Five people have died after a gunman opened fire inside Club Q, a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Saturday night. At least 18 others have been wounded. The suspect was also injured in the incident and has been arrested and hospitalized, Colorado Springs Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Pamela Castro said at an early morning briefing Sunday.
No further information about the gunman has been shared. Several victims, some of whom were critically injured, were transported to nearby hospitals. The hospitals are currently working to inform relatives of the conditions of their loved ones. Police are expected to provide more updates during a press conference today around 8 am local time.
Authorities received "numerous" 911 calls starting at 11:57 pm and responded to the scene, Castro told reporters. "They did locate one individual who we believe to be the suspect inside," said Castro. "At this point in time, the suspect is being treated, but is in custody."
Castro remained vague when asked if the suspect was counted among those hurt in the incident.
The alleged shooter, who has not yet been officially identified, is being treated at a nearby hospital while being in custody. How the suspect was injured is still not known. Castro told the media that FBI agents are "already on the scene" and helping with the investigation, which is still in its early stages.
Images from the scene showed numerous security and emergency vehicles parked on a street close to the incident, all of which had flashing blinkers. For "many, many hours," homicide detectives will stay at the scene as authorities clean up the crime scene.
Police didn't give the motive behind the attack or the type of gun used in the attack.
In a statement on social media, Club Q said it was "devastated by the senseless attack on our community" and offered condolences to victims and their families.
"We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack," the statement said. Details of how the shooting ended have yet to be released by police, but Castro said "this was not an officer-involved shooting."
On High Alert
Police have cordoned off almost the entire area. However, authorities are also yet to identify the victims. While authorities search the area, North Academy Boulevard will remain closed between North Carefree Circle and Village Seven Road. Residents are urged to stay away from the area.
Police are also requesting that anyone who saw the gunshot or has video of the assault get in touch with them.
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."
The attack comes on Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day set aside on November 20 each year to remember those who have died as a result of transphobia. The club's bartender, who goes by Michael Anderson on social media, told The Mirror about the carnage he saw as the shooter rampaged the establishment.
"I was afraid I was going to die. I was preparing to get shot, when the shots then stopped. After a minute or two I wasn't sure if it was over or not, so I got up and decided to make a run for it. I found a man lying on the floor being shot in the neck," he told the outlet.
The incident is reminiscent to the Orlando Pulse shooting in 2016, when a shooter entered a gay nightclub in Florida, killing 50 people and injuring at least 53 others.
Omar Mateen, 29, the 'lone' shooter, entered Orlando's Pulse nightclub just before 2 am, where hundreds of partygoers were enjoying themselves.
He then held terrified victims hostage while drawing his assault rifle and handgun, opened fire and dousing the crowd in bullets.
Additionally, two people were killed and 20 others were injured earlier this year when a second shooter opened fire outside a homosexual bar in the heart of Oslo, in what was later determined to be a probable terrorist act.