A loving boyfriend. A 28-year-old bartender who loved to perform. A mother visiting from a small town who enjoyed hunting. Those are some of the victims of the rampage at an LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs that left five people dead.
Club regulars and newcomers — gay and straight, transgender and cisgender — flocked to Club Q over the weekend to dance, enjoy a comedy show or work behind the bar. What began as a typical Saturday evening of dancing and drinking at the preeminent LGBTQ establishment in the conservative-leaning Colorado city south of Denver ended in tragedy when a gunman entered and began spraying bullets before he was tackled and subdued.
In the mostly conservative city of Colorado Springs, Club Q has long been a go-to spot for members of the LGBTQ+ community — a safe space where many felt they could just be themselves. But that was shattered this weekend.
The Colorado Springs Police Department also identified Thomas James and Richard Fierro as the two civilians “whose heroic actions stopped the suspect and saved lives.”
There have been 523 mass killings since 2006 resulting in 2,727 deaths as of Nov. 19
These are the victims:
Daniel Aston, 28, grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and moved to be closer to family in Colorado Springs two years ago. He worked as a bartender and entertainer at Club Q and cherished the venue as a sanctuary where as a transgender man he could be himself and perform to a lauding audience, his mother Sabrina Aston told The Associated Press.
The self-proclaimed “Master of Silly Business,” Aston had a propensity for making others laugh that started as a child when he would don elaborate costumes and write plays acted out by neighborhood kids. In college, where he was president of his school’s LGBTQ club, he put on fundraisers with ever-more flashy productions.
″(Daniel’s shows) are great. Everyone needs to go see him,” his mother said. “He lit up a room, always smiling, always happy and silly,” she said.
Derrick Rump, 38, a bartender at Club Q, was remembered as a loving person with a quick wit who adopted his friends as his family.
His mother, Julia Thames, said in a statement that Rump was “a kind loving person who had a heart of gold.”
“He was always there for my daughter and myself when we needed him; also his friends from Colorado, which he would say was his family also,” she said in the statement.
Rump’s friend, Anthony Jaramillo, told CBS News that Rump was “loving, supportive, with a heavy hand in his drink pouring, and just a really good listener and would not be afraid to tell you when you were wrong instead of telling you what you wanted to hear and that was really valuable. “
Kelly Loving, 40, had been talking to a friend on a FaceTime call from inside Club Q just minutes before the shooting started. Natalee Skye Bingham told The New York Times that the last thing she said to Loving was: “Be safe. I love you.”
“She was like a trans mother to me. I looked up to her,” Bingham said. “In the gay community you create your families, so it’s like I lost my real mother almost.”
Bingham, 25, said Loving, had only recently moved to Denver and was visiting the club while on a weekend trip to Colorado Springs.
“She was a tough woman,” Bingham said. “She taught me how it was to be a trans woman and live your life day to day.”
Loving’s sister, Tiffany Loving, told the newspaper that the FBI told her that her sister had been killed.
“She was loving, always trying to help the next person out instead of thinking of herself,” Tiffany Loving said.
“My condolences go out to all the families who lost someone in this tragic event, and to everyone struggling to be accepted in this world. My sister was a good person. She was loving and caring and sweet. Everyone loved her,” Tiffany Loving added in a separate statement released by the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Raymond Green Vance
Raymond Green Vance went to Club Q on Saturday night with his girlfriend, Kassy Fierro, and her father, Rich, the co-owner of Atrevida Beer Co., a local brewery in Colorado Springs. The group was there to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
“My sweet baby. ill never be able to heal from this. i want to wake up from this horrendous nightmare. i pray u hear me when i call for you. im so sorry. ill never forgive myself for taking everyone there. i will love you til the day i get to come back home to your arms,” Kassy Fierro wrote in a Facebook post Monday accompanied by a photo of the couple.
Vance’s mother confirmed her son’s death to The Colorado Springs Gazette.
Ashley Paugh, 35, enjoyed hunting and fishing and just shot a deer last week, her sister Stephanie Clark told NBC NewsA resident of La Junta, a 7,500-person town about a two-hour’s drive from Colorado Springs, Paugh was visiting for the day with a friend when they went to Club Q on Saturday night for a comedy act.
Clark said Paugh had a husband and an 11-year-old daughter, who is “devastated” by her death. It left the family reeling just days before Thanksgiving.
Associated Press News Researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York and reporter Jesse Bedayn in Colorado Springs contributed to this report. Bedayn is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on uncovered issues.