November 20th is a date that since 1999 has been celebrated as International Transgender Day of Remembrance. Remembering and celebrating trans individuals who have been murdered is a key part of moving forward as a community and learning to be more aware and accepting.
While this should have been a day for recognition of the past, this year November 20th was a tragedy.
Club Q is a name we’ve all become too familiar with. The shooting that took place at Colorado Springs’ LGBTQ+ bar impacted the whole of our community. The night ended with five dead and nineteen wounded.
The names of the victims are Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, and Ashley Paugh. They were all much loved members of their community who are grieved by many. You can hear their families’ statements here.
While the trauma of this event will be a lifelong pain for those affected, the event only lasted roughly six minutes. The first call to 911 was received at 11:56 pm. Police were dispatched within a minute. In the time that it took for them to arrive at Club Q, Anderson Lee Aldrich had used their AR-style rifle to unleash terror. They were in custody by 12:02 am.
In addition to the rifle he shot that night, Aldrich was also carrying a handgun, though they didn’t use it. The shooter had a history of threatened violence, which raises questions about Colorado’s red flag law, and about whether or not this event could have been prevented.
Aldrich faces five counts of first degree murder, as well as five counts of a bias-motivated crime- otherwise called a hatecrime. As of this article being written, Aldrich is still in custody and does not have a trial date.
Though Aldrich had excessive firepower and clear hateful intentions, they were taken down soon after entering the club. Richard Fierro, who was there with his family, and a trans-woman recognized as the club performer Del Lusional, are credited with stopping the attacker and saving dozens of lives.
Fierro, who has a background with the army, wrested the gun out of Aldrich’s hands soon after realizing what was happening. He and Del Lusional were attacking the shooter when police entered the club. Before police entered, the shooter had already been disabled, sealing the two that took them down as heroes.
Since the event, Colorado has been mourning our losses. Moving forward, we must remember and honor the victims and those who took up the fight to keep their community safe. November 20th should be a day to celebrate trans individuals of our past and present- now we add five innocents to the list of those mourned on this date.
For the time being, Club Q is closed to the public. You can make donations to the survivors here.
Alvarado, Caroll. “A bartender who found a place to shine. A non-profit worker with a 'huge heart.' These are the victims of the Colorado club shooting.” CNN, 22 November 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/21/us/club-q-colorado-shooting-victims. Accessed 5 December 2022.
“Details are coming to light about the alleged gunman who killed five people at an LGBTQ nightclub.” CNN, 23 November 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/22/us/colorado-suspect-background-aldrich-invs/index.html. Accessed 8 December 2022.
“Extreme Risk Protection Orders | Colorado General Assembly.” Colorado General Assembly |, https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb19-1177. Accessed 8 December 2022.
Karimi, Faith. “Six minutes of terror: How the deadly Club Q shooting unfolded.” CNN, 22 November 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/22/us/colorado-springs-nightclub-shooting-narrative-cec/index.html. Accessed 8 December 2022.
Land, Olivia. “Heroic patron stomped on gunman's head with high heels during Colorado club massacre.” New York Post, 22 November 2022, https://nypost.com/2022/11/22/trans-woman-army-vet-hailed-as-heroes-for-ending-colorado-massacre/. Accessed 13 December 2022.
Wolfe, Elizabeth, and Dakin Andone. “What we know about the suspect in the Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub shooting.” CNN, 22 November 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/21/us/anderson-lee-aldrich-colorado-springs-shooting-suspect/index.html. Accessed 12 December 2022.
Eddy Merritt is a junior at Poudre High School. She is the head author of Cacophony blog, and this is her first year writing for Poudre Press. She is deeply involved in Fort Collins culture and is inspired by the work her peers do. You can check out her blog, Cacophony, here.