A pastor in Colorado Springs who spoke at a vigil honoring the victims of a gay club shooting described the attack as horrifying. The female pastor also urged community members to mourn for the dead and to come together to comfort each other in the wake of the recent mass shooting.
Details of the Vigil
Based on the report by the KRDO website, Pastor Alycia Erickson of Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church in Colorado Springs spoke during the vigil.
"We're devastated that one of our gathering places for the LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs has been violated in such a horrifying way. We're devastated by the loss of life and we want to come together to comfort each other, to mourn the lives lost, and just be together," Erickson told KRDO.
The article said those who could not attend the vigil could watch the gathering via Zoom.
It added that the church originally scheduled a service on Nov. 20 to celebrate the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The said event is held annually to remember the memory of transgender individuals who died due to gender-based violence.
But, with the recent mass shooting on Club Q that left five LGBTQ victims dead and 25 others wounded, church authorities decided to focus the gathering on honoring the memory of the five lives lost in the violent attack.
'Sanctuary for the LGBTQ Community'
In her message during the vigil, Pastor Erickson explained that gay bars like Club Q have traditionally provided sanctuary to LGBTQ people who were otherwise shunned in other public areas.
"For a long time, LGBTQ people have not been welcome in many public spaces because they can't be themselves in those places. So gay bars within our LGBTQ community have long been a sanctuary, a home away from home for many people in our community. So it is double horrifying and devastating to have someone target our community at the very place where people go to be themselves and be who they really are," KRDO quoted Erickson saying.
The report also bared that Pastor Erickson's church was established as a "safe space and interfaith service" that caters to members of the LGBTQ community.
"Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church is a progressive community of faith, welcoming all people in the Colorado Springs area. The church is part of the larger MCC denomination founded in 1968 to meet the needs and challenges of people of faith who had been alienated by their own home churches because of their sexual orientation," the church's website explained.
How the Shooting Happened
According to a report by CNN, the suspect, whom police identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, went inside the Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs on Saturday around midnight.
Aldrich reportedly then opened fire at the patrons and killed five individuals. He also wounded 25 others before other patrons pinned him down.
"Club Q is a safe haven for our LGBTQ citizens. Every citizen has a right to feel safe and secure in our city, to go about our beautiful city without fear of being harmed or treated poorly," Adrian Vasquez, Colorado Springs police chief, told reporters.
A separate report by CNN named two of the five fatalities as club bartender Derrick Rump and 28-year-old Club Q supervisor Daniel Aston.