The LGBTQ+ community all over the world is mourning the lives lost as a result of the mass shooting that took place on Sunday, November 20, at Club Q, a queer venue in Colorado Springs, US. Tributes are pouring in after the names of the victims were identified.
The attack at Club Q happened only minutes before midnight, when Anderson Lee Aldrich stepped into the bar and began shooting at the crowd, killing five people and injuring many more. The gunman was then bravely stopped by one of the patrons, who has been identified as former army officer Richard Fierro. According to his own account of the event, his military training kicked in as soon as he heard the first shots, and he was then helped by other patrons and one of the high-heeled performers in overpowering the assailant.
According to court documents released on November 21, Anderson Lee Aldrich now faces preliminary charges, including five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury.
In the wake of the horrific attack, friends, families and the LGBTQ+ community hosted vigils across Colorado Springs to pay tribute to the victims of this latest example of a deadly mass shooting. Many people gathered to mourn the deceased and share the memories they had of them.
“We shouldn’t have to be here tonight,” Allie Porter, one of the participants, told the crowd. “This isn’t fair to them or any single one of you. We shouldn’t have to be here. This shouldn’t have had to happen.”
— RIP Ashley Paugh, Raymond Green, Daniel Davis Aston, Derrick Rump and Kelly Loving ? and all victims of homophobia, transphobia and queerphobia MURDERED BY HATE ? #whatisrememberedlives pic.twitter.com/TnYxv7V9Df
— THE AIDS MEMORIAL (@theaidsmemorial) November 22, 2022
Burlesque performer Bunny Bee also spoke out, saying: “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in America continue to face discrimination in their daily lives because of anti-gay, anti-LGBTQ political agendas”. Bee added, “We need to continue to fight the hate, the politicians endangering the lives of this community.”
Tributes are also pouring in from the families and friends of the victims who have now been formally identified. Their names are Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh and Raymond Green Vance.
“We are in shock… I keep thinking it’s a mistake, they made a mistake, and that he is really alive,” said Sabrina Aston, mother of trans man and bartender Daniel Aston in a comment to the Associated Press. Aston’s cousin, Jacob Cummins, also shared a tribute message on Facebook saying, “I will miss you forever! I hope you finally get to meet our Grandpa Roy and tell him all about his grandsons… Nana is already probably spoiling you rotten as Nana does.”
All Souls Unitarian Church in downtown Colorado Springs is packed this morning for a vigil for the #ClubQ shooting. A few dozen people are waiting outside. Many hugs shared and tears shed. pic.twitter.com/F3K9YbR74f
— Olivia Prentzel ☀️ (@oliviaprentzel) November 20, 2022
“I guess I’m just waiting for someone to be like, ‘Oh, it’s the wrong Derrick,’” said Anthony Jaramillo, a friend of Derrick Rump, the other bartender who lost his life in the shooting. “Loving, supportive, with a heavy hand in his drink pouring, and just a really good listener and would not be afraid to tell you when you were wrong instead of telling you what you wanted to hear and that was really valuable.”
Ashley Paugh’s sister, Stephanie Clark, told NBC News: “It just doesn’t seem real… We’re heartbroken. We’re sad. We’re mad, angry”. Clark added, “Nothing will ever be the same without her.”
LGBT Ireland statement on Colorado Springs LGBTQI+ venue attack. pic.twitter.com/QPBCvs0eoG
— LGBT Ireland (@LGBT_ie) November 21, 2022
Raymond Green Vance was an ally of the queer community and the boyfriend of Richard Fierro’s daughter, the man who stopped the gunman. “He grabbed my daughter and they went and hid… he saved my daughter’s life,” Fierro told the Denver Post.
According to her sister Tiffany, Kelly Loving, a trans woman, “was loving, always trying to help the next person out instead of thinking of herself. She just was a caring person”.
Messages of mourning and tribute for the victims of the Colorado shooting arrived also from famous queer names like comedian Mae Martin and singer Dove Cameron. Martin penned a letter on Instagram expressing their rage towards politicians and legislators who attack the LGBTQ+ community and sharing their grief at having to witness such violence. “I’m heartened by the solidarity in my community, our ability to be resilient. I am always disappointed by the awkward nervous silence of our allies,” they wrote.
At the annual AMAs, Dove Cameron used her acceptance speech to speak out about the shooting, saying “I can’t stop thinking about Colorado today. Gay clubs raised me, basically. And I can confidently say that no one loves pop music more than gay clubs. So, my heart goes out to you”.
If you wish to directly help the families of the victims of Colorado Springs mass shooting that occurred at LGBTQ+ venue Club Q, you can donate to one of the two dedicated fundraisers at Colorado Healing Fund and GoFundMe.
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