- Five people were killed and 25 were injured in a shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs Saturday.
- Two of the victims were bartenders at Club Q, and a third victim was a trans woman from Denver.
- Police said that a suspect is in custody and the attack is being investigated as a hate crime.
Police identified those killed in a shooting at an LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs, Colorado as Daniel Davis Aston, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, and Raymond Green Vance during a press conference on Monday.
Five people were killed and another 25 people were injured late Saturday night.
Police said the attack at Club Q is being investigated as a hate crime and authorities identified the shooting suspect as a 22-year-old man who is now in custody.
Club Q said in a Facebook post that “heroic customers” at the bar ultimately helped to tackle the gunman, and said its “prays [sic] and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends.”
Among the five victims of the shooting were two bartenders who worked at Club Q and a trans woman who was “like a mother” to her friends.
Daniel Davis Aston was a bartender and self-proclaimed ‘Master of Silly Business’
Aston, 28, was a bartender at Club Q and was killed in Saturday night’s attack. He was the youngest of his family, his mother, Sabrina Aston, told ABC News.
Aston moved to Colorado from Oklahoma, where he was “able to make friends quickly,” Sabrina Aston told ABC.
Sabrina Aston told the Washington Post that her son was transgender and found a job and a community at Club Q.
Sabrina Aston had previously thought her son was just a tomboy because he preferred to dress in boys’ clothing from a young age, according to the Associated Press, but said he became depressed in high school and eventually came out to her.
Aston started hormone treatment at 19, when he was in college at Northeastern State University, the Washington Post reported. He got top surgery a year ago, Sabrina Aston told the Washington Post, remembering how happy it made her son to swim at a family wedding after getting the surgery.
Sabrina Aston told The Post her son was saving money to finish college, wore his hair in a mullet — “Like Steve in ‘Stranger Things,'” and recently performed in an ’80s hair band show at Club Q, which he brought his friends and family to see.
“We’d bring our friends and family every time they came in town to show off Dan. It’s family-friendly,” Sabrina Aston told the Washington Post. “Not many parents go to those shows, but we were king and queen when we went there. They fawned over us — we never had to worry about drinks.”
According to the Associated Press, Aston was a self-proclaimed “Master of Silly Business.”
“He lit up a room, always smiling, always happy and silly,” Sabrina Aston told the Associated Press.
Sabrina Aston told The Post her son was especially proud of participating in shows that raised money for a local LGBTQ youth group, similar to one he had volunteered for in Oklahoma.
According to CPR News, Sabrina Aston said her son “was the happiest he had ever been,” in Colorado Springs.
Tempest Cartwright, a friend of Aston’s, told BuzzFeed News “He was just the light in every room. There was not a stranger to him, you know, everywhere we went, he was just so outgoing.”
Cartwright said Aston was beginning to establish himself more at the bar, hosting shows and putting on events himself, according to BuzzFeed News.
“He was so happy to have that,” Cartwright told BuzzFeed News. “That’s all he wanted, was to be that part of the community.”
Cartwright told BuzzFeed News that both he and Aston started transitioning around the same time and have both “seen all the hate that comes with it.”
“The anger is really what I’m battling right now. Just because, it’s scary, you know, my biggest fear come true,” he said.
“We just do our very best to be kind,” Cartwright continued. “I think it’s just so hard to be so kind to a world that doesn’t reciprocate.”
Aston’s coworker, Leia-Jhene Seals, told The Gazette was “energetic and helpful.”
According to The Gazette, friends remembered Aston as a “drag king, performer and bartender.”
Aston’s partner, a drag performer, was behind the bar when the suspect began shooting, Sabrina Aston told the Washington Post. Two people shielded him, and he wasn’t injured, the Post reported.
Derrick Rump was a Club Q bartender and someone who ‘liked to crack jokes’
Anthony Jaramillo, a friend of Rump’s, told CBS News that Rump loved working for Club Q and was a “staple” of the bar. “When I went to Club Q, Derrick was going to be there guaranteed every time,” Jaramillo said.
Jaramillo described his friend as “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.”
Seals described Rump as “bubbly” and “someone who liked to crack jokes,” according to The Gazette.
Tiara Latrice Kelley, a performer at Club Q, told The Gazette that Rump always “kept his smile.”
“He was all about keeping people happy,” Kelley said.
Dani Birzer, who frequented Club Q, told the Gazette that Rump made him feel safe whenever he was at the bar.
Kayla Cortes, who used to be a regular at the club, told Insider that Rump’s death “still hasn’t hit completely.”
“I’m so heartbroken. I didn’t want to believe it,” Cortes told Insider, adding that she’d had countless celebrations at Club Q, and Rump “made birthdays special.” She shared similar memories of Aston. “I can’t ever imagine walking into Q and not seeing them smiling at the bar,” Cortes said of Rump and Aston.
When she married her wife, Cortes recalled that Rump told her he was “proud of how far I’ve come” and “so happy to see me so happy.”
“That was my last conversation with him,” Cortes told Insider.
Kelly Loving was a ‘caring person’ and a ‘tough woman’
Loving, a 40-year-old trans woman, was visiting the Colorado Springs bar from her home in Denver, a friend told The New York Times.
Loving was on a FaceTime call with her friend, Natalee Skye Bingham, just minutes before the shooting unfolded, Bingham told the Times. Bingham said the last words she said to her friend were, “Be safe. I love you.”
“She was a tough woman,” Bingham told The Times. “She taught me how it was to be a trans woman and live your life day-to-day.”
Bingham told The Times: “She was like a trans mother to me. I looked up to her. In the gay community, you create your families, so it’s like I lost my real mother almost.”
Loving’s sister, Tiffany Loving, told the Times she learned of her sister’s death from the FBI on Sunday.
“She was loving, always trying to help the next person out instead of thinking of herself. She just was a caring person,” she said, according to the Times. “I was really close with her.”
Ashley Paugh ‘lived for’ her 11-year-old daughter
Paugh, 35, was visiting Colorado Springs for the day with a friend, her sister Stephanie Clark told NBC News.
Clark said her sister was not a member of the LGBTQ+ community but was visiting the bar to see a stand-up comedian perform after a day of shopping.
“It is with a heavy heart that I say that my sister-in-law, Ashley Green Paugh, was tragically murdered late Saturday night in a senseless act of hate,” Paugh’s sister-in-law, Kimberly Paugh wrote on Facebook.
She continued: “I ask that you pray for my baby brother who just lost his high school sweetheart and mother of his child. I ask that you pray also for her 11-year-old daughter as she goes on in this life without her mommy.”
Kimberly Paugh wrote that she wishes the suspected shooter “could hear the screams of my niece, crying for her mommy, as her crying father tells her that her mommy is gone on repeat for the rest of his life.”
“My niece is devastated,” Clark told NBC News, adding that Paugh “lived for her daughter.”
Raymond Green Vance was a ‘kind, selfless’ ally with big plans for the future
Vance, 22, attended Club Q for the first time with his girlfriend, who he had been with since middle school, to watch a show with friends and family, Vance’s parents said in a statement provided by police.
Vance was not LGBTQ+, but his family said that he was “supportive of the LGBTQ community.”
“Raymond was the victim of a man who unleashed terror on innocent people out with family and friends,” his family’s statement read. “His own family and friends are completely devastated by the sudden loss of a son, grandson, brother, nephew, and cousin loved by so many.”
Vance’s family said that he had just begun working at Colorado Springs FedEx distribution center and was working to get his own apartment. He dreamed of one day turning his hobby of playing video games into a full-time career.
“Raymond was a kind, selfless young adult with his entire life ahead of him,” the statement said. “His closest friend describes him as gifted, one-of-a-kind, and willing to go out of his way to help anyone.”
Vance’s family said he will be “missed unbearably.”