Victims, heroes named in gay bar shooting

The man suspected of opening fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs is being held on murder and hate crime charges, while hundreds of people have gathered to honour the five people killed and 17 wounded in the attack on a venue that for decades was a sanctuary for the local LGBTQI community.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, faces five murder charges and five charges of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury in Saturday night's attack at Club Q in Colorado Springs, court records show.

Authorities say the attack was halted by two club patrons including Richard Fierro, who told reporters he took a handgun from Aldrich, hit him with it and pinned him down with help from another person.

Fierro, a US Army veteran, said he was celebrating a birthday with family members when the suspect "came in shooting".

He said during a lull in the shooting he ran at the suspect, who was wearing armour plates, and pulled him down and pummelled him until police arrived.

"I tried to save people and it didn't work for five of them," he said on Monday. "These are all good people ... I'm not a hero. I'm just some dude."

The boyfriend of Fierro's daughter, Raymond Green Vance, 22, was killed, while his daughter hurt her knee as she ran for cover. Fierro injured his hands, knees and ankle while stopping the shooter.

The suspect remained hospitalised but is expected to make his first court appearance in the next couple of days.

The other victims were identified as patrons Ashley Paugh, 35, and Kelly Loving, 40, and bartenders Daniel Aston, 28, and Derrick Rump, 38.

Authorities identified Thomas James as the other patron who intervened to stop the shooter.

A law enforcement official said the suspect used an AR-15-style semi-automatic weapon. A handgun and additional ammunition magazines also were recovered.

Officials on Monday clarified that 17 people were hurt in the attack, not 25 as they said originally. Thirteen victims remained in hospital.

Aldrich was known to law enforcement, having been arrested in June 2021 after his mother reported he threatened to detonate a bomb and harm her with multiple weapons, according to a news release from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

Colorado Springs is a city of about 480,000 south of Denver. Club Q, one of the only places for LGBTQI people to gather there, attracted a diverse crowd of queer people and straight allies.

About 200 people gathered on Monday night at a city park for a vigil for the victims.

The shooting came in a year when the US was shaken by the deaths of 21 in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. It also rekindled memories of the 2016 massacre at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people.

The White House said President Joe Biden would continue to press Congress for an assault weapons ban "because thoughts and prayers are just not enough".

AP with Reuters