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Victims of the Colorado LGBTQ club shooting include 2 bartenders and 3 patrons

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We are learning more about the shooting over the weekend that killed five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

We're also learning more about the man who tackled the gunman and stopped the violence.

MARTIN: KUNC's Lucas Brady Woods has been covering all this. And he joins us now from Colorado. Thanks for being here, Lucas.

LUCAS BRADY WOODS, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

MARTIN: What more can you tell us about the investigation at this point?

WOODS: Well, law enforcement held a press conference yesterday afternoon. And they hadn't actually confirmed the charges then. And they didn't elaborate on them. But officials stress that the investigation is ongoing, including into the shooter's motivation. At that point, they had not quite called this a hate crime. They hadn't officially gone that far yet, although Colorado Springs police chief did say it felt like one. District Attorney Michael Allen said his office is going to be very careful about what information it releases.

MICHAEL ALLEN: We have an interest in making sure that any conviction we achieve in a case like this can withstand the appeal process. So we'll be very careful about the information that we share, at least as it relates to the DA's office.

WOODS: The alleged shooter, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, was still in the hospital as of last night, but will appear in court by video as soon as he's released.

MARTIN: And we're learning more about the victims, right?

WOODS: Yeah. Two of the victims, Daniel Aston and Derrick Rump, were well-known bartenders at Club Q. The others were patrons of the nightclub, Kelly Loving, Raymond Green Vance and Ashley Green Paugh (ph). Also, two club patrons were the ones who actually stopped the gunman. One of them is an Army veteran named Richard Fierro, who was at the club with his family. He says he was able to pull the gunman to the ground, which made him drop the rifle. Then Fierro and another bystander, Thomas James, were able to subdue him. Here's a clip from him talking on CNN yesterday.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RICHARD FIERRO: I was proud to be a soldier. I'm not a G.I. Joe. I'm just a normal guy, man. I'm protecting my family. And I reached up, and I did what I had to do.

WOODS: Law enforcement said the shooter would definitely have inflicted more harm if they didn't intervene. I should note that Vance, one of those killed, was the boyfriend of Fierro's daughter.

MARTIN: You're having conversations with people in Colorado Springs. What are they telling you as they work through what's happened there?

WOODS: Well, Colorado Springs is a particularly conservative city. And Club Q is one of just a few LGBTQ-friendly venues there. It's been a place where that community could come together and have fun while, most importantly, feeling safe. But I want to touch on the timing of the shooting. The midterm elections just ended. And a lot of people are pointing to the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric voiced by many of the candidates here in Colorado and across the country.

In Colorado, though, for example, Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, who just won reelection in a surprisingly close race, has repeatedly said that the LGBTQ community is, quote, "grooming children." And Republican Heidi Ganahl made anti-transgender misinformation a centerpiece in her failed bid for governor against incumbent Jared Polis, who is openly gay. Yesterday, I talked to Brianna Titone, who is Colorado's first openly transgender lawmaker. And she said this kind of rhetoric has consequences.

BRIANNA TITONE: They're just fueling the fire on these issues, which makes somebody with a gun want to do something. And that's a dangerous combination.

WOODS: Just this year, hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in legislatures across the country. And data show hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people are on the rise.

MARTIN: KUNC's Lucas Brady Woods for us in Colorado. Thanks for your reporting, Lucas. We appreciate it.

WOODS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Originally from Southern California, Lucas spent the last decade living in New York City, which is where he started his journalism career. He's been an NPR junkie for as long as he can remember, but really fell in love with reporting radio news at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he received his master's degree. He's reported on a variety of issues, including covering healthcare at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City.