What we know about the 5 Club Q shooting victims
New details are emerging about Saturday's mass shooting inside an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, including the identities of the five victims killed and the heroic actions two patrons took to stop the gunman.
The latest: U.S. Army veteran Richard Fierro, one of two patrons praised by authorities for disarming the suspect at Q Club, told reporters Monday he did what he was "trained to do" and got into "combat mode."
- "There are five people I could not help, one of which was family to me," said Fierro, whose daughter's boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance, was among those killed in the shooting.
The big picture: Investigators say the suspect opened fire inside Club Q just before midnight — leaving 17 others with gunshot wounds. The shooting is being investigated as a hate crime against the LGBTQ community.
- The suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was being held without bond and remained hospitalized, but could be discharged in the next few days, officials said Monday.
Club Q shooting victims
What we know: The Colorado Springs Police Department on Monday released the names of the victims.
- The Club Q bartender was a transgender man from Oklahoma who moved to Colorado Springs two years ago. "He was the happiest he had ever been," his mother, Sabrina Aston, told Colorado Public Radio of her youngest son.
- Paugh — who had friends in the LGBTQ community, but wasn't part of it herself — was married, had an 11-year-old daughter, and worked in foster care. She had driven from La Junta, Colorado, to see a comedian perform at Club Q on Saturday night, the Denver Gazette reports.
- The Club Q bartender, who identified as a gay man, "was one of the sweetest, funniest, quirkiest smartasses you’d ever want to meet," his friend Sky Lay told the Colorado Sun.
- Loving was a trans woman visiting from Denver and had a caring nature, the New York Times reports. "She was loving, always trying to help the next person out instead of thinking of herself," her sister, Tiffany, told the NYT.
- Vance was at Club Q on Saturday night with his girlfriend and her family for a birthday party. Kassy Fierro, his girlfriend of five years, shared on Facebook that he "made life worth living" and was "the best thing" to happen to her, per BuzzFeed News.
Of note: Local officials confirmed Monday that Kassy Fierro's father, Richard Fierro, who co-owns a local brewery beloved by Mexican Americans across the U.S., and Thomas James were the two patrons who helped apprehend the shooter.
- Fierro said a drag performer stomped on the suspect's face with high heels after he asked her to.
What they're saying: "The club was a place of safety and belonging and community, and it was attacked," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told Axios in Chicago on Monday.
- "We don't know everything but we don't have to [in order] to see a pattern," Buttigieg said. "And I don't think you can separate the pattern of physical violence against LGBTQ Americans from the pattern of leaders or would-be leaders singling out LGBTQ+ Americans for hate or fear.
- "Those words have consequences. It matters what leaders say or don't say, especially about vulnerable groups," he continued. "And in this case, especially when you think about, for example, trans high schoolers. They're not a threat to anybody. But this kind of rhetoric is a clear and present threat to them."
What's next: Colorado Springs District Attorney Michael Allen said the investigation "will likely last for some time."
- Investigators say a potential motive remains under investigation. Authorities also say it remains under investigation whether more than one suspect was involved.
- Aldrich was arrested on suspicion of five counts of first-degree murder and five charges of committing a bias-motivated crime. The initial charges could change when they are formally filed, authorities said.
- In the coming days, the arrest warrant will be made public, Allen said, and the suspect will make his first appearance in court by video.
For the record: Aldrich was charged with felony kidnapping and menacing after he allegedly threatened his mother with a homemade bomb around a year and a half ago, according to AP.
- The Denver Gazette obtained video footage from the alleged incident on Monday.
- The previous charges raise questions about why authorities did not use Colorado’s "red flag" law to seize weapons and ammunition he possessed.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.