TL;DR: Last weekend, five people were killed and at least 19 were injured in a mass shooting at an LGBTQIA+ nightclub in Colorado. The shooter was arrested at the scene and appeared in court for the first time this week.
Our hearts are heavy after another horrific attack on our community. Before we go into what happened, we want to honour the victims.
Daniel Davis Aston, 28 - He was a bartender and performer at Club Q, where the attack occurred. Daniel was a trans man who had moved back to Colorado Springs from Oklahoma to be closer to his family. His parents regularly went to his shows, where they said they were treated like “king and queen”.
Derrick Rump, 38 - He was a bartender and co-owner of Club Q. According to numerous reports, Derrick and Daniel made Club Q a save haven for queer people in Colorado Springs. A friend described him as “loving, supportive, with a heavy hand in his drink pouring”.
Kelly Loving, 40 - Kelly was a trans woman on a weekend away from her home in Denver, who her sister described as “always trying to help the next person out instead of thinking of herself”.
Ashley Paugh, 35 - Ashley visited Club Q after a day trip in Colorado Springs from her home in La Junta. Her sister said she “lived for her daughter,” who is 11-years-old, and was a “loving, caring person”.
Raymond Green Vance, 22 - A Colorado Springs resident, Raymond was living with his mother and young brother while saving up for his own home. His mother said he “stepped in as the man of the house” when his father went to prison and would be “greatly missed”.
What else happened?
After the attack began, the shooter was taken down by army veteran Richard M. Fierro, who managed to take the attacker’s gun - New York Times
A trans woman aided Fierro in disarming the attacker, using her high heels as a weapon to stop the attacker - Them
The suspect has now been identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, who is non-binary according to official court documents - Guardian
Witnesses of the attack have spoken out about their experiences - Guardian
Several funds have been set up since the attack, raising money for the victims’ funeral expenses and medical costs for those injured - Harper’s Bazaar
It is hard to find the words when something like this happens to our community.
It is hard to know what to do with the emotions it brings up. How to make sure this doesn’t happen again. How to support the victims and their families.
Especially at a time when hate crime is on the rise, legislation is being introduced across the world that discriminates against us, and public figures don’t support us.
In the immediate aftermath, it can be helpful to focus on making sure you, and the LGBTQIA+ people around you, are okay. We can’t fix the world overnight, but we can reach out for support and offer it to our friends and queer families.
Find somewhere to put your feelings. Channel them into art, like Jen White Johnson did so beautifully. Write them down, like poets Aiysha Humphreys or Jay Hulme have. Talk about them with someone you love.
Here is a list of LGBTQIA+ focused support services. Please reach out if you’re struggling - Mind
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