• A violent attack at Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning when a gunman opened fire, shooting 22 and killing five.
  • The attack joins a long list of violent assaults on the LGBTQ+ community, particularly at bars and nightclubs.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 hate crimes is motivated by anti-LGBTQ+ bias.

Shortly after midnight Saturday, a gunman entered Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and opened fire, shooting 22 people and leaving at least five dead. The shooter has been identified by police as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, who was arrested shortly after they arrived. 

Though a motive has not been officially declared by authorities, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told NBC’s TODAY that, “it has all the trappings of a hate crime.” The attack coincided with “Trans Day of Remembrance”, an annual day for remembering lives lost to anti-trans violence. Two of the five victims killed at Club Q were trans. 

As the community turns to mourning and stories emerge of the club patrons who charged the gunman in hopes of stopping further bloodshed, the event evokes countless past targeted attacks on the LGBTQ+ community. 

The Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization reports that nearly 1 out of every 5 hate crimes is now motivated by an anti-LGBTQ+ bias. Here is a brief look at the history of violence against folks in the community over the years. 

Colorado Springs shooting live updates:Suspect faces 5 counts of murder, hate crimes

‘We all feel shock and grief’:Colorado Springs community mourns Club Q shooting victims

Pulse nightclub shooting

In June 2016, a gunman entered Pulse nightclub in Orlando – a venue known to serve the LGBTQ+ community – and unleashed an attack that killed 49 people, making it the second-most deadly mass shooting in American history. 

The shooting, which took place during Pride Month, remains a potent symbol of the threat to life faced by many members of the LGBTQ+ community as the fight for acceptance and equality continues. 

See portraits of the survivors and first responders who were there that day, and read stories of the loved ones who continue to mourn their family members and partners who didn’t make it out. 

UpStairs Lounge fire

In June 1973 an arsonist attacked the UpStairs Lounge, a popular LGBTQ establishment in the French Quarter of New Orleans. A total of 32 people were killed, and at least 15 were injured. 

Though no arrest was every made in the incident and no official motive determined, it was assumed by many to be a targeted attack, and as much of LGBTQ+ nightlife was underground at that time, it also prompted a crackdown on nearby bars. 

Harvey Milk assassination

Harvey Milk in San Francisco on Nov. 9, 1977.

On Nov. 27, 1978, Harvey Milk, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and a prominent gay figure at the time, was assassinated by political opponent Dan White. White also shot and killed San Francisco Mayor George Moscone.

Milk was one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States and became an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ liberation. His killing and the subsequent sentencing of seven years, eight months, doled out to White perpetuated the hate and prejudice against the community.