Five people were killed and 18 injured in a shooting at a gay nightclub on Saturday night in Colorado Springs, Colorado, police said.
A suspect was in custody and was being treated for injuries after the attack at Club Q, Colorado Springs Lieutenant Pamela Castro told a news conference.
Police got the initial phone call just before midnight about the shooting, Castro said.
Massive emergency response takes over
A spokesperson for the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) said that 34 firefighters and 11 ambulances were deployed, transporting 2-3 victims at a time.
“The hospitals are helping us to notify families of the injured… we do have officers at every hospital with all the victims,” Lt. Castro added.
In its Google listing, Club Q describes itself as an “adult-oriented gay and lesbian nightclub hosting theme nights such as karaoke, drag shows & DJs.”
LGBTQ flag (credit: Wikimedia Commons)
On its Facebook page, a statement from Club Q said it was “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.”
This post came just hours after the club advertised for a drag brunch to be hosted there later on Sunday afternoon.
The police did not give any information on the motivation behind the attack.
Images of the scene after the shooting showed security and emergency vehicles with flashing blinkers parked on a street near the venue.
“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,”Capt. Mike Smaldino, of the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) told local media. “Working with the police, we were able to get everybody transported out of here in a pretty quick manner and get them to the hospital, where they have a better chance for their injuries.”
By 4 a.m. (1100 GMT), police had taped off the area around the club, which is located in a strip mall on the outskirts of Colorado Springs.
Though congress members from Colorado are yet to respond, representatives from other states have spoken out against the attack. “As we pray for those fighting for life, we must use loud voices to stand up against hate,” Rep.-elect Eric Sorensen (D), the first openly gay person elected to Congress from the state of Illinois, tweeted early Sunday.
Sorenson continued, “our country must turn down the hateful rhetoric aimed at our LGBTQ community.”
In 2016, a gunman killed 49 people at gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, before he was shot dead by police. At the time it was the worst mass shooting in recent US history.
The shooter had claimed allegiance to a leader of Islamic State. He was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police.