FBI agents are on the scene of a gay nightclub where five people were killed in a shooting last night.
At least 18 people were injured after shots were fired at Club Q in Colorado Springs just before midnight, a police spokesperson has confirmed.
The suspected gunman, who has not yet been publicly identified, is in custody and currently being treated at a local hospital.
It is unclear how the suspect was injured, though early reports suggest the gunmen was subdued by patrons inside the club, which had been sponsoring a drag show earlier in the night.
Numerous victims, some in critical condition, were transported to nearby hospitals. The medical facilities are currently working to notify families of their loved ones’ conditions.
Authorities are treating the scene as a mass casualty event, which is defined as an incident in which the number of people killed or injured overwhelms the capacity of local authorities.
FBI agents are now assisting Colorado Springs police with the investigation, which Lieutenant Pamela Castro told the media is in the preliminary stage.
Police are expected to provide more updates during a press conference today around 8am local time.
They say it is too early to determine if the shooting was a targeted hate crime.
Five people have died after a gunman opened fire inside a gay nightclub in Colorado last night
At least 18 people were injured after shots were fired inside Club Q (pictured last night) in Colorado Springs just before midnight, a police spokesperson has confirmed
On its Facebook page, a statement from Club Q sad it was ‘devastated by the senseless attack on our community’
Colorado Springs police received initial reports of an active shooting at the club around 11.57pm last night.
More than 30 firefighters and 11 ambulances responded to the scene, according to the Colorado Sun.
Images from the scene showed multiple security and emergency vehicles with flashing blinkers parked on a street near the venue.
Homicide investigators will remain at the scene for ‘many, many hours’ as authorities work to process the scene.
Police did not give any information on the motivation behind the attack or what type of gun was used.
North Academy Boulevard between North Carefree Circle and Village Seven Road will remain closed while officials search the scene. Residents are advised to avoid the area.
Anyone who witnessed the shooting or has video footage of the attack is also asked to contact police.
Images from the scene showed multiple security and emergency vehicles with flashing blinkers parked on a street near the venue
Homicide investigators will remain at the scene for ‘many, many hours’ as authorities work to process the scene. The police did not give any information on the motivation behind the attack or the type of gun used
North Academy Boulevard between North Carefree Circle and Village Seven Road will remain closed while officials search the scene. Residents are advised to avoid the area
The FBI Denver office confirmed on Twitter Sunday morning that they are assisting Colorado Springs police in the investigation
Club Q describes itself online as an ‘adult-oriented gay and lesbian nightclub hosting theme nights such as karaoke, drag shows & DJs.’
The club was scheduled to celebrate Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday ‘with a variety of gender identities and performance styles,’ following a musical drag brunch that morning.
An online review called Club Q a ‘fun, inclusive place to hang out,’ with one visitor saying ‘everyone is so freaking kind,’ while another said that they were ‘glad to see a good queer space in Colorado Springs.’
On its Facebook page, a statement from Club Q sad it was ‘devastated by the senseless attack on our community.’
‘Our prays (sic) and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends,’ the club wrote.
‘We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.’
Frequent clubgoers posted their shock about the shooting on Facebook, with one woman writing: ‘My heart goes out to my Colorado Springs family. My Colorado Springs Drag sisters.
‘I cannot believe this is happening in a place we call a safe space we had that taken from us tonight. My heart is shattered,’ Carzsa Maestas wrote.
‘Club Q is where I started by Drag career. It’s my home bar. This is absolutely beyond devastating and I pray to God that everyone there tonight is OK.’
A man who had left the club just 10 minutes before the shots were fired also told KRDO how he was able to connect with one of his friends who was shot at the hospital.
He told the news station that his friend described the shooter as a man wearing a mask and a bulletproof vest.
Another of his friends, though, was killed in the massacre.
‘It’s hard to hear, it’s hard to see,’ the man, only identified as Joseph, told KRDO. ‘These people at the bar, they’re friends, they’re family.’
Club Q describes itself as an ‘adult-oriented gay and lesbian nightclub hosting theme nights such as karaoke, drag shows & DJs’
The club was hosting a drag show earlier in the night, and was scheduled to stay open until 2am
Frequent clubgoers took to Facebook to express their shock at the shooting
How America’s gay clubs and bars have been targeted in hate attacks
Saturday’s shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs is just the most recent attack targeting gay clubs in America’s history.
In 1973, 32 people died in an arson attack at the UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar in the French Quarter in New Orleans. The arsonist was never arrested.
On November 18, 1980 a gunman killed two men in front of two gay venues in New York City’s West Village.
A former transit police officer, who was also a minister’s son, fired a submachine gun indiscriminately at men standing in front of the Ramrod, a popular leather bar, and the Sneakers bar on West Street.
In 1997, an explosion injured five people at a gay bar in Atlanta. Eric R. Rudolph, a right-wing extremist, claimed responsibility for that and a series of other bombings.
In 2000, a former Marine who said that he was on a mission to kill gay people, shot and killed a man and injured six others in Roanoke, Virginia
In 2016, a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at Pulse, a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida in the second deadliest mass shooting in American history.
Although the motive behind last night’s shooting was not immediately known, the tragedy brought back memories of the 2016 massacre at the the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people.
Gunman Omar Mateen was killed on the scene after his gun jammed.
The Club Q shooting also comes as America celebrates Trans Day of Remembrance.
Additionally, Colorado is 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.
A gunman also killed six people at a birthday party on Mother’s Day last year before taking his own life, and in 2015, a man with an assault-style rifle killed three people and wounded nine others at a rampage at a Planned Parenthood office.
That same year, a man carrying a semiautomatic rifle fatally shot three people, apparently at random, on a residential street near downtown Colorado Springs. The gunman was fatally shot by police officers after he fired at them, authorities said at the time.
US Representative-elect Eric Sorensen took to Twitter this morning to issue his support for the victims and call on Americans to ‘turn down hateful rhetoric aimed at our LGBTQ community.’
Mr Sorensen said: ‘Devastating news in Colorado Springs where 23 people were shot at an LGBTQ club overnight, according to Police. As we pray for those fighting for life, we must use loud voices to stand up against hate.’
Sen. John Hickenlooper, a Colorado Democrat, also called the shooting ‘an unspeakable act.’
He added: ‘We have to protect LGBTQ lives from this hate.’
And Rep. Lauren Boebert, a local Republican who is an outspoken supporter of gun rights, called the shooting ‘absolutely awful’ and said she was praying for the victims.
She added: ‘This lawless violence needs to end and end quickly.’
Meanwhile, in Illinois, House Majority Leader Greg Harris said: ‘Today is Trans Day of Remembrance, when we honor the memories of our murdered Trans siblings. Sadly we also grieve for people shot in an attack on an LGBT club in Colorado Springs last night.
‘Honor their memories by fighting back against hate and defending Trans rights.’
Democrat Stephen Heidt, who recently lost his bid for Idaho governor, echoed their claims, saying: ‘Our family is praying for all those affected by the Colorado Springs Shooting.
‘We have yet another gun crime, another hate crime. We must come together as a nation and stand against hate now. We are out of time.’
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul also released a statement, reading: ‘I am horrified by the shooting in Colorado Springs, and my heart breaks for the victims and their loved ones.
‘This senseless loss of life is yet another tragedy due to gun violence and hate, and I join all New Yorkers in praying for the people of Colorado.’
President of European Parliament Roberta Metsola also issued her condolences to the victims and their loved ones.
‘My heart breaks at another deadly attack targeting the #LGBTIQ community-this time at a club in #ColoradoSprings in the US,’ she tweeted.
‘It’s another reminder of our duty to lead the fight against hate and ensure everyone is free to love who they wish to love & live as they wish to live.’
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.