that they could be together. I didn’t know if they were going to make it,” he said.

“There’s five people that didn’t go home,” Fierro added emotionally, saying that he wishes he could have protected everyone in the nightclub.

Shooting victim Raymond Green Vance was at Club Q for the first time, family says

Raymond Green Vance, 22, one of five people killed in Saturday’s shooting at Club Q, was visiting the club for the first time with his longtime girlfriend, her parents, and some of her parents’ friends, his family said in a statement provided to CNN.

They were celebrating a birthday, according to the statement.

“Unfortunately, he never left the club. Raymond was the victim of a man who unleashed terror on innocent people out with family and friends,” the statement said. “His own family and friends are completely devastated by the sudden loss of a son, grandson, brother, nephew, and cousin loved by so many.”

The statement said Vance was supportive of the LGBTQ community. According to the statement Raymond “himself is not a member of it.”

Vance had just gotten a new job at a Colorado Springs FedEx distribution center.

“He couldn’t wait to save enough money to get his own apartment, but in the meantime he lived with his mother and younger brother who adored him,” the statement said.

The family members were not named in the statement.

“Raymond was a kind, selfless young adult with his entire life ahead of him. His closest friend describes him as gifted, one-of-a-kind, and willing to go out of his way to help anyone,” the statement said.

He spent most of his spare time with his girlfriend, who he’d been with since middle school. He also played video games and hoped to turn that into an online career, the statement added.

"She was just an amazing mother." Shooting victim Ashley Paugh is mourned by her husband

Ashley Paugh.

The husband of Colorado Springs shooting victim Ashley Paugh said she was his high school sweetheart and described her as a loving wife and an amazing mother.

 Ashley Paugh was one of five people killed in Saturday’s shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub. 

“We’re absolutely devastated by the loss of Ashley. She meant everything to this family, and we can’t even begin to understand what it will mean to not have her in our lives,” Kurt Paugh said in a statement.

She worked with Kids Crossing, a nonprofit that helps find loving homes for foster children, her husband wrote.

“She would do anything for the kids – traveling all over southeastern Colorado, from Pueblo and Colorado Springs to Fremont County and the Colorado border, working to raise awareness and encourage individuals and families to become foster parents to children in our community,” he said.

 Paugh said his wife also worked with the LGBTQ community to find foster placements for children.

 “During the holidays, Ashley organized giving trees and delivered them to businesses so that foster kids could have brighter holidays – and in fact, she was setting up giving trees even last week, canvassing Pueblo and Colorado Springs,” he wrote.

He said she loved being outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fishing and riding four-wheelers.

“Ashley was a loving wife – she was my high school sweetheart – and she was just an amazing mother. Her daughter was her whole world, and she was so proud of Ryleigh, who is a championship swimmer. She loved her dad, her sister, and her family; Ashley was a loving aunt, with many nieces and nephews who are devastated by her loss,” he wrote.

Shooting victim Kelly Loving "was loving and caring and sweet," sister says

Tiffany Loving, the sister of Club Q shooting victim Kelly Loving, said that her sister was a “wonderful person.”

Kelly Loving was one of five people killed in the Saturday night shooting at the LGBTQ nightclub. Her sister released a brief statement Monday.

“My condolences go out to all the families who lost someone in this tragic event, and to everyone struggling to be accepted in this world. My sister was a good person. She was loving and caring and sweet. Everyone loved her. Kelly was a wonderful person,” Tiffany Loving said in the statement to CNN.  

Army veteran says he went into combat mode when tackling gunman in Club Q shooting, NY Times reports 

FBI agents stand outside Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 21.

A 45-year-old man who served in the army for nearly 15 years and had four combat deployments as an Army officer told the New York Times he “went into combat mode” when tackling the gunman in the Colorado Springs Club Q shooting.

Richard M. Fierro said he was at a table in Club Q with his wife, daughter and friends Saturday, watching a drag show when the gunfire erupted.

“I don’t know exactly what I did, I just went into combat mode,” Fierro told the Times. “I just know I have to kill this guy before he kills us.”

According to the Times, Fierro said that as bullets sprayed, he saw the gunman move toward a door leading to a patio.                                                                                 

Fierro said he raced across the room and grabbed the gunman by a handle on the back of his body armor, pulled him to the floor and jumped on him, the report said.

“I grabbed the gun out of his hand and just started hitting him in the head, over and over,” Fierro added.

CNN has reached out to Fierro for comment.

According to the Times, Fierro’s daughter and wife are at home and still recovering from injuries.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said he had the opportunity to talk to Fierro. The mayor said the veteran had “saved a lot of lives” by tackling the suspect.

“I have never encountered a person who had engaged in such heroic actions that was so humble about it. He simply said to me, ‘I was trying to protect my family,’” Suthers said at a news conference Monday.

Officials still investigating motive and possibility of bias-motivated charges in nightclub shooting

Though the motive in the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs is still under investigation, Michael Allen, the district attorney for El Paso County, said officials are looking into whether it was a bias-motivated crime.

In Colorado, hate crimes are referred to as “bias-motivated” crimes, Allen told CNN earlier Monday.

“It’s important that if we have enough evidence to support bias-motivated crimes, to charge that. It’s important for this community,” Allen said, speaking at a news conference.

He said bias-motivated charges are Class 4 felonies — meaning that it’s not likely they would contribute to a longer sentence.

“We’re obviously talking about five people that were killed. Those are going to be the top-end charges in this case without a doubt,” he said. “Those charges will likely carry life in prison without parole, whereas the Class 4 felonies are probation-eligible offenses.”

Although it wouldn’t elevate the sentence, Allen said adding bias-motivated charges where applicable is important to show the community that the city does not tolerate that kind of hate.

Asked if the suspect could face federal hate crime charges, US Attorney for the District of Colorado Cole Finegan said his office is still reviewing information.

Nightclub shooting suspect expected to appear virtually in court in the next few days, DA says

Michael Allen, th

Michael Allen, the district attorney for El Paso County, said the suspect in the nightclub shooting is expected to appear virtually in court from jail after he is released from the hospital.

The man accused of killing five people and injuring more than a dozen others over the weekend is currently in the hospital, according to law enforcement. Once he is released, there will be a first appearance scheduled with the court, Allen said at a news conference Monday. He said that is expected to happen in the next few days.

“We will advise the suspect at that time of the arrest charges and his bond status. He is being held without bond so he will not have the opportunity to be bonded out,” Allen said.

The district attorney said formal charges have not yet been filed against the suspect. The next step in a case like this is for an arrest warrant to be written up supported by a probable cause affidavit – and that has to be submitted to a judge for approval of the arrest.

Allen also noted that while those documents will be initially sealed, they will be available to the public “at some point in the coming days.”

“Once the case is transferred to us for formal charging, we will review the evidence and then determine final charges. It is also very customary that final charges may be different than what is in the arrest affidavit,” Allen said.

“Typically, there will be more charges in a case like this when we do formal charging than what is listed in the arrest affidavit,” he said.

Within a few days of the first appearance “is when we will return to the courtroom and file the formal charges in the court,” according to Allen.

5 victims of Colorado Springs shooting named as police chief honors them with a moment of silence

Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez holds a moment of silence during the press conference on Monday.

Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez offered a moment of silence to honor the five people killed during a shooting at a nightclub over the weekend.

He said society loses often track of the victims when focusing on the suspect of the crime.

At a news conference Monday, the police chief asked that “everyone in the community honor each victim.”

Vasquez released the following names of those killed.

The information was also provided by the Colorado Springs Police Department on Twitter:

  • Raymond Green Vance (he/him)
  • Kelly Loving (she/her)
  • Daniel Aston (he/him)
  • Derrick Rump (he/him)
  • Ashley Paugh (she/ her)

After the moment of silence for victims, Vasquez said the department continues its investigation to seek justice for the victims.

Video appears to show Colorado Springs shooting suspect ranting about police during 2021 standoff

New video obtained by CNN appears to show Anderson Lee Aldrich ranting about police during a standoff in 2021.

New video obtained by CNN appears to show the Colorado Springs shooting suspect ranting about police last year during a standoff. 

Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was arrested after allegedly making a bomb threat in June 2021, live-streamed the video from his mother’s Facebook page, according to his mother’s former landlord. 

Leslie Bowman, who owns the home where the standoff took place and where Aldrich’s mother had been renting a room, said she screen-recorded the video, which has since been deleted, and provided it to CNN. 

The brief video shows a few seconds of an agitated young man — identified by Bowman as Aldrich — wearing a helmet and some type of body armor, and challenging law enforcement to breach the house where he had holed up. 

The video does not actually show any officers outside the house and it’s not clear from the video whether Aldrich had any weapons in the house.  

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release at the time that Aldrich had threatened to harm his mother “with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition,” and that several nearby homes had been evacuated. 

Aldrich later surrendered to sheriff’s deputies, which was seen in other video footage previously reported by CNN. The sheriff’s office said no explosives were found in the house. 

It is not immediately clear how the bomb threat case was resolved, but the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the district attorney’s office said no formal charges were pursued in the case. The district attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment from CNN. 

Attempts by CNN to reach Aldrich’s mother for comment were unsuccessful. 

US Navy sailor injured in Club Q shooting, spokesperson says

A Navy sailor was among those injured in the Colorado night club shooting on Saturday night, a Navy spokesperson tells CNN.

At this time, the sailor’s name and condition are not yet being released.

Club Q shooting survivor describes people helping each other after the gunman stopped shooting

While ordering a drink at the Club Q bar in Colorado Springs, Ed Sanders, 63, was shot in the back and leg when a gunman opened fire inside the nightclub. He said the chaos of the shooting immediately gave way to victims helping each other.

Sanders, who lost friends in the shooting over the weekend, said the entire incident happened very quickly.

“The shooting started and I was hit in the back and I turned around and saw him and it was very fast,” Sanders told CNN from his hospital bed Monday. “The second volley took my leg and I fell. Everybody fell, pretty much.”

“After the shooting stopped, people were screaming and people were helping each other,” Sanders said. “Several people asked about me. I said that I was hit, but it didn’t seem that bad. The shot to my back didn’t feel like what it left, which is a big scooped out wound,” he explained, motioning with his hands.

Sanders saw the gunman, but couldn’t make out the words the man uttered as he opened fire by the door.

“It seemed like he was firing from his waist, but it was happening so fast, I didn’t really grasp what was going on until I got shot in the leg,” Sanders said.

While Sanders caught a glimpse of the gunman, he did not see the two people who rushed to stop the shooting.

“I didn’t see who the heroes were,” Sanders said. “God bless them, It could have been a lot worse if they hadn’t stepped in when they did.”

In the initial moments after the gunshots, a wounded Sanders tried to assist the woman who was injured right next to him. 

Sanders said he could hear people helping people, some asking for tourniquets. He also lauded the quick police response.

“Police were there in two minutes, but it sounded like an eternity when it was happening, but they were there very fast,” he said.

El Paso County district attorney: Some evidence points to nightclub shooting being bias-motivated

An aerial view shows police tape around Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 21.

Michael Allen, the district attorney for El Paso County said there is some evidence that the suspect in Saturday night’s mass shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub had animosity toward the community.

In Colorado, hate crimes are referred to as “bias-motivated” crimes, Allen says.

“We will review all of the evidence and make appropriate filing decisions in this case as it relates to any bias-motivated crimes, but it’s important to note that five people lost their lives, so those murder charges are going to be by and large the top-end charges in this case,” Allen told CNN on Monday.

If the evidence in the case “supports bias-motivated crimes,” then the district attorney’s office will go ahead and file charges. 

“The location is some evidence. The fact that these victims were in a specific location that is predominantly frequented by members of the LGBTQ community… that is evidence and we can use toward the decision of bias-motivated crimes, but we’re looking for other evidence as well as that,” Allen said.

When asked if officials had uncovered any social media accounts from the suspect, Allen said he could not answer that question. 

Allen also chose not to comment on where the suspect had bought the two weapons used in the shooting.

Meanwhile, Allen says the suspect is capable of speaking with law enforcement at this time but added, “I’m going to leave it at that. I don’t want to infringe upon his right to remain silent.” 

Allen says the suspect does have an attorney but did not name that attorney.

First lady Jill Biden says Colorado Springs shooting "hurts our hearts"

Following the tragic shooting in Colorado Springs that left five dead at an LGBTQ nightclub Saturday, first lady Jill Biden said Monday it “hurts our hearts” that gun violence keeps going “on and on.”

Asked about the shooting while receiving the official White House Christmas tree, Biden said: “It just hurts our hearts really that this keeps going on and on. I just know it sounds hollow to say our hearts and prayers are with them.” 

Biden said she didn’t know whether she and the president would visit Colorado. 

At least 5 dead, 19 injured in Colorado Springs nightclub shooting, police say in Monday update

 A makeshift memorial near the Club Q nightclub continues to grow on November 21 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Five people were killed and 19 injured after a shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub over the weekend, the Colorado Springs Police Department said.

Police clarified the number of victims Monday afternoon, saying, “We know many more community members were present at Club Q during the shooting, who may be victims with no visible injuries.”

Here’s what we know about the victims so far, according to police:

  • 5 deceased community members. 
  • 17 community members who are injured because of a gunshot wound. 
  •  1 community member who was injured, but not because of a gunshot wound. 
  •  1 community member who was a victim with no visible injuries.

Police also said that the suspect remains in custody at a local hospital, “so a photograph is not available at this time.”

Colorado Springs shooting suspect’s grandfather is a California state lawmaker 

The grandfather of the shooting suspect in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is outgoing California Assemblyman Randy Voepel who’s been serving as a state lawmaker since 2016.  

Voepel was formerly the mayor of Santee, California. His daughter, Laura Voepel, is the mother of Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, who was arrested Sunday on suspicion of opening fire in an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. The shooting left at least five people dead and more than two dozen injured. 

Randy Voepel, who lost his reelection bid earlier this month, could not be reached for comment. It was unclear how much Voepel interacted with his grandson.

As a lawmaker, Voepel attracted attention when he compared the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol to the Revolutionary War. 

Biden spoke with Colorado governor this afternoon, White House says 

President Joe Biden called Colorado Gov. Jared Polis this afternoon following the deadly shooting in Colorado Springs, the White House said Monday. 

Biden called Polis at approximately 2:22 p.m. ET. 

“The president extended his condolences and offered to provide support in any way that would be helpful. He committed to continuing to press Congress for an assault weapons ban because thoughts and prayers are just not enough,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One.

At least five people were killed and 25 were injured after a gunman’s attack at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub Saturday.

Rainbow flag commemorating Pulse nightclub victims to be sent to Colorado Springs, local official says

The owners of Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida will loan Section 93 of the Sea-to-Sea Rainbow Flag to Colorado Springs to display in its city hall in honor of the lives lost in the mass shooting at an LGBTQ bar, Colorado Springs City Council member Nancy Henjum told CNN in an interview on CNN Newsroom. 

The flag has been on display in Orlando since 2017, according to the city of Orlando

Section 93 of the flag has served as a tribute to the lives lost at the Pulse Nightclub shooting and a sign of support of freedom lovers worldwide.

Henjum said there will likely be a ceremony or acknowledgment when the flag is presented.  

Club Q bartender Derrick Rump was killed in the shooting, family confirms

Derrick Rump, was among those killed in the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs, his sister Julia Kissling confirmed to CNN. 

Rump worked as a bartender at the club along with Daniel Aston, who was also killed during Saturday night’s shooting. 

“They were in so many ways polar opposites, but worked so well together. They were just amazing and every bar should have a Daniel and a Derrick,” Tiara Kelley, who performed at the club the night before the incident, told CNN.  

When speaking about her brother, Kissling told CNN affiliate WFMZ that her brother “found a community of people that he loved really much, and he felt that he could shine there, and he did.”

“He made a difference in so many people’s lives, and that’s where he wanted to be,” Kissling said. 

“It’s just surreal, still,” Michael Kissling said. “They’re still processing situation of what happened. They’re still mourning the loss of their, her other son and her other brother a couple of months ago. And it’s just, hate’s never acceptable. It doesn’t matter what you think in life, it’s just, hate is never the way to go. And I just, we send prayers to all the families involved.”

Rump was a native of Berks County, Pennsylvania and graduated from Kutztown Area High School in 2002, according to his sister.

Club Q shooting investigation will determine what federal response is warranted, US attorney says

The US Attorney’s Office in Colorado is offering its “deepest condolences to the victims and their families” impacted by the Club Q shooting while working to determine “what federal response is warranted.” 

In a statement on Monday, US Attorney Cole Finegan said:

“We will work closely with District Attorney Michael Allen, with local law enforcement, Mayor Suthers, and the Colorado Springs community to ensure the person who did this is brought to justice,” he added.

Numerous local and regional partners are working on the investigation, it added.

Patron who left Club Q early says she heard shooting over the phone

Alex Gallagher during an interview with CNN on Monday.

Alex Gallagher had just left Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, about 20 minutes before a gunman opened fire killing at least five people—including two of Gallagher’s friends, she told CNN.

Gallagher has several friends that work at the nightclub as performers and behind the bar. “I lost two of my friends and I know a few of them are currently in the hospital right now,” she said Monday. She’s not sure of the condition of her friends who are still recovering at the hospital.

On Saturday night, Gallagher was not able to get in touch with friends who were there so she left the club early. “I figured it was just best to have an early night—and thank God,” she said.

Gallagher said she was driving home, and “got a call from my friend that was in the outdoor smoking area, and he was hiding—and I heard everything that happened.”

“There was [sic] gunshots, people screaming. It was just horrible,” she said. “I was crying, I was angry, I was confused…that this person did this.”

Gallagher said she’s “fed up” with the violence toward the LGBTQ community.

“We won’t stand for this hate no more. We’re fed up [with] being pushed around and bullied and getting hurt and killed because people just don’t like the way we are,” she said.