Police officials have identified a 22-year-old man who walked into a Colorado Springs LGBTQ+ nightclub and began shooting patrons with a long gun.
Anderson Lee Aldrich walked into Club Q and, without hesitation, began firing around himself shortly before midnight Saturday, Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said during a news conference Sunday morning.
Five people died, and at least 18 were injured during the attack, but officials said the number could rise.
According to Vasquez, at least two patrons inside the establishment leapt into action and stopped the gunman from killing more people.
"We owe them a great debt of thanks," he said.
Officials said the shooting lasted a mere moment before bystanders subdued the suspect.
Police received 911 calls starting at 11:56 p.m. Units were on their way to the scene at 11:57 p.m.
The first responding officer arrived at midnight, and within two minutes, the suspect was detained at 12:02 a.m.
Lt. Pamela Castro, public information officer for the Colorado Springs Police Department, said that the suspect was injured during the incident.
"They did locate one individual who we believe to be the suspect inside," she said. "At this point in time, the suspect is being treated but is in custody."
On its Facebook page, Club Q posted a message about the mass shooting, thanking the brave customers.
"Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community. Our prays and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends," management wrote. "We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack."
During the press conference, a reporter asked whether the suspect was known to authorities and whether police officials could confirm reports that a person with the same name had been involved in an incident involving a bomb threat in 2021. At that press conference, officials declined to comment on any prior dealings authorities had had with Aldridge.
However, the El Paso County Sherriff's Office confirmed that Aldridge was involved in a June 2021 incident.
Aldridge allegedly made a bomb threat at the family home in a suburban neighborhood of Colorado Springs known as Lorson Ranch. Aldridge was facing two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping upon surrender, KRDO reports.
He was arrested in connection with the bomb threat that forced residents in a Lorson Ranch neighborhood to evacuate for about three hours.
Members of the Colorado Springs LGBTQ+ community are stunned.
Only identified by his first name, Joshua witnessed the shooting from beginning to end. The fact that somebody shot up the area's only safe LGBTQ+ space is unbelievable, he says.
"This was the only LGBTQIA+ space in the entire city of Colorado Springs," Joshua told KRDO. "I got my start here. So many of my friends I met here ... and now it's shattered."