Five people were killed and 25 injured in a shooting at a nightclub popular with gay, lesbian and trans community residents in the US city of Colorado Springs. A 22-year-old man entered the club with a gun and immediately started shooting, police said.
He was overpowered by at least two guests and is injured in the hospital. Several wounded club-goers have life-threatening injuries, doctors said.
A police spokeswoman said investigations were still ongoing into whether it was a case of hate crime. The federal police FBI, which is active in such cases, also takes part. The attack happened on the night of Transgender Day, a day to commemorate victims of transphobia. In the attacked Club Q, a transgender party with a drag show was scheduled for the night, the broadcaster reported.
"Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community," the club's Facebook page said. "We are grateful for the quick responses from heroic guests who overpowered the gunman and ended this hate attack." Club Q's Facebook page hosts drag shows, transgender-themed events, and karaoke, among other things.
It was initially unclear how many people were in the club at the time of the crime. Investigations were still ongoing, police spokeswoman Pam Castro said at a press conference. Some of the injuries could not come from shots, but from the crush when fleeing. It is also possible that the information on the number of injuries will be adjusted, as some people drove to hospitals in private vehicles instead of ambulances.
Police reacted very quickly
Numerous police cars with blue lights flashing around the club could be seen on TV images. KRDO spoke of one of the largest operations in Colorado Springs history. The police emphasized that there was a quick reaction: the first call came in three minutes before midnight, and at 00:02 the suspect was already in custody. Another weapon was found at the crime scene.
US President Joe Biden stressed that the gay, lesbian and trans community in America had experienced "terrible violence" in recent years. "We must not tolerate hatred," Biden wrote in a statement, reiterating his call for tighter gun laws.
In 2016, 49 people were killed in an attack on Orlando's Pulse nightclub, popular with the LGBTQ community. The shooter claimed responsibility for the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization.
LGBT is the English abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. The variants LGBTQ, LGBTQI or LGBTQIA are also often used. Each letter represents one's gender identity or sexual orientation.