Mourners gathered Monday to pay their respects to those killed in the horrific attack on an LGBTQ+ nightclub in the US city of Colorado Springs, as new information emerged about the victims and alleged perpetrators — as well as those who helped stop the bloodshed.
All victims have been identified. They include Kelly Loving, 40, a trans woman who was visiting Colorado Springs for the weekend; Raymond Green Vance, 22, a Colorado Springs resident who had just gotten his first real job and was visiting a bar with his girlfriend; and Ashley Paugh, 35, a wife and mother of five who was in town to see the stand-up comedian.
Two staff members, Daniel Aston, 28, and Derrick Rump, 38, were also killed in the attack.
Richard Fierro, the father of Vance’s girlfriend and a 45-year-old Army veteran, disarmed the shooter while Thomas James assisted him.
“Their exact actions are part of the investigation, so we can’t discuss specifics out of respect for the court process, but with their permission, we want to acknowledge their heroic actions,” the Colorado Springs Police Department tweeted to identify and honor Fierro and James.
Club Q in Colorado Springs has been something of a haven for the city’s queer community for more than two decades.
On Saturday night, a gunman — said to be identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich — entered the premises and opened fire, killing five and injuring up to 19 others.
Authorities have yet to reveal a motive for the attack, although some are already describing it as a hate crime.
Since the attack, a makeshift memorial has appeared near the nightclub where mourners have gathered to pray, leave flowers and comfort each other. Further vigils are planned throughout Colorado this week.
In response to the attack, US President Joe Biden released a statement acknowledging the “horrific hate violence” the country’s LGBTQ+ community has faced in recent years and condemned how “another community in America ha[d] torn apart by armed violence.”
The Colorado Springs nightclub shooting is one of a series of gun attacks targeting America’s LGBTQ+ community.
The deadliest to date occurred at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016, resulting in 49 deaths.