Brave partygoers managed to wrestle the weapon from the gunman to prevent more deaths in the sickening “hate attack” at Club Q on Saturday night.
Lt. Pamela Castro, a public information officer with the Colorado Springs Police Department, said the police investigation was only beginning and that the number of victims was subject to change. She added that those injured had been taken to multiple area hospitals.
In a statement on its Facebook page, Club Q said it was “devastated by the senseless attack on our community.”
The club added, “We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”
The suspect, who has not yet been named, was last night being treated in hospital under police guard.
The club advertises itself as an “Adult-oriented gay & lesbian nightclub hosting theme nights such as karaoke, drag shows & DJs”.
In a statement the venue’s devastated owners said: “Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community. Our prayers and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends. We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”
The shooting was reported around 11:57pm as footage shared on social media showed a huge police and emergency response, with ambulances lining the streets outside the club.
It is understood the gunman stormed the venue and began picking off his victims with a sniper rifle.
The attack came just minutes before the 2022 Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is observed annually on November 20 to memorialise anyone murdered as a result of transphobia.
Bartender Michael Anderson said: “I was afraid I was going to die. I was preparing to get shot, when the shots then stopped. After a minute or two I wasn’t sure if it was over or not, so I got up and decided to make a run for it. I found a man lying on the floor being shot in the neck.”
Gaby Lamah, 32, who has been visiting the club since she was 19, told how she and her friends made a “last minute decision” not to visit the venue last night.
She said Club Q is one of a small number of nightclubs catering for the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado Springs.
She said: “Club Q has always been a calm, loving energy. I’m angry, heartbroken. I’m not sure I could go back there and not be anxious the entire time. It feels like our world is going backwards instead of forwards.”
The incident bears chilling similarities to the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016 when gunman Omar Mateen, 29, an Islamic State extremist, stormed a gay nightclub in Florida and killed 50 people and injuring at least 53 others.
Colorado has been the scene of several of the United States’ most notorious mass shootings, including those at Columbine High School in 1999 and a cinema complex in Aurora in 2012.