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Gay Club Shooting Suspect Evaded Colorado's 'Red Flag' Law

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

A gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring 18 before he was subdued by “heroic” patrons and arrested, reports the Associated Press. Two firearms, including a “long rifle,” were found at Club Q after the Saturday night shooting, said Police Chief Adrian Vasquez. The attack may be prosecuted as a hate crime, said El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen. Charges will likely include first-degree murder. Police identified the gunman as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, who was being treated for injuries. Last year, Aldrich allegedly threatened his mother with a homemade bomb, forcing neighbors in surrounding homes to evacuate while the bomb squad and crisis negotiators talked him into surrendering. Despite that scare, there’s no record prosecutors moved forward with felony kidnapping and menacing charges against Aldrich, or that police or relatives tried to trigger Colorado’s “red flag” law that would have allowed authorities to seize the weapons and ammo the man’s mother says he had with him.

Authorities were called to the Club Q at 11:57 p.m. Saturday. “At least two heroic people” confronted the gunman and stopped the shooting, Vasquez said, adding: “We owe them a great debt of thanks.” One patron who had been partying moments before grabbed a handgun from Aldrich, hitting him with it and pinning him down until police arrived minutes later. The case recalled the 2016 massacre at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Fl., when 49 people were killed. The Colorado case was the sixth mass killing this month and came in a year when the nation was shaken by the deaths of 21 in a school shooting in Uvalde, Tx. Club Q is a gay and lesbian nightclub that features a “Drag Diva Drag Show” on Saturdays. Drag events have become a focus of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and protests as opponents, including politicians, have proposed banning children from such events and falsely claim they’re being used to “groom” children.


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