November 20, 2022 mass shooting in Colorado Springs

By Matt Meyer, Maureen Chowdhury and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 8:48 PM ET, Sun November 20, 2022
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2:38 p.m. ET, November 20, 2022

Until recently, Club Q was the only LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs

From CNN's Eric Levenson

Flowers and a sign reading "Love Over Hate" are left near Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 20.
Flowers and a sign reading "Love Over Hate" are left near Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 20. (Jason Connolly/AFP/Getty Images)

Club Q opened in 2002 and was, until recently, the only LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, the state’s second-most populous city with just under 500,000 residents.

“Proudly queer Club Q has stood as a bastion of the LGBTQ community where others have fallen,” 5280 magazine wrote in a story last year. “It’s where LGBTQ folks go for drag performances, dance parties, and drinks, and it supports the community with event sponsorships, pride celebrations, charity drives, and more. While the club has recently shifted to offering more low-key ‘dinner and a show’ vibes before 10 p.m., it’s still known as the place for queer young adults to go and get their dance on.”

In a July 2020 interview with Colorado Springs Indy, Club Q owner Nic Grzecka explained why he and his business partner opened the establishment.

“The whole idea of this place (Club Q) is to have a safe place — to get a permanent one in the city,” Grzecka says.

He and his business partner toured other successful LGBTQ spaces and noted a common theme: “They were gay as hell,” Grzecka told the outlet. “They had go-go dancers and drag queens and bartenders in jockstraps. We knew we had to be gay as hell (to survive).”

The venue also hosts events for people of all ages, including brunches and an upcoming Thanksgiving event.

CNN's Alaa Elassar contributed to this report.

12:25 p.m. ET, November 20, 2022

Several people are in critical condition after club shooting, hospital officials say

Several victims from the Club Q shooting are in critical condition and being treated at hospital intensive care units, officials from Penrose Hospital and UCHealth Memorial Hospital system told reporters Sunday.

Penrose Hospital chief medical officer Dr. Bill Plauth said seven victims were taken to his hospital with two people remaining in critical care. Critical care implies the injuries are life-threatening, he added.

"The other five patients mainly had extremity injuries and two have already been treated and released back to the community," he said. "The others that have been admitted to the hospital, still undergoing treatment."

Dr. David Steinbruner, of UCHealth Memorial Hospital system, said that his medical center received a total of 10 patients.

"Both trauma teams at both hospitals were spun up and responded, the ERs responded, and we (were) able to take care of this very rapidly, and get the patients taken care of as well as we could at the time," he said.

"We do have patients in critical condition as well," Steinbruner said. "Several people being taken care of in our ICU."

The injured victims were transferred to three different hospitals, according to Fire Chief Randy Royal.  

Centura Penrose Hospital received seven patients, UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central received 10 patients, and UCHealth Memorial Hospital North received two, Royal said.  

12:05 p.m. ET, November 20, 2022

Police say they’re investigating whether shooting was a hate crime

From CNN's Michelle Watson

Police Chief Adrian Vasquez speaks during a press conference on Sunday.
Police Chief Adrian Vasquez speaks during a press conference on Sunday. (CNN)

It's too early to determine if the shooting at Club Q was a hate crime, Colorado Springs police said Sunday morning, but the department will consider that possibility going forward.

"The motive of the crime is part of the investigation and whether this was a hate crime is a part of that investigation," Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said. 

"There's a lot of work to be done,” added Michael Allen, the district attorney for Colorado's 4th Judicial District.

At this time, his office is serving in a supporting capacity, but in the next few days the case will be transferred to the district attorney for charges and additional suspects.   

"I can promise you that the DA's office will put together a strong team, and we will work tirelessly to achieve justice," Allen said.   

“Every person, regardless of who they are, has a 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,” he added.

In a statement early Sunday morning, the club referred to the shooting as a "hate attack."

2:40 p.m. ET, November 20, 2022

District attorney identifies 22-year-old man as shooting suspect

From CNN's Michelle Watson   

T shooting suspect has been identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, said Michael Allen, district attorney for Colorado's 4th Judicial District, during a news conference.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said that, according to witnesses, the suspect entered Club Q with a rifle and started firing.  

"Initial evidence and interviews indicate that the suspect entered Club Q and immediately began shooting at people inside as he moved further into the club," Vasquez said.

"While the suspect was inside of the club, 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. As the investigation is still in its early stages we are not going to identify any of the witnesses inside of the club at this time," Vasquez continued.

A long rifle was used in the shooting and two firearms were found at the scene, Vasquez told reporters.

The police are not naming witnesses or those killed at this time, Vasquez said. Police are still working to identify the victims and notify families. 

10:43 a.m. ET, November 20, 2022

Colorado governor: Mass shooting at Club Q is "sickening"

From CNN's Michelle Watson   

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks during a news conference on November 1.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks during a news conference on November 1. (David Zalubowski/AP)

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, the nation's first openly gay governor, called the deadly Club Q mass shooting in Colorado Springs "sickening."  

“This is horrific, sickening, and devastating. My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured, and traumatized in this horrific shooting," Polis said in a statement, according to his office.  

"I have spoken with Mayor Suthers and made it clear that every state resource is available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs. We are eternally grateful for the brave individuals who blocked the gunman likely saving lives in the process and for the first responders who responded swiftly to this horrific shooting. Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn together.” 

Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper also reacted to the mass shooting on Twitter.   

"Horrendous to hear about the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs. An unspeakable act. We have to protect LGBTQ lives from this hate," Hickenlooper tweeted.

Bennet tweeted:  "I’m devastated to hear about the shooting in Colorado Springs that cut five more lives tragically short. I’m thinking of their families and loved ones, and sending strength to those who were injured, the survivors, and Colorado’s LGBTQ community."  

10:37 a.m. ET, November 20, 2022

Colorado Springs hospital says it's treating at least five people from the Club Q shooting

From CNN's Michelle Watson  

First responders secure the scene of the shooting at Club Q on Sunday.
First responders secure the scene of the shooting at Club Q on Sunday. (Trey Deabueno//Twitter/Reuters)

At least five patients wounded in the mass shooting at Club Q are in treatment at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central in Colorado Springs, the vice president for hospital communications Dan Weaver said.  

 In an email to CNN, Weaver wrote:  

"Our thoughts are with our Colorado Springs community and everyone involved in the tragic shooting late Saturday night. UCHealth Memorial is caring for five patients from the incident. We do not have any additional information to share at this time."  

At least five people were killed during the mass shooting and 18 others were injured, CNN previously reported.  

8:57 a.m. ET, November 20, 2022

Club Q credits "heroic" customers for taking down gunman

From CNN's Andy Rose

Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Kevin Mohatt/Reuters)

In a statement on Facebook, Club Q said it was “devastated by the senseless attack on our community” and offered condolences to victims and their families.

“We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack,” the statement said.

Details of how the shooting ended have yet to be released, but a police spokesperson said “this was not an officer-involved shooting."

8:58 a.m. ET, November 20, 2022

At least 5 people killed, 18 injured in a shooting at LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs

From CNN's Andy Rose

Police respond to the scene of a shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 20.
Police respond to the scene of a shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 20. (Kevin Mohatt/Reuters)

At least five people were killed and 18 others injured in a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub on Saturday in Colorado Springs, Colorado, according to police.

Authorities received numerous 911 calls starting at 11:57 p.m. local time and responded to the scene at Club Q, said Colorado Springs Police Lt. Pamela Castro.

“They did locate one individual who we believe to be the suspect inside,” said Castro. “At this point in time, the suspect is being treated, but is in custody.”

Castro did not clarify whether the suspect was included in the count of people who were injured in the shooting.

Police declined to speak about a possible motive. Colorado Springs Fire Capt. Mike Smaldino said 11 ambulances responded to the scene after multiple 911 calls were received.

“We will be here for many, many hours to come,” said Castro, adding that the FBI is on the scene and assisting.