A man entered the LGBTQ nightclub Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, just minutes before midnight on Saturday and “immediately” began shooting before patrons bravely intervened to subdue him, police said at a Sunday morning press conference. Five people were killed and at least 18 people were injured. It was the 601st mass shooting in America this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
FBI agents are already on scene, as is the U.S. Attorney for Colorado, Cole Finegan, who appeared at Sunday morning’s press conference promising “the person who did this” will be “brought to justice.”
District Attorney Michael Allen identified the suspect as Anderson Lee Aldrich, who is hospitalized but in custody, CNN reports. A police spokesperson reported the first 911 call came in at 11:56 PM local time, and within minutes police were on the scene at Club Q, and handcuffed the suspect within two minutes of arriving.
Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said they have not yet determined if the attack on the LGBTQ club was a hate crime, but did say two guns, including a long gun, were found on the scene.
An FBI agent said the mass shooting was being investigated through the “lens” of a possible hate crime.
Club Q was to host a drag queen Sunday brunch and observe Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is today. TDOR honors and memorializes transgender people who have been murdered in transphobic attacks.
“Let’s prep for a fantastic Sunday Funday!” the Club wrote on its Facebook page. Sunday evening the club was to have “an all stars cast of our freshest faces!” and said, “We’re celebrating Transgender Day of Remembrance with a variety of gender identities and performance styles!”
After the attack, on their Facebook page Club Q wrote they are “devastated by the senseless attack on our community. Our prays and 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.”
Colorado Governor Jared Polis, who is currently in COVID quarantine issued a statement saying, “The Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs was horrific, sickening, and devastating news to wake up to. My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured, and traumatized in this horrific shooting. I have spoken with Mayor Suthers and clarified that every state resource is available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs. We are eternally grateful for the brave individuals who blocked the gunman, likely saving lives in the process, and for the first responders who responded swiftly to this horrific shooting. Colorado stands with our LGTBQ Community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn.”
Researcher and political scientist Jay Ulfelder noted Sunday, “Since early 2021, the right has increasingly mobilized against the queer community, with drag shows being a particular focal point.”
Breaking my self-imposed Twitter silence to offer some context for last night’s mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs. Since early 2021, the right has increasingly mobilized against the queer community, with drag shows being a particular focal point. https://t.co/D16Js24co4 pic.twitter.com/8to96lD4CT
— Jay Ulfelder (@JayUlfelder) November 20, 2022
Just hours after the mass shooting the anti-LGBTQ right-wing extremist social media account Libs of TikTok tweeted a post about a Colorado Springs organization that it says “teaches kids how to become drag queens and helps kids ‘safely experience the art of drag on stage.'”
In June the Twitter account of Libs of TikTok was temporarily “locked” over a thread attacking drag shows that allow children, claiming they “sexualize children.”
In August NPR reported that Libs of TikTok has “gained prominence and influence in right-wing circles over the last year as conservatives increasingly try to use anti-LGBTQ sentiment to gain support.”
Democratic lawmakers across the country and other public figures are speaking out and offering condolences in the wake of the mass shooting.
Sickened and horrified by the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
The LGBTQ+ community is once again the target of the most terrible violence.
And devastating attacks like these will only become more common if we don’t fight back.
It must stop.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 20, 2022
Horrendous to hear about the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs. An unspeakable act. We have to protect LGBTQ lives from this hate.
— Senator John Hickenlooper (@SenatorHick) November 20, 2022
Horrible & horrific shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs. My heart breaks for the victims, their loved ones, & the LGBTQ+ community. This hate-fueled, tragic gun violence destroys lives & shakes communities to their core. We must do more to combat this scourge. https://t.co/TZHY1MsNpn
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) November 20, 2022
I’m horrified by the news of last night’s shooting in Colorado Springs. On Transgender Day of Remembrance, I mourn the victims and send love to the Club Q community. We must confront hate and bigotry in all its forms and act to end our country’s shameful epidemic of gun violence.
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) November 20, 2022
Devastated to hear about the horrific shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
Today, on #TransDayofRemembrance, my prayers are with the family & friends of the victims and the entire LGBTQ+ community. We must condemn hate in all its forms.
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) November 20, 2022
Waking up to news about another mass shooting — this time in my hometown of Colorado Springs. Club Q is a place of refuge for so many, including myself. I am both devastated and infuriated.
I will be there to support any of our Colorado Springs family in any way they need. https://t.co/nKTE0jUJwV
— Leslie Herod (@leslieherod) November 20, 2022
I’m devastated to learn of the gun murders at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
How sick are we of killing after killing after killing with guns in this country?! We must fight both ingredients of the toxic mix of gun violence and hatred of queer people. https://t.co/8olnQDIrKi
— Rep. Andy Levin (@RepAndyLevin) November 20, 2022
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‘Next Chapter?’ Manhattan DA Signals Trump Himself Might Finally Land Under Indictment
Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg may finally have changed his mind about indicting former president Donald Trump.
The recent conviction of the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg gave a glimpse of evidence that could tie the ex-president directly to the tax fraud scheme, such as a memo he signed approving chief operating officer Matthew Calamari’s illegal request to reduce his taxed salary to cover the cost of his untaxed corporate apartment, reported The Daily Beast.
“We now move on to the next chapter,” Bragg said last week after the company was ordered to pay $1.6 million in penalties for tax fraud.
Trump already asserted under oath in another case in 2021 that he personally oversaw Calimari’s compensation, and prosecutors have checks he signed to cover tuition at a private school for Weisselberg’s grandchildren, whose mother Jennifer Weisselberg has repeatedly told investigators she personally heard Trump discuss the scheme to artificially lower taxed salaries for his executives.
“This case has tentacles,” said Duncan Levin, a former prosecutor who now represents Jennifer Weisselberg and has been communicating with investigators.
The district attorney’s office declined to comment on what Bragg meant about another chapter, but former prosecutors from that office say their experience leads them to believe prosecutors will go after Trump.
“For people who want a certain outcome — to go after Trump — it gives hope,” said Catherine A. Christian, a former assistant district attorney who investigated financial fraud. “They’re going to be thorough. I’m doubtful he would have said ‘next chapter’ if they weren’t looking.”
“It happens all the time with large, complex investigations,” she added.
Prosecutors had hoped to flip Weisselberg or company controller Jeffrey McConney, who was nearly labeled a hostile witness during the Trump Organization trial, but ultimately were unable to get their full cooperation.
“They didn’t flip, and they failed,” said former Manhattan prosecutor Jeff Chabrowe. “They tried to do everything they could, and in the end, they got a truncated thing here where they went after the organization and Weisselberg, and there’s this fine that’s pretty weak.”
‘Final Nail in His Coffin’: Trump’s Taxes Contain ‘Powerful Evidence of Criminal Tax Evasion’
In a column for the Daily Beast, longtime investigative journalist and Donald Trump biographer David Cay Johnston made the case that there is enough evidence of financial fraud in the former president’s tax returns from 2015 to 2020 to indict and prosecute him.
At issue, he noted, are deductions taken for Trump companies — some of which may never have existed.
According to Johnston, the author of “The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family,” he found “powerful evidence of criminal tax evasion,” after reviewing the documents after they were released on Friday morning to the public after years of obstruction from Trump.
“Consider a rich business owner who fabricates deductions but who would still owe zero tax in the audited year even if those deductions were denied. That means an audit that will not generate any tax revenue. That’s also what Trump apparently did in 26 sole proprietor, or Schedule C, filings in the six years of released tax returns,” he wrote before adding, “Trump also turned a profit off a portion of the tax system, making $2.8 million profit off the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT.”
As for those 26 Trump businesses that may or may not exist, Johnston suggested that investigators dig deeper into how the former president used them to get out of paying taxes in the years involved.
“Most glaring in the tax returns is that they include 26 Trump businesses—or imaginary businesses—with zero revenue and hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax deductions for expenses,” he pointed out while noting they should be of interest to New York State Attorney General Letitia James, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“Unless Trump can produce records showing the expenses are real and meet other standards to be deductible, that’s fraud. That Trump did it 26 times as a candidate and as president is powerful evidence that he qualifies for prosecution by the federal government and New York State for criminal tax fraud,” he wrote before adding the results could lead to a “slam dunk” prosecution.
You can read more here.
Image: Evan El Amin/Shutterstock
Watch: J6 Committee Votes to Send Four Criminal Referrals Against Donald Trump to DOJ
The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has voted to send four criminal referrals to the Dept. of Justice, even more than previously expected.
The Committee’s referral says Donald Trump is guilty of: Obstruction of an official proceeding; Conspiracy to defraud the United States; Conspiracy to make a false statement; Inciting, assisting or aiding/comforting an insurrection, as reported by CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Calling the move “a major escalation for a congressional investigation that is the most significant in a generation,” The New York Times reports this is “the first time in American history that Congress has referred a former president for criminal prosecution,” and “is the coda to the committee’s intense 18-month investigation into Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election that culminated in a violent mob of the former president’s supporters laying siege to the Capitol.”
Watch this historic moment below or at this link.
The vote pic.twitter.com/Tsk0mE0wCC
— Acyn (@Acyn) December 19, 2022
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