The bartender at the gay nightclub in Colorado where five people were slaughtered by a rampaging gunman last night has shared the terror he felt as the suspect prowled across the dancefloor – picking off friends and revellers with a firearm.
Five people are now dead and another 18 injured after an unknown person stormed Club Q – one of a handful of LGBTQ+ venues in Colorado Springs – and killed them during a Saturday night event.
Club Q – where the incident took place – advertises itself as an ” Adult-oriented gay & lesbian nightclub hosting theme nights such as karaoke, drag shows & DJs”.
The attack fell on the Transgender Day of Remembrance; an annual date when trans people lost to transphobic violence are remembered.
Police provided little additional information, other than the grim death tally, but a press conference was set for around 8am local time (3pm GMT) later today.
Michael Anderson, 25, who was working the bar when the gunman carried out the savage attack, has spoken exclusively to The Mirror about the terror he felt as the suspect began peeling off rounds.
He said: “I was bartending and then I suddenly heard a loud shooting noise. I looked up and then those noises began to fire off multiple times repeatedly.
“I saw a person with a gun, and I immediately ducked behind the bar and glass was flying around me.”
Panicking, Michael escaped to the patio area, where he found somewhere to hide and hunkered down with two other revellers.
As the trio hid, he watched another group flee through a door they had managed to open.
Michael added: “I was afraid I was going to die. I was preparing to get shot, when the shots then stopped.
“After a minute or two, I wasn’t sure if it was over or not, so I got up and decided to make a run for it.”
But as he got up to try and escape, Michael was met by further horror. Below him, sprawled out on the dancefloor, lay a man with a potentially fatal neck injury.
“I found a man lying on the floor after being shot in the neck,” he told The Mirror.
What Michael witnessed matched the testimony of other eyewitnesses, who said they saw partygoers pin down the gunman to prevent further bloodshed.
He said: “When I went inside I saw that two people had seemingly detained someone on the ground and were kicking them and yelling at them.
“I ran behind the bar and grabbed my things and ran to my car. The cops arrived in mass numbers by this time.
“I told them I believed the shooter was down on the dance floor and the shots had stopped.”
Michael lost friends in the shooting, he told The Mirror, and he’s now praying for the 18 rushed to hospital after the attack.
He added: “But our community is strong and remains united. We ask for your prayers and support.”
The active shooting was reported around 11.57pm local time, as footage shared on social media showed a huge police and emergency response, with ambulances lining the streets outside the club.
Police are yet to reveal what firearm was used in the attack, but initial reports suggested the suspect may have been picking off his victims with a sniper rifle.
Colorado Springs cops confirmed that five people were killed in the Club Q shooting with another 18 injured – though the extent of the survivor’s injuries have not yet been revealed.
Meanwhile, the club issued a statement on Facebook, calling the shooting a “hate attack” and said revellers attacked the gunman to prevent more shootings.
It said: “Club Q is 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.”