A group of “heroic customers” are being praised after confronting a gunman who killed five people and wounded numerous others in a shooting at an LGBT+ nightclub in Colorado Springs on Saturday and preventing further violence.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends,” Club Q, the venue where the shooting took place, wrote on Facebook on Sunday. “We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”
Police are detaining 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich as a suspect in the shooting.
According to officials, patrons of the club were able to subdue the gunmen.
“We owe them a great debt of thanks,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said on Sunday.
“Club Q is a safe haven for our LGBTQ citizens,” he added. “Every citizen has a right to feel safe and secure in our city, to go about our beautiful city without fear of being harmed or treated poorly.”
Colorado Springs mayor John Suthers also praised the patrons for their bravery.
“As indicated, there is much we are still waiting to learn about the incident, but we know one or more patrons heroically intervened to subdue the suspect, and we praise those individuals who did so because their actions saved lives,” he said.
Patrons of the LGBT+ club said the attack shook them to the core and felt like at attack on their whole community.
"This is our only safe space here in the Springs," Joshua Thurman, 34, told local broadcaster KRDO-TV on Sunday. "And so for this to get shot up, it’s like: what are we gonna do now? where are we gonna go?
"Yeah, we can rebuild and come together,” he added. “But what about those people that lost their lives for no reason? The 18 others that were injured? I could have been one of them... how are we gonna feel safe in our city?"
Survivors of the attack described a chaotic scene inside the club.
“I thought it was the music, so I kept dancing,” one told KOAA. “Then I heard another set of shots, and then me and a customer ran to the dressing room, got on the ground and locked the doors and called the police immediately.”