Pulse-shooting survivor ‘transported straight back’ on news of Colorado attack

Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., said he was “transported straight back” after news of the fatal Colorado Springs shooting at an LGBTQ+ nightclub.

A gunman opened fire at Club Q in Colorado Springs on Saturday, killing five people and wounding another 18, local police said. The shooting is the latest violent attack on the LGBTQ+ community and reminds many of the Pulse shooting, where a gunman opened fire inside, killing 49 people.

Wolf, a Pulse survivor who serves as press secretary for Equality Florida, mourned the victims of the shooting in a tweet Sunday morning.

“Oh God. My heart is broken and I feel taken back immediately,” Wolf wrote.

In a follow-up tweet, Wolf condemned the anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric employed by some right-wingers. Many members of the LGBTQ+ community have sounded the alarm about rising homophobia and transphobia in recent months, including the re-emergence of unfounded “grooming” allegations against LGBTQ+ people. Many have warned this rhetoric could lead to an attack, although police have not confirmed the shooting was a hate crime.

“We don’t know the motive yet. But let’s be honest – the anti-LGBTQ hysteria being fomented in this country has made me look over my shoulder for more than 6 years,” he tweeted. “My heart aches for a community waking up to the hateful hell we’ve been through. Orlando is with you.”

Wolf also appeared on MSNBC Sunday morning, where he said he learned about the shooting from “panic texts” from his friends and noted that it felt “eerily similar” to how people were reacting to the Pulse shooting.

“I am angry that we are in a position where this is a traumatized community. We have been humiliated. We’ve been dehumanized,” he said.

The onePULSE Foundation, established to create “a sanctuary of hope” around the “tragic” 2016 mass shooting, also released a statement about the shooting. The organization will lead a “Moment of Prayer and Reflection” at the Pulse Interim Memorial on Sunday at 5 p.m.

“We are deeply saddened and concerned by the mass shooting at Club Q gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado. So far, at least five people have been killed and 18 others injured,” the organization wrote in a Facebook post.

The Colorado Springs shooting transported a Pulse survivor "the back"
Above is a sign reading “Love over Hate” near Club Q in Colorado Springs on Sunday after a gunman opened fire, killing five people. Brandon Wolf, who survived the 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, said he was “transported straight back” after news of the shooting broke.

Colorado police identified the suspect

The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) identified the suspected shooter as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldridge and confirmed two firearms were found at the scene.

“Club Q is a safe haven for our LGBT citizens. Every citizen has the right to feel safe and secure in our beautiful city. The suspect entered Club Q and then immediately began shooting at people inside as he continued to enter the club,” CSPD Chief Adrian Vasquez said during a news conference.

He also praised two “heroic” people at the club who confronted Aldridge and stopped him from “continuing to kill or harm others.” The shooting remained under investigation and police were working to determine if the shooting was a hate crime.

The shooting took place on Transgender Memorial Day, which GLAAD says “honors the memory of transgender people whose lives have been lost in anti-transgender violence.”

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden released a statement on the shooting.

“Places that should be safe places of acceptance and celebration should never become places of terror and violence. And yet it happens far too often. We must root out the injustices that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people. We cannot and must not tolerate hate,” he wrote.

news week reached out to Equality Florida for comment.

https://www.newsweek.com/pulse-shooting-survivor-transported-right-back-news-colorado-attack-1760925 Pulse-shooting survivor ‘transported straight back’ on news of Colorado attack

Rick Schindler

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