Casper Reverend Comments on Nightclub Slayings: “We Can Never Afford to Give up Hope”
On Saturday, November 19, at least 5 people were killed and 18 were injured in a mass shooting that occurred at Club Q, a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The Associated Press reported that police identified 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich as the gunman. He opened fire in the nightclub before being restrained by club patrons until police arrived.
The AP reported that, as of Sunday morning, investigators were still determining a motive and that the attack was being investigated to see if it should be prosecuted as a hate crime.
Aldrich is currently in police custody and is being treated for injuries.
According to the Associated Press, "Authorities were called to the Club Q at 11:57 p.m. Saturday with a report of a shooting, and the first officer arrived at midnight.
"'At least two heroic people' confronted the gunman and stopped the shooting, Vasquez said, adding: 'We owe them a great debt of thanks.'
"f the 18 people injured, some were in critical condition and at least two had been treated and released, officials said, adding that some were hurt trying to flee."
The attack occurred just 6 years after another mass shooting took place at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which killed 49 people.
The AP is reporting that the attack took place during International Trans Awareness Week, just a day before International Trans Day of Awareness.
Many people were at a loss for words regarding the event. But one person took to social media to express her beliefs, and to try and comfort those who were affected by the tragedy.
"As we gather today to honor our transgender and nonbinary neighbors who have lost their lives to hatred, we are stunned by the news that a young man inside an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs last night shot and killed at least five people and injured 18," Dee Lundberg wrote in a Facebook post.
Lundberg is the Reverend of United Church of Christ - a church that, according to its website, features sermons that "bring the social justice message of the Gospel to today's world, inspiring not just a broader vision of humanity, but action."
Lundberg encouraged her friends to keep seeking humanity, even in situations where it's hard to find.
"Once again, lives have been irretrievably lost by the rising tide of hatred and gun violence in America," Lundberg continued. "This morning, we join in grief for each person murdered or injured last night in Club Q., for those injured, for all their family and friends. We also must recognize the countless individuals across the globe who increase in their fear simply because of who they love and how they identify."
Lundberg spoke to her parishioners and to the community of Casper at large.
"Here, in this local church I wish for you to feel my arms around you until I return Tuesday," she wrote. "For the entire Casper community, the same....All of our friends.... know that we will always be here for you! And know that I am but a phone call or text away...."
Lundberg wrote that she and her church were praying in union with churches across Colorado, and the Rocky Mountain region in general.
"As our friend from the National UCC Open and Affirming Coalition said today: 'It is not easy to hope in a time like this. Sometimes we need simply to experience the bewilderment and anger that comes when more of God’s children are slain by unreasoning hatred.'"
But, Lundberg said, it's important not to stay in that anger. It's important not to live there.
"But then.... then we must rise again," she wrote. "We can never afford to give up hope... Our brothers, sisters, non-binary kindred and more, along with all our family need us to remain strong and vigilant in the work we do to put an end to times such as these...."
The AP reported that Colorado Governor Jared Polis, the first openly gay man in the United States to be elected Governor, called the attack 'sickening.'
“My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured, and traumatized in this horrific shooting," he said. "I have spoken with Mayor (John) Suthers and clarified that every state resource is available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs. Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn.”
K2 Radio News will continue to update this developing stories as more information becomes available.