Victims of Colorado Springs LGBT club shooting identified

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By Andrea Carlo  with Reuters, AP
Candles stand near a sign with the names of victims of a weekend mass shooting during a vigil near the gay bar where the attack occurred. Monday, 21 November 2022,
Candles stand near a sign with the names of victims of a weekend mass shooting during a vigil near the gay bar where the attack occurred. Monday, 21 November 2022,   -   Copyright  David Zalubowski/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.

Mourners gathered on Monday to commemorate those killed in an attack at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in the US city of Colorado Springs.

All victims have been identified. They include Kelly Loving, 40, a trans woman who was visiting Colorado Springs for the weekend; Raymond Green Vance, 22, Colorado Springs resident who had just landed his first proper job and was visiting the bar with his girlfriend; and Ashley Paugh, 35, a wife and mother of five who was in town to watch a stand-up comedian.

Two staff members, Daniel Aston, 28, and Derrick Rump, 38, were also killed in the attack.

Richard Fierro, father of Vance's girlfriend and a 45-year-old army veteran, disarmed the shooter, while Thomas James assisted him.

"Their exact actions are part of the investigation, so we can’t discuss the specifics out of respect for the judicial process, but with their permission, we want to acknowledge their heroic actions," tweeted the Colorado Springs Police Department to both identify and honour Fierro and James.

On Saturday night, a gunman -- said to have been identified as the 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich -- entered Colorado Springs's Club Q and opened fire, claiming five lives and injuring up to 19 others. 

The authorities are yet to reveal an insight into the motive for the attack, although some are already describing it as a hate crime.

Ever since the attack took place, a makeshift memorial has emerged near the nightclub, where mourners have convened to pray, leave flowers, and comfort each other. Further vigils are planned this week across Colorado.

In response to the attack, US President Joe Biden released a statement acknowledging the "horrific hate violence" that the country's LGBTQ+ community had faced in recent years and decried how "yet another community in America ha[d] been torn apart by gun violence."

The Colorado Springs nightclub shooting stands as one in a string of gun attacks that have targeted the US LGBTQ+ community. 

The deadliest to date happened at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on 12 June 2016, which resulted in 49 deaths.