After entering Club Q, an LGBT nightclub in Colorado Springs, and began shooting into the crowd with an assault rifle, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich was overpowered by two patrons. The authorities confirmed during a press conference organized Monday evening the identity of these two saviors, described as “heroes”: Richard Fierro and Thomas James.
“I have never met someone who has shown so much heroism and who remains so humble,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said of Richard Fierro. This 45-year-old former soldier told the New York Times having grabbed the shooter from behind as he headed for the terrace, where customers had taken refuge. Once the shooter was on the ground, Richard Fierro jumped on him. “I took his gun in his hand and started hitting him in the head, over and over again.” He then held him down with the help of Thomas James. A drag queen stomped on the shooter with her stilettos.
I don’t know exactly what I did, I just went into combat mode. I just knew I had to kill this guy before he killed us.
Five people died in the shooting and no less than 17 were injured by bullets, said the police, who counted another injured and “victims without visible injuries.
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The shooter, arrested when the police arrived on site, is still hospitalized. He is expected to appear before a judge via video within days of being released from the hospital, according to the El Paso County prosecutor. He is already being held without the possibility of bail. Anderson Lee Aldrich has not yet been charged, but could face charges including murder and hate crimes. He faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
It was shortly before midnight, just after the performance of drag queens that marked Transgender Day of Remembrance – dedicated to victims of transphobic violence and celebrated internationally on November 20 – that the horror entered Club Q. The “motivated crime by hatred” means in the United States an act directed against a targeted person because of elements of his identity such as race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or disability. Considered an aggravated federal offence, it carries harsher sentences.
A huge crowd gathered in Denver in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. We will be united in strength and unity against hate and violence.
We’re with you Colorado Springs.
— Rep. Brianna Titone – COHD27 (@BriannaForCO) November 22, 2022
On Monday evening, hundreds of people gathered in a park in Colorado-Springs to hold a vigil, in tribute to the victims, illuminated by candles. Speakers hailed the resilience of the LGBT+ community. This attack comes six years after the worst massacre experienced by the LGBT + community in the United States when an American of Afghan origin killed 49 people in a gay club in Orlando, Florida.
“When politicians and pundits continue to circulate clichés, insults and misinformation about the trans and LGBT + community, here is the result,” Brianna Titone, the first transgender legislator elected to the Colorado parliament, blasted Sunday. This umpteenth killing also illustrates the problem of the circulation of firearms in very large numbers in the country: 601 mass shootings have been recorded in the United States since the beginning of 2022, according to the organization Gun Violence Archive.
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