Leigh Briggs Padilla holds a sign at a vigil on Nov. 21, 2022 honoring the victims of the Club Q shooting. (Photo by Sara Wilson / Colorado Newsline)
The five victims who were killed in Saturday’s mass shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, are being remembered by their friends and families as investigations into the attack continue.
Officials confirmed the names of the five deceased victims in a press conference Monday afternoon. At least 18 other people were injured in the attack, and several remained hospitalized as of late Monday, officials said.
Police have described Club Q as a “safe haven for our LGBTQ+ citizens.” The 22-year-old male suspect in the shooting was arrested on suspicion of five counts first-degree murder and five counts of bias-motivated crime, according to court records, but formal charges have not been filed and authorities say possible motives are still under investigation.
Several, but not all, of the deceased victims have been identified by family and friends as members of the LGBTQ community. Sunday was Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors transgender people who have been killed because of their identity.
The shooting came amid a nationwide wave of violence, intimidation and harassment against LGBTQ people by right-wing extremists. Inclusive events like drag queen story hours have been canceled due to threats in Colorado and across the country, while bomb scares have repeatedly targeted hospitals over transgender care.
Events to memorialize the victims included a Monday night vigil held at ReelWorks Denver, where more than a thousand people gathered to hear speeches from LGBTQ advocates and elected officials.
Kelly Loving, a 40-year-old transgender woman, had recently moved to Denver and was visiting Colorado Springs for the weekend, a friend told the New York Times.
Tiffany Loving, Kelly’s sister, released a statement through the Colorado Springs Police Department.
“My condolences go out to all the families who lost someone in this tragic event, and to everyone struggling to be accepted in this world,” she said. “My sister was a good person. She was loving and caring and sweet.”
“Everyone loved her,” she added.
Daniel Aston, a 28-year-old transgender man, moved to Colorado Springs from Tulsa two years ago and was a bartender at Club Q. His mother, Sabrina Aston, told the Washington Post in an interview that Daniel “lit up a room,” and enjoyed both bartending and performing at the nightclub.
“He loved it,” she said of Daniel’s job. “He did what he loved to do, bartending, and then he got to put on shows.”
On Sunday, Randy Potts, an Oklahoma journalist, wrote on Twitter of a widely shared photo that Daniel had posted to social media shortly after he moved to Colorado Springs.
“Though he was murdered on Trans Remembrance Day, we will remember him like this: fearless, unashamed, full of life,” Potts wrote.
Derrick Rump, 38, also worked as a bartender at Club Q.
“Every time I saw him, he was always positive and extremely kind,” Rump’s friend Anthony Kichton told the Washington Post.
In a statement to ABC News, Rump’s mother, Julia Thames, called him a “kind loving person who had a heart of gold.”
“He was always there for my daughter and myself when we needed him, also his friends from Colorado which he would say was his family also,” said Thames. “He was living his dream and he would have wanted everyone to do the same.”
Leia-Jhene Seals, a drag performer at Club Q who was on stage before the shooting, told the Colorado Springs Gazette that Rump liked to crack jokes and made the nightclub a welcoming place for all.
“A lot of us, we don’t have family, and (LGBTQ+) people really need somewhere that’s a safe space,” Seals said. “Club Q was that to us.”
Colorado Springs resident Ashley Paugh, 35, married her high school sweetheart, Kurt, and worked with the nonprofit Kids Crossing to help find homes for foster children, according to a statement Kurt Paugh released through the CSPD.
“She would do anything for the kids — traveling all over southeastern Colorado, from Pueblo and Colorado Springs to Fremont County and the Colorado border, working to raise awareness and encourage individuals and families to become foster parents to children in our community,” Kurt Paugh said. “This included working with the LGBTQ community to find welcoming foster placements for children.”
Ashley leaves behind a daughter. Kurt Paugh called her an “amazing mother.”
“We’re absolutely devastated by the loss of Ashley,” his statement read. “She meant everything to this family, and we can’t even begin to understand what it will mean to not have her in our lives.”
Raymond Green Vance
A 22-year-old Colorado Springs resident, Raymond Green Vance was visiting Club Q for the first time, his family said in a statement released through the CSPD.
“Raymond was a kind, selfless young adult with his entire life ahead of him,” said the family’s statement. “He had just gotten a new job at a Colorado Springs FedEx distribution center, and was thrilled to have received his first paycheck.”
Vance graduated from Sand Creek High School in 2018 and had been with his girlfriend since middle school, his family said.
“Raymond was the victim of a man who unleashed terror on innocent people out with family and friends,” the statement added. “His absence will leave irreparable heartbreak in countless lives.”
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