COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Hundreds of people, many holding candles and wiping away tears, gathered Monday night in a Colorado Springs park to honor those killed and wounded when a gunman opened fire on a nightlife venue that for decades wasa sanctuary for the local LGBTQ community.
The vigil came as the 22-year-old suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, remained hospitalized after Saturday night’s attack in which five people were killed and another 17 suffered gunshot wounds before patrons tackled and beat the suspect into submission. Aldrich faces five murder charges and five charges of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury, online court records showed.
The attack at Club Q has shaken the LGBTQ community in this mostly conservative city of about 480,000, located 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of Denver. At Monday night’s vigil people embraced and listened as speakers on a stage expressed both rage and sadness over the shootings.
Jeremiah Harris, who is 24 and gay, said he went to the club a couple times a month and recognized one of the victims as the bartender who always served him. He said hearing others speak at the vigil was galvanizing following the attack.
“Gay people have been here as long as people have been here,” Harris said. “To everybody else that’s opposed to that … we’re not going anywhere. We’re just getting louder and you have to deal with it.”
Authorities have yet to reveal a motive for the attack, but the charges against Aldrich include