Colorado Springs police have now released the names of all five people killed at Club Q over the weekend and lauded two people they consider heroes.
They held a press conference Monday afternoon to provide updates on Saturday's mass shooting at the LGBTQ+ club. The accused shooter is Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez identified the five victims who died and their pronouns. Those individuals are:
Kelly Loving, she/her; Daniel Aston, he/him; Derrick Lump, he/him; Ashley Paugh, she/her; and Raymond Green Vance, he/him.
"Our officers and detectives will continue to be diligent and thorough in our work to hold the suspect accountable for these horrendous acts," Vasquez said.
Vasquez also identified two people he described as heroes.
Although Vasquez said he couldn't go into specifics because of the legal case, he said that Thomas James and Richard Fierro took action to stop the shooter and acted heroically.
He added that the Colorado Springs Police Department stands beside the LGBTQ+ community before observing a moment of silence.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers expressed his condolences and offered his support to the LGBTQ+ community.
"Basically whatever any person adversely impacted, whatever their needs are," Suthers said.
District Attorney Michael J. Allen said that despite media reports to the contrary, no charges had been filed against the alleged shooter, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, in the case yet.
"Any case like this, an arrest warrant will be written up that is supported by a probable cause affidavit, and that will be submitted to a judge for approval of the arrest of a suspect. That has occurred here in this case. ... Any charges that are associated with an arrest warrant are only preliminary charges."
These documents are usually sealed to protect the integrity of an investigation, he explained.
"At some point in the coming days, that seal will be lifted, and the arrest warrant and PC affidavit will be available to the public and to the media," Allen said. "Once the case is transferred to us for formal charging, we will review the evidence and then determine final charges."
He continued. "It is also very customary that final charges may be different than what is in the arrest affidavit. Typically there will be more charges in a case like this when we do formal charging than what is actually listed in the arrest affidavit. So don't be surprised when you see a different list of charges when we finally file formal charges with the court."
He added that Aldrich should appear in court for the first time in the coming days, dependent upon his care team at the hospital releasing him from treatment.
Aldrich will be taken to jail and appear before a judge by video once he is released from the hospital.
U.S. Attorney for Colorado Cole Finegan expressed the Justice Department's solidarity with the community.
"We want to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the victims and to their families and to all those who are part to the awful incidents roughly 36 hours ago at Club Q," he said.
He said that the department is standing in support of the local authorities to bring justice to those killed or injured in the massacre.
"We pledge on behalf of our office and the Department of Justice that we will work as hard as we can to find justice in this instance," Finegan said.
Pamela Castro, public information officer for the Colorado Springs Police Department, appealed to the public to ask anyone at Club Q on Saturday to contact police because they may be considered victims of a crime.
Local authorities urge people to visit coloradosprings.gov/clubq for information on available resources for victims, ways to support the LGBTQ+ community, and for updates on the shooting.
While authorities still did not release a motive, in recent months, far right-wing provocateurs and Republican elected officials nationwide have fomented anger and hatred toward the LGBTQ+ community as they falsely smeared members of that community as "groomers."
Not only have conservatives conflated drag performances with being transgender, but they have sought to disrupt events that include drag performances, with some Republican legislators going so far as to introduce bills that would criminalize the performance art.
Republicans have introduced legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community across the country. These have ranged from Florida's "don't say gay" law and Gov. Ron DeSantis's efforts to ban gender-affirming care for transgender kids to Tennessee lawmakers introducing two bills the day after the midterm election to criminalize drag performances in public where children can see it a crime and make lifesaving health care for transgender youth illegal.
School boards around the U.S. have been infiltrated by far-right extremists who have made LGBTQ+ people and stories a bogeyman, justifying banning and removing books dealing with LGBTQ+ issues.
Hate accounts on Twitter like Chaya Raichik's Libs of TikTok and Jaimee Michell's Gays Against Groomers have generated a lucrative merch-selling outrage machine that targets queer and trans people and drag queens.
Influential media types like Tucker Carlson have amplified the hatred coming from those accounts for months, and bigoted GOP firebrands Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia have been amplifying messages sent by these accounts to seemingly out-bigot each other.
Advocates for the LGBTQ+ community say that the massacre at Club Q should mark the beginning of the end of anti-LGBTQ+ political rhetoric.
However, some critics also note that as long as there's political and financial gain in fomenting anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments, acts of political violence will continue.
An FBI spokesperson wouldn't comment on Libs of TikTok specifically but tells The Advocate that the agency monitors threats but encourages the public to submit tips if they observe anything suspicious or have information about potential threats.
“While we cannot comment on specific social media accounts, the FBI cannot initiate an investigation based solely on First Amendment-protected activity,” the spokesperson wrote. “As offensive as a statement can be, the FBI cannot open an investigation without a threat of violence or alleged violation of federal law. However, when the language does turn to a call for violence or involves federal criminal activity, the FBI is able to undertake investigative activity.”
The spokesperson continued, “We would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious or have information about potential threats to report it to law enforcement immediately, contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, or submit a tip to tips.fbi.gov.”