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
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6:45 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Army veteran says he went into combat mode when tackling gunman in Club Q shooting, NY Times reports 

From CNN’s Raja Razek

FBI agents stand outside Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 21.
FBI agents stand outside Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 21. (Kevin Mohatt/Reuters)

A 45-year-old man who served in the army for nearly 15 years and had four combat deployments as an Army officer told the New York Times he "went into combat mode" when tackling the gunman in the Colorado Springs Club Q shooting.

Richard M. Fierro said he was at a table in Club Q with his wife, daughter and friends Saturday, watching a drag show when the gunfire erupted.

"I don't know exactly what I did, I just went into combat mode," Fierro told the Times. "I just know I have to kill this guy before he kills us."

According to the Times, Fierro said that as bullets sprayed, he saw the gunman move toward a door leading to a patio.                                                                                 

Fierro said he raced across the room and grabbed the gunman by a handle on the back of his body armor, pulled him to the floor and jumped on him, the report said.

"Was he shooting at the time? Was he about to shoot? I don't know," Fierro said in the interview. "I just knew I had to take him down."

"I grabbed the gun out of his hand and just started hitting him in the head, over and over," Fierro added.

CNN has reached out to Fierro for comment.

According to the Times, Fierro's daughter and wife are at home and still recovering from injuries.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said he had the opportunity to talk to Fierro. The mayor said the veteran had “saved a lot of lives" by tackling the suspect.

“I have never encountered a person who had engaged in such heroic actions that was so humble about it. He simply said to me, 'I was trying to protect my family,'” Suthers said at a news conference Monday.
6:22 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Officials still investigating motive and possibility of bias-motivated charges in nightclub shooting

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Though the motive in the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs is still under investigation, Michael Allen, the district attorney for El Paso County, said officials are looking into whether it was a bias-motivated crime.

In Colorado, hate crimes are referred to as "bias-motivated" crimes, Allen told CNN earlier Monday.

"It's important that if we have enough evidence to support bias-motivated crimes, to charge that. It's important for this community," Allen said, speaking at a news conference.

He said bias-motivated charges are Class 4 felonies — meaning that it’s not likely they would contribute to a longer sentence.

“We're obviously talking about five people that were killed. Those are going to be the top-end charges in this case without a doubt," he said. "Those charges will likely carry life in prison without parole, whereas the Class 4 felonies are probation-eligible offenses."

Although it wouldn’t elevate the sentence, Allen said adding bias-motivated charges where applicable is important to show the community that the city does not tolerate that kind of hate.

Asked if the suspect could face federal hate crime charges, US Attorney for the District of Colorado Cole Finegan said his office is still reviewing information.

6:36 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Nightclub shooting suspect expected to appear virtually in court in the next few days, DA says

From CNN's Elise Hammond and Raja Razek

Michael Allen, th
Michael Allen, th (KMGH)

Michael Allen, the district attorney for El Paso County, said the suspect in the nightclub shooting is expected to appear virtually in court from jail after he is released from the hospital.

The man accused of killing five people and injuring more than a dozen others over the weekend is currently in the hospital, according to law enforcement. Once he is released, there will be a first appearance scheduled with the court, Allen said at a news conference Monday. He said that is expected to happen in the next few days.

"We will advise the suspect at that time of the arrest charges and his bond status. He is being held without bond so he will not have the opportunity to be bonded out," Allen said.

The district attorney said formal charges have not yet been filed against the suspect. The next step in a case like this is for an arrest warrant to be written up supported by a probable cause affidavit – and that has to be submitted to a judge for approval of the arrest.

Allen also noted that while those documents will be initially sealed, they will be available to the public "at some point in the coming days."

"Once the case is transferred to us for formal charging, we will review the evidence and then determine final charges. It is also very customary that final charges may be different than what is in the arrest affidavit," Allen said.

“Typically, there will be more charges in a case like this when we do formal charging than what is listed in the arrest affidavit," he said.

Within a few days of the first appearance "is when we will return to the courtroom and file the formal charges in the court," according to Allen.

5:54 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

5 victims of Colorado Springs shooting named as police chief honors them with a moment of silence

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez holds a moment of silence during the press conference on Monday.
Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez holds a moment of silence during the press conference on Monday. (KMGH)

Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez offered a moment of silence to honor the five people killed during a shooting at a nightclub over the weekend.

He said society loses often track of the victims when focusing on the suspect of the crime.

At a news conference Monday, the police chief asked that "everyone in the community honor each victim."

Vasquez released the following names of those killed.

The information was also provided by the Colorado Springs Police Department on Twitter:

  • Raymond Green Vance (he/him)
  • Kelly Loving (she/her)
  • Daniel Aston (he/him)
  • Derrick Rump (he/him)
  • Ashley Paugh (she/ her)

After the moment of silence for victims, Vasquez said the department continues its investigation to seek justice for the victims.

5:40 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Video appears to show Colorado Springs shooting suspect ranting about police during 2021 standoff

From CNN's Nelli Black and Casey Tolan 

New video obtained by CNN appears to show Anderson Lee Aldrich ranting about police during a standoff in 2021.
New video obtained by CNN appears to show Anderson Lee Aldrich ranting about police during a standoff in 2021. (From Facebook)

New video obtained by CNN appears to show the Colorado Springs shooting suspect ranting about police last year during a standoff. 

Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was arrested after allegedly making a bomb threat in June 2021, live-streamed the video from his mother’s Facebook page, according to his mother’s former landlord. 

Leslie Bowman, who owns the home where the standoff took place and where Aldrich’s mother had been renting a room, said she screen-recorded the video, which has since been deleted, and provided it to CNN. 

The brief video shows a few seconds of an agitated young man — identified by Bowman as Aldrich — wearing a helmet and some type of body armor, and challenging law enforcement to breach the house where he had holed up. 

The video does not actually show any officers outside the house and it’s not clear from the video whether Aldrich had any weapons in the house.  

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release at the time that Aldrich had threatened to harm his mother “with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition,” and that several nearby homes had been evacuated. 

Aldrich later surrendered to sheriff’s deputies, which was seen in other video footage previously reported by CNN. The sheriff’s office said no explosives were found in the house. 

It is not immediately clear how the bomb threat case was resolved, but the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the district attorney’s office said no formal charges were pursued in the case. The district attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment from CNN. 

Attempts by CNN to reach Aldrich’s mother for comment were unsuccessful. 

4:37 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

US Navy sailor injured in Club Q shooting, spokesperson says

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

A Navy sailor was among those injured in the Colorado night club shooting on Saturday night, a Navy spokesperson tells CNN.

At this time, the sailor’s name and condition are not yet being released.

 

4:32 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Club Q shooting survivor describes people helping each other after the gunman stopped shooting

From CNN’s Rosa Flores, Rosalina Nieves and Jennifer Marnowski

While ordering a drink at the Club Q bar in Colorado Springs, Ed Sanders, 63, was shot in the back and leg when a gunman opened fire inside the nightclub. He said the chaos of the shooting immediately gave way to victims helping each other.

Sanders, who lost friends in the shooting over the weekend, said the entire incident happened very quickly.

“The shooting started and I was hit in the back and I turned around and saw him and it was very fast,” Sanders told CNN from his hospital bed Monday. “The second volley took my leg and I fell. Everybody fell, pretty much.”

“After the shooting stopped, people were screaming and people were helping each other,” Sanders said. “Several people asked about me. I said that I was hit, but it didn’t seem that bad. The shot to my back didn’t feel like what it left, which is a big scooped out wound,” he explained, motioning with his hands.

Sanders saw the gunman, but couldn’t make out the words the man uttered as he opened fire by the door.

“It seemed like he was firing from his waist, but it was happening so fast, I didn’t really grasp what was going on until I got shot in the leg,” Sanders said.

While Sanders caught a glimpse of the gunman, he did not see the two people who rushed to stop the shooting.

“I didn’t see who the heroes were,” Sanders said. “God bless them, It could have been a lot worse if they hadn’t stepped in when they did.”

In the initial moments after the gunshots, a wounded Sanders tried to assist the woman who was injured right next to him. 

“I put my coat over her. She was shivering and not breathing very well,” he said. “I encouraged her to breathe… and don’t know what happened to her.”

Sanders said he could hear people helping people, some asking for tourniquets. He also lauded the quick police response.

“Police were there in two minutes, but it sounded like an eternity when it was happening, but they were there very fast," he said.

4:20 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

El Paso County district attorney: Some evidence points to nightclub shooting being bias-motivated

From CNN’s Amanda Musa

An aerial view shows police tape around Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 21.
An aerial view shows police tape around Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 21. (Drone Base/Reuters)

Michael Allen, the district attorney for El Paso County said there is some evidence that the suspect in Saturday night’s mass shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub had animosity toward the community.

In Colorado, hate crimes are referred to as "bias-motivated" crimes, Allen says.

“We will review all of the evidence and make appropriate filing decisions in this case as it relates to any bias-motivated crimes, but it's important to note that five people lost their lives, so those murder charges are going to be by and large the top-end charges in this case,” Allen told CNN on Monday.

If the evidence in the case “supports bias-motivated crimes,” then the district attorney’s office will go ahead and file charges. 

“The location is some evidence. The fact that these victims were in a specific location that is predominantly frequented by members of the LGBTQ community… that is evidence and we can use toward the decision of bias-motivated crimes, but we're looking for other evidence as well as that,” Allen said.

When asked if officials had uncovered any social media accounts from the suspect, Allen said he could not answer that question. 

Allen also chose not to comment on where the suspect had bought the two weapons used in the shooting.

Meanwhile, Allen says the suspect is capable of speaking with law enforcement at this time but added, “I’m going to leave it at that. I don't want to infringe upon his right to remain silent." 

Allen says the suspect does have an attorney but did not name that attorney.

4:07 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

First lady Jill Biden says Colorado Springs shooting "hurts our hearts"

From CNN's Allie Malloy

Following the tragic shooting in Colorado Springs that left five dead at an LGBTQ nightclub Saturday, first lady Jill Biden said Monday it “hurts our hearts” that gun violence keeps going “on and on."

Asked about the shooting while receiving the official White House Christmas tree, Biden said: “It just hurts our hearts really that this keeps going on and on. I just know it sounds hollow to say our hearts and prayers are with them.” 

“Joe and I just feel ... we’re just heartbroken like the rest of America,” the first lady added.  

Biden said she didn’t know whether she and the president would visit Colorado.