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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub early Sunday, killing five people and wounding 18 in the latest mass shooting to befall the country in a year in which anti-gay rhetoric has been amped up among extremists.
Lt. Pamela Castro of the Colorado Springs Police Department said police received a report of a shooting at Club Q at 11:57 p.m.
Castro said there was one suspect who was injured and was being treated. She said it was not immediately clear whether he had been shot by officers. She said the FBI was on the scene and assisting in the case.
The police department tweeted that it planned an 8 a.m. news conference at its operations center.
Club Q is a gay and lesbian nightclub that features a “Drag Diva Drag Show” on Saturdays, according to its website.
“Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community,” the club posted on its Facebook page. It said its prayers were with victims and families, and “We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”
The motive behind the shooting was not immediately known but it brought back memories of the 2016 massacre at the the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people. And it occurred in a state that has experienced several notorious mass killings, including at Columbine High School, a movie theater in a Denver suburb in 2012 and a Boulder supermarket last year.
In June, 31 members of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front were arrested in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and charged with conspiracy to riot at a Pride event. Experts warned that extremist groups could see anti-gay rhetoric as a call to action.
The previous month, a fundamentalist Idaho pastor told his small Boise congregation that gay, lesbian and transgender people should be executed by the government, which lined up with similar sermons from a Texas fundamentalist pastor.
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