WASHINGTON: Five people were killed and 18 wounded in a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in the US city of Colorado Springs, police said on Sunday.

The attack came as party-goers appeared to gather for an event marking the Transgender Day of Remembrance, held annually on November 20 to honor the memory of trans people who were killed in acts of transphobic violence.

The shooting is the latest in a series of attacks on LGBTQ venues in the United States, the deadliest of them in Orlando, Florida, in 2016.

“It’s with a heavy heart I have to tell you that we had a shooting at a local club this evening,” said Colorado Springs Police Department spokesperson Pamela Castro. “We have 18 injured and five deceased. That number is subject to change as the investigation continues,” she said.

Suspected attacker at Transgender Day event taken into custody

“The FBI is already on the scene and assisting.”

Castro said as soon as police received an emergency call saying that there was an active shooting at a local club, known as Club Q, medical teams and officers responded. “They did locate one individual who we believe to be the suspect inside,” she said, adding that the suspect was in custody and being treated at a local hospital.

The suspect was later identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aledrich.

Club Q posted on Facebook Sunday that it “is devastated by the senseless attack on our community. We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”

The club had posted earlier on Saturday about an LGBTQ event, starting at 8pm. “We’re celebrating Transgender Day of Remembrance with a variety of gender identities and performance styles,” the post read.

An emergency medical team including 34 firefighters and 11 ambulances was dispatched to the scene of the shooting, according to Colorado Springs Fire Department spokesperson Mike Smaldino.

“Unfortunately these are events we do train for, as far as what we call a ‘mass casualty’, so that is why we had such a big response,” Smaldino said.

The spokesperson added that some ambulances had to carry two or three victims to multiple nearby hospitals.

600 mass shootings in 2022

The US Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as a single incident in which at least four people are wounded or killed.

Gun violence is a major problem in the US, where over 600 mass shootings have occurred so far in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2022

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