Two bartenders have been identified as the victims of the deadly Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Saturday night after a gunman opened fire inside the gay nightclub, killing five and leaving 25 injured. Derrick Rump and Daniel Aston were among the five killed after suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, opened fire with his AR-15 rifle inside the gay club.
Police haven't identified the other victims yet. The incident occurred on the eve of The Transgender Day of Remembrance, at 11:57 pm on Saturday. The shooting is currently being investigated as a hate crime, with Aldrich being held by police as the sole suspect.
Police on Sunday identified Rump and Aston as two of the five people killed at Club Q in a premeditated assault by lone gunman Aldrich with an AR-15. Aston, 28, was a trans man. Police also revealed that Aldrich was subdued by at least two brave clients who engaged during the mayhem and credited them for saving several other lives.
Family members and LGBTQ community members affected by the atrocities have paid heartbreaking condolences to those killed, with Rump and Aston the first to be identified, as police try to determine a motive behind the shooting.
Aldrich, meanwhile, is still being held at a nearby hospital due to unidentified injuries. Aldrich was previously arrested for a bomb in June 2021, but no formal charges were ever brought against him. It is unclear when the police arrested him.
An employee at Club Qu, which describes itself as a "happening gay nightclub," paid tribute to his two murdered coworkers on Sunday by posting a photo of Rump and Aston to Facebook.
The tweet included a picture of the couple sitting at the bar of Club Q, along with a bereavement remark. "My boys are gone," the tribute read. "Plz (sic) take care of each other. I love you both so much."
According to his mother Sabrina Aston, who spoke to ABC News, the youngest member of the family, Aston was able to quickly make friends after moving because of his charismatic personality. The 28-year-old had surgery on his top in 2021, according to his social media accounts.
One more friend recalled the two men with affection, calling them "two of the sweetest souls I have ever met."
Bar patron Joshua Thurman, who survived the attack, spoke to reporters about the turmoil that followed after the first shots were fired. Thurman managed to survive the deadly attack by hiding in a dressing room with two other terrified survivors.
Thurman, 34, claimed that when he first heard roughly four or five gunshots, he had been dancing on the dance floor. "I thought it was the music because there were no screams, no shouts of 'Help, help,' nothing like that," he said. "Then I heard more shots and saw the flash from the muzzle of the gun," he said.
"When I realized what was going on, I ran to the dressing room immediately. There was a customer that followed me, and there was a drag performer, Del Lusional, who was in the dressing room. I made them lock the doors and we got down on the floor and cut out the lights immediately."
While he was hiding to save his life, Thurman said, "We heard everything, we heard more shots fired, we heard the assailant be beat up by someone who I assume tackled him, we heard the police come in, we heard them yelling at him, we heard then saying 'Check certain people, 'cause they're critical,' we heard everything."
"And all I can think about is everything â my life, just everything, friends, family, loved ones," the distraught man said through tears.
Thurman claimed he saw bodies on the ground by the time they exited the dressing room. "There was broken glass, blood â I lost friends!"
Following the incident on Saturday night, several victims, some of whom were in severe condition, were sent to three neighboring hospitals. In order to give their loved ones time to respond, the names of the other victims have not yet been made public. But at least one bartender is reportedly among the deceased.
Authorities say it is too early to say if the shooting was a targeted hate crime.