Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was named as the perpetrator who allegedly killed five people at a Colorado gay bar before being apprehended by two revellers.
Officials said the gunman opened fire Saturday night at Club Q, an LGBT venue in Colorado Springs that was hosting a drag show and dance party when the bullets started flying.
Authorities claimed at a press conference on Sunday morning that Aldrich entered the club just before midnight and promptly opened fire, not stopping until other customers subdued him.
“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,” said Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez.
Police arrived three minutes after receiving a 911 call, and were able to apprehend the suspect two minutes later, cops said. Aldrich was injured and was being held in protective custody at a local hospital.
Two firearms were recovered at the scene, and witnesses told officials that the attacker had used a long rifle.
Investigators were still working to determine a motive, as they weighed whether to pursue hate-crime charges against the suspect. The raps “will likely include first-degree murder,” said El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen.
“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,” Allen said.
Police were investigating whether the accused gunman was the same Anderson Lee Aldrich who was charged with felony menacing and kidnapping after his mother reported he threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons in 2021.
Local reports said at the time that no explosives were found and that prosecutors did not pursue any charges. The records in the case were sealed.
The identification of the victims was not immediately released, pending family notification, police said.
Eighteen injured victims from Saturday’s mass shooting were being treated at local hospitals Sunday. At least seven of them were in critical condition.
It was unclear if they had all been shot, and police said some had been hurt while trying to flee.
The FBI was assisting police with the investigation.
President Biden issued a statement again calling for a ban on assault weapons and saying that while the motive was unclear, “we know that the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to horrific hate violence in recent years.”
The massacre was not the first time Colorado Springs, a city of nearly a half million people located about 70 miles south of Denver, has been marred by a mass shooting.
In 2015, three people were killed and eight injured when a crazed man who opposed abortions opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
“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,” Mayor John Suthers said.
The shooting also brought back painful memories of the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, when a Muslim man who had frequented gay clubs in the past and express disdain for “filthy” members of the LGBTQ community killed 49 people.
With Post wires