Five people were killed and 18 injured in a shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, police said Sunday, an attack the venue called a hate incident.
Police received a report of a shooting at Club Q at 11:57 p.m. Saturday, Lt. Pamela Castro of the Colorado Springs Police Department said. The club said the shooter was taken down by patrons.
One suspect, who was injured and being treated, was in custody, Castro said. She said it was not immediately clear whether the suspect had been shot by officers. The FBI was on the scene and helping in the investigation, she said.
In a statement on its Facebook page, Club Q called the shooting a “hate attack” and said it was “devastated by the senseless attack on our community. Our prays 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,” said the statement by Club Q, which describes itself as a dance and nightclub.
Macie Loureiro, 27, told USA TODAY her brother, Luca Lourerio, was hosting a monthly “Drag Divas” event at Club Q on Saturday night when the shooting occurred. Loureiro said her brother was backstage just after the show when he heard gunfire and hid with other performers.
“Normally it’s a great place to just go with friends and be able to be yourself and really have everybody celebrate in that,” Macie Loureiro said.
“It’s devastating because it was it was attack on a family – beautiful people who just wanted to go and have a safe place to hang out and be themselves,” she said. “We’re not going to have that anymore.”
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Colorado Springs, a city of about 480,000 located about 70 miles south of Denver, has seen growing acceptance for the LGBTQ community in recent years including more LGBTQ restaurants and spaces like Club Q, according to Loureiro.
The club has been prepping for a drag brunch on Sunday, according to its Facebook page, and said it would be celebrating Transgender Day of Remembrance Sunday “with a variety of gender identities and performance styles.” The day of remembrance honors the at least 32 transgender and nonbinary people killed this year by violence and caps Transgender Awareness Week.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, the first openly gay man elected as governor in the U.S., thanked the heroic efforts of those who blocked the gunman during the shooting in a tweet Sunday morning.
“This is horrific, sickening, and devastating,” Polis said. “My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured and traumatized in this terrible shooting.”
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In one of the worst attacks on an LGBTQ venue, a mass shooting on June 12, 2016, at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, left 49 people dead and 53 injured. The attack was the second deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Contributing: The Associated Press