Colorado Springs Police Congratulate Customers Who Disarmed Club Q Shooter
COLORADO SPRINGS – Police on Monday identified the five people killed and the two patrons who overpowered a gunman as he opened fire at an LGBTQ club.
“Too often, society loses track of the victims of these sad and tragic events in all talk about the suspect,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said. “We strive to give victims the dignity and respect they deserve.”
“We respect all members of our community, including our LGBTQ community, so we will identify victims in how they identified themselves and how their families loved and identified them,” Vasquez said.
The victims killed at Club Q on Saturday night have been identified as Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Ashley Paugh and Raymond Green Vance.
Seventeen other people were shot, one person was injured but not shot and another person was injured with no visible injuries, police said. The CEO of Penrose Hospital said three victims were in stable condition, but police did not provide an update on other hospitalized victims.
Thomas James and Richard Fierro were the two patrons who confronted the shooter, preventing him from killing others, Vasquez said.
Mayor John Suthers spoke with Fierro earlier Monday and praised his quick action to disarm the shooter.
“I’ve never met a person who engaged in such heroic actions who was so humble about it. He just said to me, ‘I was trying to protect my family,'” Suthers said, before to decline to provide further details.
Fierro, a brewery owner in Colorado Springs, told The New York Times that he tackled the shooter and pinned him to the ground. Fierro, who served in the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan, then beat the shooter with the shooter’s pistol, he told The Times.
Fierro was at the club with his wife and daughter, their daughter’s boyfriend and other friends celebrating a birthday party. The girl’s boyfriend, Green Vance, was among the five people killed.
Fierro told The Times he saw the gunman heading for a patio where many bar patrons had fled, so he ran across the room and pulled him to the ground. The man’s rifle landed out of his reach, and Fierro grabbed his pistol and repeatedly hit him in the head with it. Others joined in to help, including a drag performer who stomped on the shooter with her heels, Fierro said.
The shooter faces 10 preliminary charges, including five counts of first-degree murder after deliberation and five counts of committing a bias-motivated crime.
The investigation into the shooting may continue until the shooter’s trial date, 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said.
The suspect is expected to be discharged from the hospital within the next few days, Allen said. Thereafter, he will attend a court hearing for his first appearance and will be held in jail without bond.
Allen said his office would review the hate crime charges.
“It is important to let the community know that we do not condone bias-motivated crimes in this community, that we support communities that have been slandered, harassed, bullied and abused,” he said.
Police Lt. Pamela Castro urged those present at the club at the time of the shooting to contact the department.
“We know there were more people at the club and we would really like to talk to them,” Castro said.
Details of the injuries of the victims who survived the shooting were beginning to emerge on Monday. Family and friends said some had received multiple gunshot wounds.
Joe Shelton dropped Ed Sanders off at Club Q on Saturday night and the next time he saw his friend he was in hospital, where he was being treated for two gunshot wounds. Sanders was shot in the back and once in the leg and is recovering from surgery, Shelton said. He was still in the hospital Monday morning.
“He’s in good shape, smiling and moving forward,” he said.
Sanders, 63, is the webmaster and former board member of the United Court of the Pikes Peak Empire, a local nonprofit that organizes LGBTQ community socials and fundraising events – from bingo to drag shows — benefiting the community, Shelton said. . Last week, the organization’s board chose Sanders as the prince royal, a position that supports fundraising efforts and events.
Shelton described Sanders as an “incredible soul” who loves everyone and keeps a smile on his face. “He’s still strong and pushed through anything that brings people down,” he said.
Barrett Hudson was shot seven times in the back, he said speaking from a hospital bed via Facebook Live on Sunday evening.
Hudson said he went to Club Q to watch a drag show when a gunman walked in with what he believed to be an AR-15. He said he fell to the ground when he was shot, got up and ran to the back door and jumped onto a table and over a fence.
He ran to the nearby 7-Eleven, where passers-by helped him and he called his father, he said.
“I shouldn’t be alive,” Hudson said. “All the bullets missed my organs.”
“I really feel for the people who didn’t make it,” he said with tears in his eyes.
He called for more safety in LGBTQ clubs and community centers. “We are more targeted than other places,” he said. “Hate comes after us.”
Hudson said he was doing “incredible” in his recovery.