Clubbers stop gunman, mass shooting

Bar customers rise to the occasion and subdue a rampaging gunman

COLORADO SPRINGS, United States (AFP) — The gunman who opened fire inside an LGBTQ Colorado nightclub, killing at least five, was stopped by two “heroic” people inside the club, according to police.

Police said at least two individuals rushed at the shooter and overpowered him.

Barman Michael Anderson, who cowered on the patio of the nightclub to hide from the gunman, saw the shooter pinned to the floor.

“There were some very brave people beating him and kicking him, stopping him from causing more damage,” Anderson said.

“I don’t know who did that. But I really would like to know because I’m very grateful. They saved my life last night.”

Police identified the suspected gunman as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, and said he had used a rifle at the club, where partygoers were apparently marking Transgender Day of Remembrance, which ironically pays tribute to trans people targeted in violent attacks.

Eighteen people were wounded in the incident shortly before midnight, police said, adding that an unspecified number of the wounded remained in critical condition.

The shooting was the latest in a long history of attacks on LGBTQ venues in the United States, the deadliest of which claimed 49 lives at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016.

The suspect in Colorado Springs entered Club Q and immediately began shooting at people inside, police chief Adrian Vasquez told a press conference Sunday.

“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,” he added.

The authorities said the suspect was being treated at a local hospital but they released no other information about him, noting that officials including the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating.

Police spokesperson Pamela Castro said Sunday that police received an initial call about an active shooting in the club at 11:56 p.m. She said a first officer arrived within four minutes, and that the suspect had been subdued just two minutes later.

Club Q said on Facebook that it was “devastated by the senseless attack on our community,” adding, “We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”

Authorities said Sunday that the shooting had not yet been officially classified as a hate crime but that first-degree murder charges were certain to be filed.

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