By Kevin Mohatt
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) -“Heroic” clubgoers fought and stopped a gunman shortly after he opened fire inside a LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring 18 others, police said on Sunday.
Police identified the suspect as Anderson Lee Aldrich, a 22-year-old man, who was taken into custody minutes after the shooting broke out and was being treated for injuries after the attack at Club Q.
Club Q, which describes itself as an adult-oriented gay and lesbian nightclub, called Saturday night’s events a “hate attack” in a statement on its Facebook page. Authorities said they were investigating whether the attack was motivated by hate.
Two firearms were found at the scene, Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said at a press conference on Sunday morning, adding the suspect used a long rifle during the rampage.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis, who is openly gay, commended the “brave individuals who blocked the gunman” in a statement released on Twitter in which he called the shooting “horrific, sickening, and devastating.”
Police said the initial phone call came just before midnight about the shooting, and that the suspect was apprehended within minutes.
Images of the scene after the shooting showed security and emergency vehicles with flashing blinkers parked on a street near the venue.
By 4 a.m. local time (1100 GMT), police had taped off the area around the club, which is located in a strip mall on the outskirts of Colorado Springs.
In 2016, a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, before he was shot dead by police. At the time, it was the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history until a shooter killed 60 people at a music festival in Las Vegas in 2017.
(Reporting by Kevin Mohatt in Colorado Springs, Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru and Maria Caspani in New York Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, Frances Kerry and Lisa Shumaker)