News (USA)

Out Gov Jared Polis thanks two “brave” patrons for stopping LGBTQ bar shooter

Jared Polis (CO gov site)
Jared Polis Photo: State of Colorado

As the victims’ names and other details of Saturday night’s Club Q shooting come to light, out gay Gov. Jared Polis (D) praised the brave LGBTQ bar patrons who reportedly pistol-whipped the shooter and pinned him down until police arrived.

“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,” Polis wrote in a statement issued Sunday.

“The Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs was horrific, sickening, and devastating news to wake up to,” he added. “Colorado stands with our LGTBQ Community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn.”

Polis also said he had spoken with Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers (R) and pledged “every state resource” to help local law enforcement investigate.

Suthers told ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday that the shooting “has the trappings of a hate crime, but we are going to have to see what the investigation shows in terms of social media and things like that, to make a clear determination exactly what the motive was.”

A 22-year-old named Anderson Lee Aldrich has been named as the suspected shooter. He allegedly entered the bar in full body armor and opened fire with an AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon. An unnamed bar patron grabbed an additional handgun from the suspect’s body and hit him with it, causing the shooter to stop firing. Patrons then pinned the shooter to the ground.

“Had that individual not intervened this could have been exponentially more tragic,” Suthers told AP, calling it “an incredible act of heroism.”

Club Q also made a similar comment on its Facebook page, thanking the “quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”

Matthew Haynes, one of the club’s owners, said at a Sunday vigil for the victims, “He saved dozens and dozens of lives. Stopped the man cold. Everyone else was running away, and he ran toward him,” The New York Times reported.

So far, the suspect hasn’t been cooperative with investigators, according to an unnamed police official, providing no insight into his motive. Others noted that police failed to trigger the state’s “red flag” law, which would have allowed authorities to seize his weapons after he was arrested in 2021 for threatening to kill his mother.

Bartenders Derrick Rump, 38, and Daniel Aston, 28, were two of the five people killed in the shooting. A transgender woman named Kelly Loving has also been identified as a victim.

During an appearance on CNN This Morning, Club Q bartender Michael Anderson said of the shooter, “I don’t know what was wrong with this man. I don’t know why he needed to act in this way, but he obviously had some feelings towards — I don’t know if it was transgender people, gays, lesbians… I don’t know who he was targeting, but I definitely feel that it was something aimed directly at my community, yet again another time in our country.”

Colorado state Rep. Brianna Titone (D), who is transgender, blamed anti-LGBTQ advocates for the attack.

“The LGBTQ+ community woke up this morning to yet another horrific event of murder. When politicians and pundits keep perpetuating tropes, insults, and misinformation about the trans and LTBGQ community, this is a result. I’m angry & my heart breaks for those who lost their lives,” Titone wrote on Twitter.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) also blamed anti-LGBTQ rhetoric for the attack.

Colorado has seen an increase in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes. The U.S. congressman representing the gay bar’s district has accused LGBTQ people of “sexualizing children,” and Chaya Raichik, the anti-LGBTQ activist who goes by “LibsOfTikTok,” made a post targeting a Colorado child drag event the morning after the shooting.

After the shooting, Raichik bragged about being a “stochastic terrorist,” an individual who incites violence against others by publicly demonizing them. Her previous attacks on gender-affirming healthcare providers have inspired bombing and death threats against children’s hospitals.

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