Two barmen among the dead in mass shooting at gay nightclub

Among those killed at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub targeted by a mass shooting late Saturday were two of the establishment’s bartenders, according to community members.

Daniel Davis Aston and Derrick Rump were two of at least five people shot dead at Club Q in Colorado Springs, local LGBTQ activist Alex Clemons-Laput said. Other media outlets reported Aston and Rump were among those slain at the club.

ABC News quoted Aston’s mother, Sabrina, describing him as “our baby and … our youngest”.

One tribute to Rump posted on Facebook called him “one of the best and fastest bartenders around, and a good friend”, and another added: “I’m so happy for the light you brought into my life and without you the world will be so dim.”

One of those tributes added: “Hate has a habit of creeping around where it doesn’t belong. We now must be weary of wherever we think is our sanctuary.”

Police allege that 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich went into Club Q about 11.55pm Saturday and immediately began shooting with a rifle. At least two people there quickly confronted Aldrich and subdued him.

Officers arrested Aldrich, who was also taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries.

Investigators as of late Sunday afternoon were not discussing a possible motive for the attack that also left about 25 people wounded. And they also wouldn’t say if they anticipated considering the case a hate crime.

Club Q after a gunman opened fire inside the LGBTQ nightclub in a deadly attack in Colorado Springs
Club Q after a gunman opened fire inside the LGBTQ nightclub in a deadly attack in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Picture taken 20 November. Photograph: ABC affiliate Kmgh/Reuters

Nonetheless, the shooting at the club prevented a drag queen brunch scheduled for Sunday, which was also the transgender day of remembrance, an annual observance since 1999 in honor of transgender people who were killed in acts of anti-transgender violence.

Aldrich registered to vote in May of last year but did not declare an affiliation with any political party at that time.

Social media posts left under his mother’s name, Laura Voepel, describe former Republican California state assembly member Randy Voepel as Aldrich’s grandfather.

Some called for Randy Voepel’s expulsion from the state assembly after he compared the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol to the American Revolutionary War. Voepel lost his seat to a primary challenger in August.

Saturday’s attack came amid growing fears of violence and intimidation toward drag queens. Those fears were ignited by Republicans who have targeted drag queens with legislation that would ban drag shows entirely, prohibit drag story hours at libraries, and bar children from attending drag shows.

Saturday was not the first time Aldrich had been accused of a crime. He had previously been arrested on allegations of threatening to blow his mother up with a homemade bomb.

Police declined to comment on that case when asked about it at a news conference on Sunday.