COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The assailant who opened fire at an LGBTQ nightclub just before midnight Saturday, leaving five people dead and 25 injured, was subdued by someone who grabbed the shooter’s handgun and hit him with it, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told the New York Times on Sunday.

Authorities have credited patrons at the club with confronting and disarming the gunman, preventing further injuries and likely loss of life. “We owe them a great debt of thanks,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said, calling those who intervened “heroic.”

The person who took the gun away was holding down the perpetrator when police arrived minutes after the attack began, Suthers told the newspaper. Police said the shooter used a long rifle, and that at least one other firearm was found at the premises.

A suspect was taken into custody about five minutes after police first received a 911 call, Vasquez said. Those who were injured were taken to several hospitals, and at least seven were in critical condition Sunday evening, according to authorities.

With the Club Q shooting, 2022 has already surpassed 2019 for the most mass killings with firearms in a year in the U.S. at 34, according to the AP/USA TODAY/Northeastern University database. 

Police identified the suspect as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, and said they believe he acted alone. Aldrich was being treated for injuries; police offered few other details. 

A man with the same name and age was arrested in 2021 after his mother reported he threatened her with “a homemade bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition,” according to authorities, who did not confirm whether that man is the same person as the suspect in Saturday’s shooting.

No explosives were found, authorities said at the time.

On Sunday, authorities were looking into whether to prosecute the attack as a hate crime, according to El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen, who said charges against the suspect “will likely include first-degree murder.”

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Club Q devastated by ‘senseless attack’  

In a statement on its Facebook page, Club Q called the shooting a “hate attack” and said it was “devastated by the senseless attack on our community. Our … thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends.”

“We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack,” said the statement by Club Q, which describes itself as a dance and nightclub.