Philadelphia community reacts to deadly shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Five people were killed and dozens others injured in a shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado, officials said.

The suspect, identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, allegedly began shooting as soon as he entered Club Q in Colorado Springs late Saturday night, Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez told reporters during a news conference Sunday morning.

At least two people, whom authorities described as heroes, then confronted and fought with Aldrich, saving more lives, police said.

At least two firearms, including a long gun, were found at the scene, police said. The shooting is being investigated as a hate crime.

ALSO SEE: Club shooting Q: 2 victims identified after gunman killed 5 and injured dozens more at LGBTQ nightclub

The tragedy is affecting people across the country, including communities here in Philadelphia.

The big question people ask is how could something like this happen again?

“We’re trying to live our lives and we can’t even go into a space that’s supposed to be a safe place for us anymore and feel safe because of the hate,” said community advocate Deja Alvarez.

Alvarez says she wasn’t surprised when she found out about the murders.

In addition to the five fatalities, at least 25 people were injured, according to Colorado Springs city officials.

“I will never understand why people feel that what happens in someone else’s bedroom affects them, or that they have a right to tell someone else what they can do or how they should do it,” explained Alvarez.

Alvarez isn’t the only person who wasn’t shocked by the tragedy that unfolded. The community shares the same opinion.

“I think there’s an increasing threat of violence specifically for the LGBTQ community,” Talya Laufer said.

Some don’t go out for safety reasons.

According to the FBI, of hate crimes reported in 2020, more than 20% of victims were targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s more than 1 in 5 of all victims of hate crimes.

Tami Sortman is the chair of the Philadelphia LGBTQ Police Liaison Committee. She says more protocols are being rolled out in Philadelphia.

“I’ll be honest there aren’t a lot of restrictions right now, but I know in the future they’re going to try not to allow people to bring bags and backpacks to try and hide things,” Sortman said.

Woody’s is an integral part of the Philadelphia community and regularly works closely with the police force.

“We’re doing this to ensure their presence is known and that they’re being deployed in the right places,” said Michael Weiss, a partner at Woody’s.

Weiss has also reached out to the Colorado governor and plans to do whatever it takes to help.

“If there’s a message about Trans Day of Remembrance, it’s to remember that these killings aren’t happening because of who we are, but because of what this country still isn’t, and it still is.” It’s free for many, many of us,” Alvarez explained.

Officials say there will be an increased police presence Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, and additional patrols are expected to continue after the holiday.

“I think the most important thing is that I know it sounds silly, but if you see something, say something. If you see something strange in any of the clubs or bars, say something. It’s better to be overly cautious,” Weiss said.

Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All rights reserved. Philadelphia community reacts to deadly shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs

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