Colorado Springs shooting latest: Suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich released from hospital

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Army veteran gives account of tackling Colorado Springs gunman

Colorado Springs shooting suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich is facing at least five counts of murder along with five charges of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury.

At least five people were killed and 18 others sustained injuries when the 22-year-old suspect stormed into an LGBT+ nightclub just before Saturday midnight and opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle.

The suspect was taken down by an Army veteran named Richard Fierro, with the help of a trans woman who stomped on the suspect.

“It’s the reflex,” Mr Fierro told reporters on Monday evening, describing how he ran across the room, grabbed the shooter’s weapon, pulled hm to the floor, and began hitting him with his own pistol.

On Tuesday President Joe Biden phoned Mr Fierro to personally thank him for “his bravery and his just instinct to act”.

Police named the five people who died as Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Ashley Paugh and Raymond Green Vance, listing their pronouns along with their names.

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‘It’s like we could feel tragedy coming’

One Colorado Springs resident says there has been a “growing hatred” for the LGBT+ community in his town.

Parker Grey, 25, told NBC News: “You can just feel it. As a community, being through so much grief and so much loss after so many years, it’s almost like you can feel tragedy coming.

“The numbers thinned out at [Club Q] naturally with Covid, but I think people began to fear for their safety again like they did back in 2016 when Pulse happened.” That was a reference to the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, where 49 people were killed.

Colorado Springs has also seen recent controversies over LGBT+ inclusion in schools. A local school board member apologising earlier this year for sharing a transphobic meme on social media, while a trans teenage girl said she was barred from her homecoming dance because she wore a dress.

Another resident, who was previously part of an evangelical megachurch before coming out as gay, told The New York Times that the shooting was “definitely a wake up call”, concluding: “It’s still not safe.”

Io Dodds23 November 2022 06:40

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How Colorado has fared for LGBT+ rights

Like many states, Colorado has a long history of anti-LGBT+ discrimination. In 1992, 53 per cent of voters approved an amendment to the state’s constitution that prevented any cities from enacting legal protections for gay, lesbian, or bisexual people.

Controversy over the amendment caused some film and TV productions, as well as various conferences and conventions, to boycott Colorado, much like North Carolina and Georgia suffered in 2016 and 2017 due to their anti-transgender “bathroom bills”. It was ultimately overturned by the US Supreme Court in 1996.

Ten years later, voters passed another constitutional amendment that banned the state from recognising gay marriages, declaring that “only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid in this state”. That too was overturned when the Supreme Court ruled that all Americans have a right to gay marriage in 2015.

Today, though, the non-profit Movement Advancement Project describes Colorado as one of the top US states for LGBT+ equality, citing its comprehensive non-discrimination laws, lack of religious exemptions, ban on conversion therapy, and various other factors.

Io Dodds23 November 2022 05:25

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Club Q patron says it was a ‘sanctuary’

A Club Q regular who lost two friends in the shooting has described how it served as a “sanctuary” for him and his community.

According to Buzzfeed News, a man named Anthony, who did not want to give reporters his last name, said he expects to feel uncomfortable going out in public for a long time.

“That has always been one of my mom’s biggest worries and concerns – going out and being gay and not having somewhere to go,” Anthony said.

“But when I was welcomed into Q by a bunch of people, I knew that I had a home. I had a safe space, and they made sure that everybody knew that it was a safe space.”

Io Dodds23 November 2022 04:19

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Prosecutors can’t explain why 2021 case was dropped

Colorado prosecutors still refuse to say why a case against the shooting suspect was dropped last June, citing state laws designed to shield acquitted defendants from discrimination.

Interviewed on CBS News earlier this evening, district attorney Michael Allen said he couldn’t disclose anything about the previous arrest of suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich because any dismissed case is “almost automatically” sealed.

He pushed back on the news anchor’s suggestion that dropping the case allowed the suspect to evade firearms regulations, saying: “You’re jumping ahead a little bit to a conclusion that is not necessarily supported.”

Mr Allen also discussed the nature of the hate crime allegations against Mr Aldrich, which are known in Colorado as “bias-motivated crimes”.

“We would have to show that he had some sort of animus, that he specifically targeted some groups,” he said.

“Sexual orientation is one of the groups that fall under that matrix. There’s obviously some evidence here that he may have targeted the location for that reason.”

Io Dodds23 November 2022 03:12

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Anti-trans conservatives double down on ‘groomer’ rhetoric

Some hardcore conservatives are already doubling down on “groomer” rhetoric against LGBT+ people in the wake of the shooting.

“Leftists are using a mass shooting to try and blackmail us into accepting the castration and sexualisation of children,” said anti-transgender campaigner Matt Walsh, who has referred to transition healthcare for under-18s as “molestation and rape” and “child abuse”.

In this case, by the castration of children” he means providing puberty-blocking drugs or hormone replacement therapy to transgender children, and by “sexualisation” he appears to mean educating children about LGBT+ people.

Right-wing broadcaster Steven Crowder likewise said: “The Left melts down over mean tweets but celebrate the murdering of babies and child mutilation.” By that he meant abortion and trans healthcare for under-18s.

Political pundit Ben Shapiro called it “cynical and ridiculous” to link anti-LGBT+ violence to anti-LGBT+ rhetoric, which he described as “noticing what the Left is doing with kids”, while lawyer and commentator Kurt Schlichter said he would not “shut up about the abuse of children”.

YouTuber Tim Pool went further, appearing to excuse violence against LGBT+ people as an understandable consequence of legislators’ failure to “stop the grooming”.

This kind of language is becoming routine on the hard right, conflating LGBT+ education, gender transition healthcare, and non-sexually-explicit drag shows with sexual abuse.

Io Dodds23 November 2022 02:04

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Full story: Anderson Lee Aldrich out of hospital

A tweet from the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) confirmed that Mr Aldirch had been transferred to jail under the custody of the local county sheriff’s department

Although officials did not give any details about Mr Aldrich’s injuries, we do know from witnesses that the shooter was forcibly subdued by a group of patrons led by local Army veteran Richard Fierro, 44.

Mr Fierro said he grabbed the shooter’s pistol and repeatedly beat him with it, while another patron stomped on the attacker with her high heels.

Io Dodds23 November 2022 01:00

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Suspect released from hospital

Suspected shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich has been released from hospital and transferred to jail, according to reports.

“CSPD has turned over custody of the Club Q suspect to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office at the jail. A photo will be released when available,” said the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Mr Aldrich, 22, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and hate crimes and is scheduled to face a judge tomorrow morning via video link.

Io Dodds23 November 2022 00:39

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ICYMI: Who were the victims?

A gunman burst into Club Q and opened fire just before midnight on Saturday, opening fire with an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun.

The suspect — identified by police as Anderson Aldrich, 22, allegedly shot five people; two bartenders, a mother-of-one on a night out, a transgender woman and a local man celebrating a friend’s birthday.

Police initially said 25 were wounded in the attack, but revised the figure down to 18 on Monday. Many suffered horrendous injuries and face a lengthy recovery.

Here’s what we know about those who died.

Oliver O’Connell23 November 2022 00:00

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Full story: Biden phones Club Q hero

Here’s our full story on President Joe Biden‘s phone call with former Army veteran Richard Fierro, courtesy of my colleague Oliver O’Connell.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also noted that the attack happened on the evening of Transgender Day of Remembrance, lamenting that two more names have now been added to the list of transgender people murdered in 2022.

Io Dodds22 November 2022 23:22

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Marjorie Taylor Greene criticised for Colorado shooting response

Marjorie Taylor Greene was back causing controversy this week after she chose her response to the mass shooting at an LGBT club in Colorado as a means for attacking Joe Biden on unrelated issues.

Ms Greene’s two-tweet thread addressing the attack that saw five killed and more than a dozen wounded surprised few; the tweets did not address the significance of the target nor the wave of hate that right-wing political figures have directed at LGBT people and transgender Americans in particular over the past few years.

John Bowden has the story.

Oliver O’Connell22 November 2022 22:49

Colorado Springs shooting latest: Suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich released from hospital

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