President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden called the owners of Club Q in Colorado Springs on Thanksgiving to express their condolences after an armed suspect opened fire and killed five people at the gay nightclub last weekend.
The Bidens spoke with Nic Grzecka and Matthew Haynes, the co-owners of the venue, which hosts bingo nights with drag queens and Christmas dinners for the city’s LGBTQ+ community. A shooter opened fire there, killing five people and injuring 17 others before the suspect was subdued by patrons.
“They reiterated their support for the community as well as their commitment to fighting back against hate and gun violence,” the White House said in a statement. “They also thanked Nic and Matthew for the incredible contributions they have made and will continue to make to Colorado Springs.”
Grzecka and Haynes lambasted right-wing politicians on Wednesday for demonizing the queer community and attacking drag queens with unfounded lies about “grooming” children.
“Lying about our community, and making them into something they are not, creates a different type of hate,” Grzecka told The Associated Press.
Authorities arrested a suspect, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was ordered held without bail Wednesday as investigators consider murder and hate crime charges. Officials haven’t said what motivated the attack.
Biden pledged this week to do “whatever” it takes to begin banning assault weapons during a lame-duck session of Congress before Republicans take control of the House in January.
“I’m going to try to get rid of assault weapons,” Biden said, adding he would “start counting votes” to see how much support there is for such legislation.
The president also called Richard Fierro this week, an Army veteran credited with tackling the suspect during the Club Q attack.