Daniel Aston and Derrick Rump identified as two of the five fatalities shot at the hands of lone Club Q gunman, Anderson Lee Aldrich at the Colorado Springs LGBT nightclub. 25 others injured in shooting being explored as possible hate crime.
Two Club Q bartenders are among the five fatalities killed Saturday night at the Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub, according to a co-worker and social media posts.
Daniel Davis Aston and Derrick Rump, also a co-owner of the bar, were fatally shot by a lone gunman, who also injured 25 people using a long gun shortly before midnight.
Authorities say Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, entered the bar on North Academy Boulevard and immediately started shooting in what they say appeared to be a premeditated attack.
Two patrons risking their lives and were able to subdue the gunman. One disarmed Aldrich and beat him with the suspect’s own gun, according to NPR.
Aldrich, meanwhile, remains in custody at a local hospital for unknown injuries.
Why was the popular Colorado Springs gay bar targeted?
While authorities declined to say what motivated Aldrich who was arrested last year for making bomb threats, only to later have charges against him dropped and the case sealed, hate crime charges were being explored.
Aston, a 28 year old transgender male, was energetic and helpful, said co-worker Leia-Jhene Seals, a drag performer who took to the stage Saturday night at Club Q, along with six other entertainers.
‘He was always, ‘Do you need anything?’’ Seals said according to Colorado’s Gazette.
Friends of Aston’s, who completed his transition to male in June, describe him as a drag king, performer and bartender.
Dani Birzer recently moved to Phoenix from Colorado Springs and hung out at Club Q, which he described as the only ‘landing spot’ in the community where LGBTQ people could feel safe.
‘I’m heartbroken and absolutely mortified,’ Birzer told the Gazette. ‘You always know this is a possibility when you go into a gay club because you know you’re not protected.
‘And you hope to God that if something does happen it’s (not) someone you are close with, but it’s always a possible reality. And now I know someone. It was not a matter of if; it was a matter of when.’
Seals described Rump as bubbly and someone who liked to crack jokes.
‘A lot of us, we don’t have family, and (LGBTQ) people really need somewhere that’s a safe space,’ Seals said. ‘Club Q was that to us.’
Birzer said he also knew Rump, and he made him feel safe whenever he visited the bar.
Seals said he believed the other deceased victims were customers.