Five killed, 18 injured in US gay nightclub shooting

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A 22-year-old gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Colo-rado Springs, killing five people and injuring 18 before he was subdued by “heroic” patrons and arrested by police who arrived on the scene within about five minutes, police said Sunday.

Two firearms, including a “long rifle,” were found at the scene at Club Q, said Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez.

“At least two heroic people” confronted the gunman and stopped the shooting, the chief said, adding: “We owe them a great debt of thanks.”

Authorities received the report of a shooting at Club Q at 11:57 p.m. Saturday, said Lt. Pamela Castro of the Colorado Springs Police Department.

The violence is the sixth mass killing this month and comes in a year when the nation was shaken by the deaths of 21 in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Castro said the suspect was injured but didn’t know how and that the FBI was on the scene. Attorney General Merrick Garland has been briefed on the shooting, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said. The FBI said it was providing assistance to Colorado Springs police, but said the police department was leading the investigation. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who became the first openly gay man in the United States to be elected governor in 2018, said the news was “sickening.”.

“My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured, and traumatized in this horrific shooting. I have spoken with Mayor (John) Suthers and clarified that every state resource is available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs,” Polis said. “Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn.”

Although a motive in the shooting wasn’t yet clear, nor were the gender identities of the victims, the incident came as anti-gay rhetoric has intensified by extremists. In a statement, Club Q termed the shoot-ing a hate attack.

“Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community,” the club posted on its Facebook page. It said its prayers were with victims and families, adding: “We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”

The shooting came during Transgender Awareness Week and hours before Sunday’s International Transgender Day of Remembrance, when events around the world are held to mourn and memorialize transgender people lost to violence. The Colorado Springs shooting was sure to bring special resonance to Sunday’s events.

Club Q is a gay and lesbian nightclub that features a “Drag Diva Drag Show” on Saturdays, according to its website.

In addition to the drag show, Club Q’s Facebook page said planned entertainment included a “punk and alternative show” preceding a birthday dance party, with a Sunday “all ages brunch.”

Colorado Springs is a city of about 480,000 located about 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of Denver that is home to the U.S. Air Force Academy, as well as Focus on the Family, a prominent evangelical Christian ministry.—AP

 

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