Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was identified as the suspect who allegedly killed five people at a Colorado gay club before being apprehended by two revelers.
Officials said the gunman opened fire Saturday night at Club Q, an LGBT venue in Colorado Springs that was hosting a drag show and dance party when the bullets started flying.
Authorities said at a press conference on Sunday morning that Aldrich entered the club shortly before midnight and immediately opened fire, not stopping until several customers subdued him.
“At least two heroic people inside the club confronted and fought with the suspect and were able to stop the suspect from continuing to kill and harm others. We owe them a great debt of thanks,” said Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez.
Police arrived three minutes after receiving a 911 call, and were able to apprehend the suspect two minutes later, cops said. Aldrich was injured and was being held in protective custody at a local hospital.
Two firearms were discovered at the scene, and witnesses said the attacker used a long rifle.
Investigators were still looking for a motive as they considered whether to charge the suspect with a hate crime. According to El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen, the charges “will most likely include first-degree murder.”
“Every person regardless of who they are, has the right to be secure from fear and physical harm, and actions taken to strike fear in specific communities will not be tolerated in our community,” Allen said.
Police were looking into whether the accused gunman was the same Anderson Lee Aldrich who was charged with felony menacing and kidnapping in 2021 after his mother claimed he threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons.
According to local media at the time, no explosives were discovered and no charges were filed. The case’s documents were sealed.
The identification of the victims was not immediately released, pending family notification, police said.
Eighteen injured victims from Saturday’s mass shooting were being treated at local hospitals Sunday. At least seven of them were in critical condition.
It was unclear if they had all been shot, and police said some had been hurt while trying to flee.
The FBI was assisting police with the investigation.
President Biden issued a statement again calling for a ban on assault weapons and saying that while the motive was unclear, “we know that the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to horrific hate violence in recent years.”
The massacre was not the first time Colorado Springs, a city of nearly a half million people located about 70 miles south of Denver, has been marred by a mass shooting.
In 2015, three people were killed and eight injured when a crazed man who opposed abortions opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
“We are a strong community that has shown resilience in the face of hate and violence in the past and we will do so again,” Mayor John Suthers said.
The shooting also brought back painful memories of the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, when a Muslim man who had frequented gay clubs in the past and express disdain for “filthy” members of the LGBTQ community killed 49 people.