Police in Colorado Springs gave an update on Sunday morning, November 20, hours after a shooter killed five people and injured at least 18 others at an LGBTQ+ nightclub.
According to police, the first 911 call to police came in at 11:56 pm, and the first officer arrived on the scene at Club Q by midnight. Authorities said two “heroic” patrons managed to subdue the gunman, who was taken into custody at 12:02 am.
Police identified the suspect as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich and confirmed an investigation was underway. The FBI said it was providing assistance to the Colorado Springs Police Department. Credit: Colorado Springs Police Department via Storyful
- Thank you, everybody, for coming. We already kind of have a plan for this, so Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez will talk first, followed by Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, and District Attorney Michael Allen, and Colorado Springs Fire Department Chief Royal will also have some words. I'll then come back up, we'll take a couple of questions in regards to the information that we share with you today.
Please understand that this is very early and a complex and ongoing investigation. So there are some things that we simply cannot talk about for various reasons. There were some questions that I was asked earlier this morning when we did our initial briefing on the scene. I wanted to provide some of that information to you guys now.
The initial call for service, which is what we define as when a citizen calls in to the Communication Center at the Colorado Springs Police Department, was received at 11:56 and 57 seconds PM last night. The initial officer was dispatched at 11:57 PM. The first officer arrived in the area at 12:00 AM. And the suspect was detained and subsequently taken into custody at 12:02 AM.
Please understand that all of the numbers that we are providing are preliminary. They are changing. We have had additional people drive themselves to the hospital. So everything that we're giving you is the information we have at this moment to the best of our knowledge. But it is subject to change.
If you were not at the initial briefing, the numbers will be shared with you again today. With that, I will have Palm Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez.
ADRIAN VASQUEZ: Well good morning, everybody. Thank you for being here on this tragic day. I want to first express my condolences to those families who have lost the loved ones during this tragic event and to those that were injured today during this tragic shooting. I want every citizen in our city to know that the men and women of the Colorado Springs Police Department stand with you during this tragedy.
We are working tirelessly to ensure that justice for the victims in this senseless and evil shooting is given. Club Q is a safe haven for our LGBTQ citizens. Every citizen has the right to feel safe and secure in our city, to go about our beautiful city without fear of being harmed or treated poorly. I'm so terribly saddened and heartbroken.
I also want to thank all of our first responders, our fire department, our police officers, sheriff's office, all of our medical personnel, whether they be transporting through AMR and other ambulance services. and all of our hospitals did a tremendous job during this undertaking. Thank you so much for all that you do every day.
We are actively processing the scene at club-- Club Q. Initial evidence and interviews indicate that the suspect entered a Club Q and immediately began shooting at people inside, as he moved further into the club. 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. The FBI is already on scene and assisting with the investigation. We are also working to identify the victims who have died and notify their families. Please be patient with the identification of the victims, as a first priority is to the victim's families.
We have numerous detectives and officers interviewing witnesses and victims. We have multiple victim advocates also meeting with the victims who have been injured. These advocates will be-- will also be meeting with the families of those victims who have died. The suspect has been identified as Anderson Lee Aldridge, a 22-year-old male.
At least two firearms were found at the scene. We are still working to identify the firearms and who they belong to. But I can confirm that the suspect used a long rifle during this shooting. Detectives are currently seeking multiple search warrants, so please be patient with release of information, as this is a large and complex scene and will need time consuming to process.
Detectives are also looking to identify if there were any other individuals who assisted the suspect. the motive of the crime is part of the investigation, and whether this was a hate crime is part of that investigation. Again, my deepest condolences to the victims and to their families. With that, I'd like to introduce Mayor John Suthers.
JOHN SUTHERS: Thank you, Chief. Colorado Springs is once again in mourning after the tragic shooting at Club Q last night. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families who are bearing the weight of this horrific tragedy. As indicated, there is much we are still waiting to learn about this tragic incident.
We know one or more patrons heroically intervened to subdue the suspect. And we praise those individuals who did so, because their actions clearly saved lives. We also thank our first responders from across the Pikes Peak region who quickly responded to help those in need. The first officer arrived on scene within three minutes after being dispatched. And the suspect was subdued within two minutes after that.
Victims who were rapidly transported received emergency attention as quickly as possible. We are a strong community that has shown resilience in the face of hate and violence in the past. And we will do so again.
As a community, we will provide the victims and witnesses of this horrific event, and law enforcement will pursue this case with the zealousness that it deserves. We will continue to share more information with the community as it becomes available. But please be patient.
This is a horrible crime. And we have a suspect in custody. We must do this right and ensure justice is served for the victims of this tragedy. The governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, has been in communication with me. We talked early this morning. Because he is in COVID quarantine, he is not able to be here personally at this press conference. But he sends his heartfelt condolences to the victims of this tragedy.
I've also been in communication with Senator Michael Bennet, Senator John Hickenlooper, also pleased that Councilwoman Nancy Henjum has joined us this morning. This is a community tragedy. And our community will respond appropriately. It's my pleasure now to introduce Michael Allen, the District Attorney of the Fourth Judicial District. Michael.
MICHAEL ALLEN: Good morning. My name is Michael Allen. I'm the district attorney for the Fourth Judicial District. This is a tragic day for our community. And we stand in solidarity with the victims and their family members as we make sense out of a senseless crime. Every person, regardless of who they are, has the 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.
This is particularly true for communities that have been maligned, harassed, and targeted by persons or groups to intimidate and cause harm to members of those communities. I commend the men and women of the Colorado Springs Police Department, Colorado Springs Fire Department, and AMR for their prompt response to this senseless act of violence, an act that has taken 5 lives and injured at least 18 others.
This act does appear to have been carried out by one person. And I can tell you, it does not define this community. The one person in custody currently is Anderson Lea Aldridge, 22-year-old male. If additional suspects are identified and arrested, we will share that information with the public at the appropriate time.
This will be a coordinated effort with representatives from federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. There's a lot of work to be done to ensure this investigation is thorough and the eventual prosecution effort is both fair and firm. We will work closely with our law enforcement partners and the victims of this crime and their family members to achieve justice in this case.
I can promise you that the DA's office will put together a strong team. And we will work tirelessly to achieve justice on their behalf. At this stage, the DA's office is serving in a support role as the investigation unfolds. In the coming days, the case will be transferred officially to our office, and we'll work closely with CSPD to determine the appropriate level of charges for all identified suspects.
There's obviously a natural tension in cases that receive intense public interest for information, while also recognizing the need for a fair judicial process. Investigative agencies and my office will share only certain allowable information during the investigation and subsequent prosecution efforts. We'll also be diligent in answering the need for information by this community.
I want to reassure the community that there is no ongoing threat that we are aware of, and that we will put every effort into holding any perpetrators involved with this horrific act accountable. At this point, I would be glad to introduce Colorado Springs Fire Department Chief Randy Royal.
RANDY ROYAL: Thank you again. I'd like to echo the fact that this was a sad night and a terrible day for our community. I do want to shout out-- or give a shout out and thanks to the police department for their actions. We have a great working relationship with them. But their actions directly made an impact on saving lives, and part of that was we have direct communications with the CSPD when we were on those scenes. And as soon as they had the suspect in custody, we were able to move our folks and our paramedics and firefighters to start triaging and treating patients.
We did not do it alone. An event like this takes the whole community. And we additionally used some regional partners. We had transports from the America Medical Response from CSF units, from county units, which included Monument, Falcon, Fountain and security ambulances as well. And they also helped us cover the rest of the city while this event was going on.
Additionally, there were a few police cruisers that transported patients. And this is all to the benefit of the survivability of the men and women that we were working on. With those patients, we dispersed them to three different hospitals. Penrose Hospital received seven of the patients. Memorial-- or Memorial Central received 10, and Memorial North received 2.
Our units were dispatched about seven minutes-- or arrived on the scene about seven minutes after notification. And again, with the Colorado Spring Police Department subduing the victim quickly and getting him cleared for us to come in-- in a lot of circumstances like this, would have been probably twice as long for us to get in there and start treating. And this one, as soon as we were on scene, we were able to move in there. Thank you again for your time.
- We have an additional person who's been able to join us. Mr. Cole Finnegan with the US Attorney's office is going to come up and give some comments too.
COLE FINEGAN: Good Morning. I'm Cole Finegan, the United States Attorney for the District of Colorado. On behalf of the United States Attorney's Office and the Department of Justice, I want to first offer our deepest condolences to the victims and to their families and our sorrow for the tragedy that unfolded here, and our thanks to everyone. We will work closely with District Attorney Michael Allen, with local law enforcement, with Mayor Suthers, and everyone in the Colorado Springs community and in Colorado to ensure that the person who did this is brought to justice.
We will work together and move forward. Thank you.
- So at this time, we'll take questions. I would also like to acknowledge that FBI ASAC Leonard Carollo is here, as well as representatives from Penrose Hospital, if there are questions that would be specifically answered by and them. Again, just please remember that this is very early in the investigation. Sir?
- First, is this being investigated-- being investigated as a hate crime? And how many people were in the club at the time of the shooting?
- So the question was, is this being investigated as a hate crime, and how many people were in the club at the time of the shooting? Both of those are part of the investigation. With it being so early, we're not at a point where we can label some-- this investigation as that.
- How many people?
- That's part of the investigation-- how many people is part of the investigation as well. There were numerous officers who initially responded. We had 39 patrol officers who responded from all 4 of our patrol divisions to this. They have interviewed numerous people, along with the detectives, but having an actual number of how many people were in there will take a bit.
- Was the shooter previously known to the FBI or to CSPD through any previous criminal actions or reports or anything like that?
- Their interactions with law enforcement will also be part of the investigation.
- 5 dead, 18 injured-- does the 18 include the suspect? Or is that besides the suspect?
- It does not. We separate the suspect from the victims who are injured.
- Could you describe the suspect's situation right now, the nature of his injuries, and at what point he's released from the hospital?
- So when he would be released is a medical decision. That wouldn't be proper for me to speculate on when the doctors will make that decision. And then your second question, repeat for me.
- I think just the nature of the injuries and-- can you answer if the suspect is still in the hospital right now?
- Correct. They are at a local hospital. And then extent of injuries, I do not have.
- What's the condition of the two [INAUDIBLE]
- If they were injured? To our knowledge, they were not. We're still trying to identify and speak to everybody.
- The event, they were inviting minors. Do you know if there were minors at the event?
- That's the first I've heard if there were minors at the event. I do not know about that.
- Can you describe the nature of the injuries to the 18 who were wounded?
- Yes. Well, [INAUDIBLE] come up for-- and speak to that? And then we also have somebody to be able to speak from a UC Health Memorial Hospital, Dr. Steinburger.
- Hello I'm Dr. Bill Plauth, the Chief Medical Officer from Penrose Hospital. And this is my colleague, Dr. David Steinburger of UC Health. So I can speak for Penrose Hospital. We've taken care of seven members of our community. Two remain in critical care, but are in excellent hands.
The other five patients mainly had extremity injuries. And two have already been treated and released back to the community. And then the others have been admitted to the hospital or is still undergoing treatment for them.
- I'm sorry, but two of them are critical. Would you describe the injuries as life threatening?
- Critical implies life threatening, but I'm not in a position to share more about their specific injuries.
- Very similarly, we take care of the patients. They go into the ICU. They have injuries from multiple gunshot wounds and the like.
What the nature of those injuries are, though, we're all precluded from talking about it because of the requirements that keep confidentiality about that, but we do want to give you some information that we have. Both trauma teams at both hospitals were spun up and responded, and the ERs responded, and we're able to take care of this very rapidly and get the patients taken care of as well as we could at the time.
- How many patients did you have?
- We ended up having 10. We are currently taking care of 10 patients in the hospital right now. [INAUDIBLE]
- So you won't say any of them were critical?
- No, we do have patients in critical condition as well, but like anything else, it's a moving target, and there's a lot of personal information about people, so we try to keep that to a minimum, but we have people that were taken care of and we have all of our physicians actively taking care of everybody as appropriate, depending upon their injuries.
- So how many were in critical [INAUDIBLE]?
- Can you repeat the questions? There's people watching who don't know what the questions are.
- So, go ahead-- the question is, how many people do we have in critical condition currently right now? I don't have a specific number for that exactly, but we have several people who are being taken care of in our ICU.
- Chief Vasquez or Mr. Allen, could you help us understand what role CSPD plays and what role the FBI plays? Obviously, they're both involved. The FBI is not going to just take over everything. Could you explain who does what in a case like this?
ADRIAN VASQUEZ: So I'll talk about the investigation and then DAL can kind of come up and talk about prosecution if that works. So the question is, what role does the FBI play, and what role does CSPD play?
From an investigative perspective, we've always had an incredible relationship with the FBI. We have a lot of resources that bring to bear for the investigation, so our detectives from our violent crimes unit, our homicide unit, will take on the lead role from the investigative process. However, the FBI also has a tremendous amount of resources in investigation, as well as crime scene processing as an example.
So we will come together, work together, and process the scene, and just utilize both resources however CSPD is the lead from an investigative perspective, and then DA Allen can speak on prosecution.
MICHAEL ALLEN: So it's always fantastic that we have a really good relationship with our federal partners, both Cole Finnegan's office and the FBI. It is fairly routine that if there are any FBI agents involved in the investigative process, they will serve as witnesses in the state prosecution, and I can tell you that we have a strong interest in prosecuting this case in the community.
It's important that this community see that this perpetrator is held accountable appropriately for his actions. It's also worth noting, though, that everybody that's charged with crimes as what happened in this case is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It's always important to include that caveat.
There was a previous question about hate crimes investigation aspect. This will be investigated and is being investigated in that lens, but I can tell you that the current bias motivated crime statute in the state of Colorado provides some elevation, but will not elevate beyond what will likely be charges in this case, which will likely include first degree murder, extreme indifference murder.
Those types of charges, which are all in class one felony murder charges, so the bias motivated crime statute doesn't really come into play in this case because it doesn't elevate it beyond what we have as the very top level charges. As to your question though, about the federal involvement, I hope that answered your question.
- Chief Vasquez, so there was an Anderson Lee Aldrich involved in a bomb threat in the Lorson Ranch neighborhood in 2021. Do we know this is the same individual, and could you spell the individual's full name?
ADRIAN VASQUEZ: So we're-- our investigators, our detectives, are looking into the history of Mr. Aldrich at this point in time. However, I don't have that information with me. His full name is-- let me find it in my notes here.
- Can you repeat the question, please?
ADRIAN VASQUEZ: Yeah, the question is, in essence, were there other investigations prior to this one with this individual. And his name is Anderson Lee Aldrich. A-L-D-R-I-C-H, a 22-year-old male.
- Thank you, Detective.
- Do you have date of birth?
ADRIAN VASQUEZ: I don't.
MICHAEL ALLEN: So the question about prior potential incidents involving the same individual. There are certain protocols that we have to follow, and so when we can release information on that, we will. There's no further information that we can release as it relates to the prosecution investigation as it relates to any prior cases of interest.
- I have a question. Was there a bouncer at the door of the night club, or was the suspect just able to walk and walk out?
- The question was whether-- was there a bouncer at the door or some type of security at the door. That'll be part of the investigation.
- And as far as the suspect is concerned, has there been anything alarming that you guys have seen on social media that would indicate why he would do something like this?
- That was worded very similar to the motive for it, just wasn't posted on social media. And again, that'll be part of the investigation.
- Lieutenant, just confirming, all 18 injuries, they were shot, and no one got trampled or anything of that nature?
- We do have some injuries that were as a result of people fleeing. I don't know for sure that all 18 were shot.
- Did I hear there were more injuries coming into the hospital, even after those 18? So do you know what the number is up to?
- We have had more walk in to the hospitals. Right now, the number is 18. As we progress, and if those numbers change, we'll get those to you. Yes, sir?
- Do you believe alcohol or drugs to be involved in the suspect?
- Sorry, the question was are there alcohol or drugs involved with the suspect? That would be part of the investigation. Ma'am.
- Are you able to provide any ages of the deceased at this time?
- Not at this time. As everybody has said, our very first priority is notifying the victims' families and the next of kin. Once that's done, the process in our state is that the El Paso County Coroner's office will determine cause and manner of death, but we will get that information out as quickly and as reasonably as we can with respect to the family.
- Do you know how many shots were fired?
- You're fine. The question was how many shots were fired? That'll be part of the investigation.
- As a side note, has the suspect made any statement to the police?
- That would not be something that we would be at liberty to say at this point in time, but it is part of the investigation as any statements that the suspect or the witnesses say.
- Did the suspect they say anything before or during the [INAUDIBLE]?
- I don't know, but that would, again, be part of the investigation.
- Did the suspect have a high capacity magazine?
- Part of the investigation. The question was does the suspect have a high capacity magazine? The prior question was anything said before entering the club? Again, all of that will be part of the investigation.
- If Chief Royal's numbers are correct, I think there were 19 transported, but 18 survivors could imply at least one died at the hospital. Can you clarify how many were pronounced at the scene, and how many might have died at the hospital?
- We have one that has died at a local hospital. How many at the scene is there still processing. It's all of our initial numbers at this point.
- Was this is some sort of event happening either earlier in the day or in the nighttime hours? Or was it just a typical [INAUDIBLE].
- Your question is was there a specific event at the club?
- Like a show or a guest earlier in the day.
- I don't have that information. This club is not a problem. It is a safe haven for members of our community, so we are all shocked and saddened that this occurred here last night.
- Can you describe the events in 2021 at Lorson Ranch where this suspect I certainly was involved? It seems like you all have had interactions with this man before.
- So I believe DA Michael Allen already addressed any prior or past contact with law enforcement, and as I said, all of that is part of the investigation. Anything else specific to what we've shared today?
So if you can please follow our Twitter account, we will be sending out the next time we're going to have updated information, and if that's going to be released through a press conference or through a news release for everybody. And we'll also get you names and spellings of all the speakers that were here today. Thank you.