Man who escaped Colorado Springs shooting shares harrowing account of attack that killed five

Joshua Thurman, a witness to the deadly Colorado Springs shooting, is tearful as he describes what happened during the attack at Club Q

A man who escaped the deadly Colorado Springs shooting has bravely shared his story.

Joshua Thurman said he was in Club Q in Colorado Springs just before midnight on Saturday (19 November), and celebrating his birthday when gunshots began to ring out in the club.

Five people were killed and at least 25 others were injured as a result of the attack.

Thurman told KRDO that he initially thought the gunfire was part of the music in the club until he heard more shots. He ran with another person and a drag artist who performed at the club into a dressing room, where they sought shelter.

“I made them lock the doors, and we got down on the ground and cut off the lights immediately,” Thurman recalled, tears running down his face. 

Thurman described hearing “everything” that happened during the attack, including more shots going off in the club. He also heard the suspected gunman – identified by police as Anderson Lee Aldrich, who is currently in police custody – being tackled by brave clubgoers. 

“We heard the assailant being beat up by someone that I assumed tackled him,” Thurman said. “We heard police come in. We heard them yelling at him.”

Thurman told NBC News that he heard people “yelling, shaking, crying” as the group ‘feared for their lives’ in the dressing room.

“I’m thinking at any second this man could just bust through the door and kill us if he really wanted to,” he said. 

There were “bodies on the ground”, blood and shattered glass across the club, Thurman said, adding that he feared for his life and thought about his loved ones while the attack went on. 

He added the shooting was especially “sad” at Club Q was the LGBTQ+ community’s “only safe space” in Colorado Springs. 

“So for this to get shot up, what are we going to do now? Where are we going to go?” he said. “Yeah, we can rebuild and come together – but what about those people that lost their lives for no reason [and] the other 18 that were injured?” 

Thurman questioned how the LGBTQ+ community was “going to feel safe” in the Colorado city after the tragic event, saying that his own feeling of security and safety were “shattered” after the shooting at Club Q, a space where he’s met so many friends and loved ones. 

Joshua Thurman, a witness to the deadly Colorado Springs shooting, is comforted by a friend outside Club Q

Joshua Thurman, a witness to the deadly Colorado Springs shooting, says Club Q was a “safe space” for the local LGBTQ+ community. (Getty)

Colorado Springs police said they are investigating whether the shooting was a hate crime and highlighted Club Q’s importance for LGBTQ+ people in the local area. 

Police chief Adrian Vasquez described the venue as a “safe haven for [Colorado Springs’] LGBTQ citizens”. 

“Every citizen has a right to feel safe and secure in our city, to go about our beautiful city without fear of being harmed or treated poorly,” Vasquez said.

Colorado governor Jared Polis ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff at all public buildings in the state to honour the victims of the “senseless” mass shooting beginning on Monday (21 November) until Saturday. 

Polis said his administration will also be flying the Pride flag at the Colorado state capitol for the next five days.