Gay Colorado governor pays tribute as hundreds hold vigils for Club Q shooting victims

Colorado Springs shooting vigil

Vigils were held for the five people killed in the Colorado Springs shooting, with governor Jared Polis and his husband leading tributes.

Five were killed and at least 25 injured after a lone gunman opened fire in LGBTQ+ venue Club Q in Colorado Springs on Saturday (19 November).

Hundreds poured in to the All Souls Unitarian Church in downtown Colorado Springs on Sunday to mourn those killed. So many people attended the first service, it was repeated three times, according to local paper The Gazette.

Governor of Colorado Jared Polis, who is gay, spoke to those gathered virtually, expressing his condolences and “immense gratitude” for the patrons who confronted and subdued the gunman, calling them “heroes”.

“More people are alive today and more people returned home because of their heroic actions,” Polis said.

People embrace in the overflow crowd outside the Vigil at All Souls Unitarian Church. (Washington Post via Getty/Matthew Staver)

People embrace in the overflow crowd outside the Vigil at All Souls Unitarian Church related to the shooting inside Club Q 
(Matthew Staver/For the Washington Post)

Eli King (back to camera) and Tiffany Blackwell embrace in the overflow crowd outside the Vigil at All Souls Unitarian Church related to the shooting inside Club Q last night on, Sunday November 20, 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Eli was friends with someone who they said was injured and later passed away last night inside.
(Matthew Staver/For the Washington Post)

Leia-jhene Seals was performing at Club Q Saturday night when a 22-year-old gunman entered the LGBTQ nightclub, killing five people and injuring at least 25 others. Lewis was also at the nightclub. (RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Marlon Reis, Polis’ husband and first gentleman of Colorado, called the shooting an attack on Colorado’s freedom.

“Every single one of us deserves to feel safe in our communities,” said Reis.

“And last night wasn’t just an attack on an LGBTQ+ nightclub, it was an attack on the very values that we hold most dear across our state and across our country. It was an attack on freedom.

“Colorado should be a place where every person can live their life in peace, be who they are, love who they want to love. And we will settle for nothing less.”

One of the owners of Club Q, Matthew Haynes, attended the vigil. He arrived at the club less than 10 minutes after the shooting started.

“I see over 20 years of people who grew up in Club Q, that changed Club Q, made their group of friends in Club Q. That may have walked into Club Q without a home, thinking that they were different and they found their friends and community there,” Haynes said.

“Last night, one man went into our home and murdered five of our community.

“Club Q doesn’t have employees. Club Q doesn’t have customers. Club Q has friends and community.”

Nadine Bridges, executive director of One Colorado, addressed the rising anti-trans and LGBTQ rhetoric in America.

“We see you and we will not allow this to happen anymore,” Bridges said.

“This will not stop us. We will continue to stand strong and continue to fight,” Bridges said. “Remember that we deserve to be seen and heard at all times. We deserve love and honour.”

A scene from the vigil inside All Souls Unitarian Church in downtown Colorado Spring shows a man crying

Emotions were naturally running high during the vigil in Colorado Springs. (MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images/Sangosti)

Colorado Springs Shooting: Goddess Tyescha speaks during a vigil in All Souls Unitarian Church in Colorado Springs
(Rachel Woolf for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Lorie Rector, on right, closes her eyes and holds hands with Chelsea Justice during a vigil in All Souls Unitarian Church (Rachel Woolf for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

People listen and emote inside the second Vigil at All Souls Unitarian Church 
(Photo by Matthew Staver/For the Washington Post)

Activist Carolyn Cathey called to attention the change that Colorado Springs had gone through in recent years, highlighting Polis and Reis’s marriage and the election of Leslie Herod, the first openly gay, black woman elected to the state assembly.

“I need you to understand that in the last 40 years, the evolution that this town has taken,” Cathey said. “It is belly to belly, with open hearts, with honesty and integrity that brought to our table our leaders in Colorado Springs and that is no small feat. We will not be moved.”

Gunman Anderson Lee Aldrich walked into Club Q in Colorado Springs a little before midnight on Saturday (19 November) and began shooting patrons with a long gun.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said one patron grabbed the attacker’s weapon and hit him with it during the shooting in Club Q on Saturday night.

The 22-year-old was subdued by two people inside the club, according to police, and is was treated at a nearby medical facility for injuries sustained during the event.

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

Republican representative for Colorado and gun advocate, Lauren Boebert has been condemned for her response to the attack.

Tributes have continued to pour in.