Joe Biden calls for end to anti-LGBTQ+ violence after Colorado Springs shooting

A group of people, some with candles, hold a vigil at a makeshift memorial near the Club Q nightclub on 20 November 2022 in Colorado Springs after a deadly mass shooting

United States President Joe Biden has led tributes after the Colorado Springs shooting, saying LGBTQ+ venue Club Q was “torn apart” by the horrific gun attack on Saturday (19 November).

Five people were killed and at least 25 injured when a gunman opened fire in Club Q, with police naming the shooter as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich.

Two of the victims have been named as bartenders Daniel Davis Aston and Derrick Rump.

Biden condemned the “senseless attack” in an official statement, calling for an end to “violence against LGBTQI+ people”, as well as tougher laws on gun safety in America.

“Gun violence continues to have a devastating and particular impact on LGBTQI+ communities across our nation and threats of violence are increasing,” he wrote.

“We saw it six years ago in Orlando, when our nation suffered the deadliest attack affecting the LGBTQI+ community in American history. We continue to see it in the epidemic of violence and murder against transgender women – especially transgender women of color. And tragically, we saw it last night in this devastating attack by a gunman wielding a long rifle at an LGBTQI+ nightclub in Colorado Springs.

“Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence. Yet it happens far too often.”

The President added: “Today, yet another community in America has been torn apart by gun violence. More families left with an empty chair at the table and hole in their lives that cannot be filled.”

Further tributes came from politicians, LGBTQ+ activists, and Colorado locals, with musician Dove Cameron using her American Music Awards acceptance speech to honour the victims.

“On the heels of the tragedy at Club Q in Colorado Springs, I want to remind everyone how important queer visibility is and how important our community is,” she said on stage.

“And I want to direct your attention to organizations like GLAAD and the Trevor Project for what you can do right now. I want to remind you that you are made absolutely right. And you are so loved.”

Hillary Clinton also posted a tribute to victims of the Colorado Springs shooting, stating that she is “heartbroken” for the people living in the nearby area.

“It’s horrifying and unacceptable to see hate against LGBTQ+ people fester in our communities.

“We must all call it out when we see it and help stop its spread.”

California senator Scott Wiener posted photos from historically LGBTQ+ area Castro District in San Francisco, showing a crowd of people “standing in solidarity” with Colorado after the shooting.

Governor of Colorado, Jared Polis – who is gay, posted a tribute on Twitter describing the Colorado Springs shooting as “horrific, sickening, and devastating.”

“My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured, and traumatized in this terrible shooting,” he added.

“We are eternally grateful for the brave individuals who blocked the gunman, likely saving lives in the process, and for the first responders who responded swiftly to this horrific shooting.

“Colorado stands with our LGBTQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn.”

US secretary for transportation Pete Buttigieg added that there has been a “pattern” to gun violence and violence against the LGBTQ+ community in the country, claiming people cannot “allow hate to win”.

“The violent news from Colorado Springs is sickening and heartbreaking – the more so because there is a pattern.

“We can not, will not, allow hate to win. We must end this in our time. No rest until all of us, including all of us in the LGBTQ+ community, can be, and feel, safe.”

In a heartbreaking tribute, Shadavia Green, a Club Q bartender, posted about her colleague Derrick Rump, who was killed in the Colorado Springs shooting, describing him as “family”.

Green said on Facebook: “You were more than some guy I worked with. You were family. You didn’t deserve to go out like this.

“I’ll keep memories of you in my heart. Thank you for being so kind, and considerate of me. Thank you for helping me grow as a bartender, having my back when I lacked confidence and keeping me laughing when I was down.

“You’ll be missed hun. Rest up Derrick Rump until we meet again.”

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