November 21, 2022 Mass shooting in Colorado Springs

By Mike Hayes, Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 9:59 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022
14 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
12:49 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

One of the "hero" patrons who stopped Club Q gunman was injured during shooting, police chief says

From CNN’s Amanda Watts 

One of the good Samaritans in the Club Q shooting was injured during the incident, Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez told CNN Monday.

Vasquez said if not for those “hero” patrons who stopped the gunman, countless more could have been injured. 

“One of them was injured and is in the hospital, I'm waiting for an update on him,” he said, adding it was a non-life threatening injury.  

“The other individual was not injured,” he said. “They did an amazing job,” Vasquez added. 

The chief said at least five people died during the shooting and “up to 30" were injured. Vasquez said the injured number is in flux as they continue the investigation.  

“I'm being a little cautious because injuries could range from being shot to maybe falling when trying to get it out of the building — and we're trying to really solidify those numbers,” he said. 

8:17 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Bar supervisor killed at Club Q was the best boss anyone could ask for, coworker says

From CNN's Eliott C. McLaughlin

Daniel Aston.
Daniel Aston. (Colorado Springs Police Department)

Colorado Springs police have not released the names of the deceased, but CNN has identified one of those killed in the Club Q shooting as Daniel Aston. His parents also confirmed his identity to a Denver newspaper.

Bartender Michael Anderson saw the gunman and ducked behind the bar where he and Aston worked as glass rained down around him, he told CNN on Monday. He thought he was going to die, said a prayer and as he moved to escape the scene, he saw two people who he didn’t know beating and kicking the gunman, he said.

Anderson was crushed to later learn Aston hadn’t made it out of the bar, which Colorado Springs’ LGBTQ community considered a safe space.

Aston, 28, was a bar supervisor at Club Q, said Anderson, who had known Aston for a few years and who considered him a friend.

“He was the best supervisor anybody could’ve asked for. He made me want to come into work, and he made me want to be a part of the positive culture we were trying to create there,” Anderson said.

He added that Aston was an “amazing person. He was a light in my life, and it’s surreal that we’re even talking about him in the past tense like this.”

Aston moved to Colorado Springs two years ago to be closer to his mother and father, parents Jeff and Sabrina Aston told The Denver Post. The club was a few minutes from their home, and after one of Daniel’s friends told them he’d been shot, they rushed to the emergency room – only to find he’d never arrived.

Daniel Aston was 4 years old when he told his mother he was a boy, and it was another decade before he came out as transgender, his mother told the newspaper. He thought himself bashful, but that wasn’t the case, she said. He never knew a stranger, even as a kid.

“He had so much more life to give to us, and to all his friends and to himself,” she told The Post.

“He always said, ‘I’m shy,’ but he wasn’t. He wrote poetry. He loved to dress up. He got into drama in high school. He’s an entertainer. That’s what he really loves.”

1:34 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Pulse nightclub owner said her first reaction to the Colorado Springs shooting was "not again"

Barbara Poma the owner of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were shot and killed in 2016, during an interview with CNN on Monday.
Barbara Poma the owner of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were shot and killed in 2016, during an interview with CNN on Monday. (CNN)

Barbara Poma the owner of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were shot and killed in 2016, said her first reaction to the shooting in Colorado Springs was "not again."

"I mean, I just thought to myself, not again. We can't keep doing this. It was heartbreaking and It was horribly sad," Poma said.

Poma said that she reached out to the owners of Club Q where the shooting occurred over the weekend in Colorado but she hasn't connected with them yet.

"I'm looking to connect with them because I sadly know all too well how they're feeling, what they're facing. And I would just love to be a source for them," she said.

She said that in her experience, it can be a "pretty lonely place to be sitting as the owner" of an establishment where an attack happened.

"The LGBTQ nightclubs are safe spaces for the community," Poma said. "And sometimes it is our chosen family and it is where they come to be completely free. And to have that taken away from you in such a horrific act of violence, and hate-fueled purpose, it is just, it is incomprehensible."
12:24 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Colorado Springs police chief says suspect is not speaking to investigators and charges to be filed soon

Colorado Springs Chief Adrian Vasquez during an interview with CNN on Monday.
Colorado Springs Chief Adrian Vasquez during an interview with CNN on Monday. (CNN)

Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said on CNN Monday that the suspect in the shooting is still hospitalized and is "determined not to speak to investigators." 

Asked about the reports that the suspect was arrested in 2021 after his mother reported to police that he allegedly threatened her with a homemade bomb, Vasquez said that she "has not been cooperative with law enforcement. "We did of course attempt to interview her. But we're not able to do that," he said.

"We would certainly welcome an interview with her at any time," he said, adding that police are pursuing interviews with other people who know the suspect.

Vasquez noted that no charges have been filed against the suspect yet, but he expects that to happen soon after he is released from the hospital.

"Right now we're waiting for the release of the suspect from the hospital. We'll get him down to our criminal justice center ... and those charges should be filed relatively soon after that," Vasquez said.
10:22 a.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Records indicate Colorado Springs shooting suspect purchased both guns himself, law enforcement sources says

From CNN's Evan Perez 

Records indicate that Anderson Lee Aldrich, the Colorado Springs mass shooting suspect, purchased both weapons brought to the attack — an AR-style rifle and a handgun, two law enforcement sources tell CNN.

CNN has not confirmed when those purchases were made.

The sources say Aldrich's 2021 arrest over a bomb threat would not have shown up in background checks because the case was never adjudicated, the charges were dropped, and the records were sealed. It is not clear what led to the sealing of the records.

The suspect doesn’t appear to have a large social media history that would readily help pinpoint a possible motive, according to the law enforcement sources.

 

11:45 a.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Colorado Springs mayor calls patrons who took down suspected gunman "heroic"

From CNN’s Isabel Rosales, Victor Ramirez, and Amanda Watts

The Mayor of Colorado Springs, John Suthers, said the “remarkable” intervention from patrons at Club Q ultimately saved many lives.

Speaking to CNN Monday morning, Suthers said “the thing that really was remarkable was the intervention of patrons that brought this thing to a halt very quickly.”

“The first dispatch call was 11:57 p.m., police arrive at 12 a.m., by the time they're in there at 12:02 a.m., he is subdued by patrons, and the police take him into custody,” Suthers laid out.

“We know that at least one patron was able to wrestle the gun away from him and use that gun to disable them, not by shooting them, but by hitting them, an incredible, heroic action that undoubtedly saved lives,” he added.

Investigators are already “getting a clearer picture,” as they speak to witnesses, Suthers said. “But we’ll be getting a much clearer picture over the next couple of days.”

Suthers thinks charges for the suspect will come “fairly quickly.”

“This is a community in mourning,” he said. “We are simply not going to let the actions of one single individual, regardless of what their motivations were, to define this community.”  

Mass shootings are “a thing that cities have to deal with and show their resiliency, but the only thing you can do is reach out, take care of the victims, and make sure that justice is served.”

9:23 a.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Colorado's attorney general says the state has too many mass shootings

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser speaks at a news conference in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday, September 15, 2021.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser speaks at a news conference in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. (David Zalubowski/AP/File)

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said his state has too many mass shootings.

“I do think, obviously, we've got to be concerned once again, to have a mass shooting Colorado,” Weiser said on CNN This Morning. “This is something that we have too much of in our state and we're going to keep looking at how we advance gun safety.”

In 2019, Colorado passed a controversial red flag law that allows family members, a roommate, or law enforcement to petition a judge to temporality seize a person’s firearms if they are deemed a risk. 

The suspected gunman, Anderson Aldrich, was previously arrested in June 2021 in connection with a bomb threat, authorities said.

When asked why the red flag law wasn’t used in Aldrich’s case, Weiser said it was “too early to make any decisions” about this case.

“We are working hard to educate and to bring more awareness about the red flag law,” Weiser said. “When law enforcement don't use this tool, it's not going to perform its function.”

“I do believe officers know we have a red flag law. We need to make sure it's top of mind and that everyone understands how it works and what the rationale and reasoning for it is. I don't have enough information to know exactly what the officers knew,” he said. “What we can do is make sure that we embrace this as a call to action to better educate about this law to make sure that law enforcement understands it and is able to use it to protect lives.”

The suspected gunman remains hospitalized for injuries he received during the incident. “Obviously he was taken alive and there will be a full investigation and law enforcement authorities are going to be working to make sure, to bring justice, to honor the victims, and so many people who are struggling to understand how could this have happened?”

11:08 a.m. ET, November 21, 2022

A packed vigil was held Sunday for Club Q shooting victims 

From CNN’s Nick Watt

Mourners hold candles during a candlelight vigil and interfaith service at Temple Beit Torah on November 20, in honor of the lives that were lost at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Mourners hold candles during a candlelight vigil and interfaith service at Temple Beit Torah on November 20, in honor of the lives that were lost at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images)

At a synagogue in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sunday night, every room was packed with more people overflowing outside into the cold.

A pride flag was draped across the bimah, and in the crowd could be seen pride flags and Christian crosses. 

The diverse cross section of community was there to be part of a vigil for the victims of Saturday's shooting at LGBTQ nightclub Club Q. At least five people were killed and 25 others injured when a gunman entered the club and immediately opened fire.

Aeron Laney and Justin Godwin said they left the club three minutes before the shooting. They just moved to Colorado Springs from California's central coast a few months ago. This was their first time ever going to Club Q. 

They estimated just 30 to 35 people in total were in the club, but said no more than 50.

"So it seemed like everybody, or nearly everybody in there must have been hurt," Laney said.

They found out Sunday morning what had happened, and came to the makeshift memorial that had formed outside the club.

They said you hear of things other places, but it’s hard to believe it happening where you live.

"It's crazy that it's here. It's not real. It's surreal," Godwin said. 

"This was our safe space," Laney said. "It felt like home."  

9:17 a.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Club Q surveillance video shows heavily-armed gunman wearing military-style flak jacket, owners tell NYT

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

The co-owners of Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, say they have reviewed surveillance video of the shooting that left at least five dead and 25 injured.

Speaking to the New York Times, Matthew Haynes and Nic Grzecka, co-owners of Club Q, said on the video they saw the heavily-armed gunman pull up wearing a military-style flak jacket. Haynes adding he used “tremendous firepower” when he entered the nightclub. 

Haynes told the newspaper the gunman had a rifle and what appeared to be six magazines of ammunition.

Once the gunman entered the building, he was quickly taken down by two people Haynes detailed.

“One customer took down the gunman and was assisted by another,” he said, adding the first person who intervened saved “dozens and dozens of lives. Stopped the man cold. Everyone else was running away, and he ran toward him.” 

Speaking to ABC, co-owner Nic Grzecka said the accused gunman, Anderson Aldrich, is not known at the club.

“He’s never spent money on a credit card or ID ever scanned in our business that we know of. I think this was a community of target for him,” Grzecka told Good Morning America.

CNN is working to contact the owners of the club.