One of the heroes of the Club Q shooting was released from the hospital on Monday, as Colorado Springs residents continue to mourn the deaths of five people at the LGBTQ nightspot on Nov. 19.
On Monday morning, Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas James was released from Penrose Hospital. He is the last of seven survivors of the mass shooting to be released from that hospital, according to Kevin Massey, communications field advisor for Centura Health, the hospital’s parent company.
Massey was unsure if there are other survivors still hospitalized elsewhere.
Also on Monday, Colorado Springs Police updated the number of victims from the attack. They now count 17 injured because of a gunshot wound, five people who were injured while fleeing, and another 12 considered hurt without visible injuries.
Personal property left behind in the club will be returned to patrons beginning Tuesday.
The five killings in the club brought the total homicide investigations for Colorado Springs in 2022 to 47, the police department said. At this point last year, CSPD had investigated 40 killings.
The death toll from Club Q could have been much worse
“I simply wanted to save the family I found. If I had my way, I would shield everyone I could from the nonsensical acts of hate in the world, but I am only one person.
Thankfully, we are family, and family looks after one another. We came a long way from Stonewall. Bullies aren’t invincible.
I want to support everyone who has known the pain and loss that have been all too common these past few years. My thoughts are with those we lost on Nov. 19, and those who are still recovering from their injuries.
To the youth I say be brave. Your family is out there. You are loved and valued. So when you come out of the closet, come out swinging.”
James joined the Navy in 2011 and at the time of the shooting was on active duty, stationed at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs and assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency in support of NORAD and Northern Command, as an Information staff technician, according to Col. Elizabeth Mathias, PhD, USAF, Director, Public Affairs. She added that James isn't yet up to conducting media interviews.
Brewery fundraisers raise thousands for victims
Also on Monday, estimates on funds raised by breweries started rolling in. On Saturday night, all of the 30 breweries in the Colorado Springs area agreed to set aside $2, or another portion of their choice, per sale, and donate it to an organization that would disburse it to survivors or victims of the mass shooting.
“BREWS FOR Q: Colorado Springs Multi-Brewery Fundraiser for Club Q Victims and Families” was organized by Teresa Vieira, managing partner of Peaks N Pines Brewery, which has one location in Fountain and another in Colorado Springs. Those two spots combined raised more than $1,000, she said. In the coming days, she’ll know how much the other breweries will chip in.
“I was going to send an email out to all the breweries in town to get an estimate,” she said on Monday. “We need to give everyone time to calculate sales and stuff like that.”
The idea for the fundraiser was hatched when she learned that Fierro, who spent 15 years in the Army and has talked about how he used military tactics to stop the shooter, also co-owns a beer company called Atrevida (which means “daring” in Spanish). His daughter Kassy suffered a knee injury, and her 22-year-old boyfriend was killed.
”We take care of our own, and when somebody in our group is impacted by something so severe,” Vieira said. “We not only wanted to help the Club Q victims, before we knew one of our own was involved, but after learning [that], it just made it that much more of an urgency that we wanted to do something.”
People who knew the victims mourn and remember
A similar urgency was felt by Michael “Rufio” Jimenez, 35 of Denver. He was a good friend of Derrick Rump, 38, one of the five people killed in the shooting.
The others are Daniel Aston, 28; Ashley Green Paugh, 35; Raymond Green Vance, 22; and Kelly Loving, 40.
“He left an earring here at my house like two weeks ago,” Jimenez said of Rump, who worked as a manager of the bar area at Club Q. “It’s just a cross, and I’m gonna get it tattooed on me.”
On Wednesday, Jimenez and another mutual friend will go to a tattoo parlor — time and which one to be determined — and have Rump memorialized on their skin. The other friend plans to get Rump’s initials and the club’s name. Before getting inked, they plan to visit his spiritual mentor who can perhaps help them understand the shooting in a broader way.
Jimenez said he’d been comforting other friends of Rump’s until Sunday, when he began processing his own grief by taking a “me day.”
The two met at Club Q, where Jimenez often arranged for performers to dance.
“He was the only one who’s been around forever, especially during the pandemic,” he said.
During the shooting, Jimenez concluded that Rump was trying to save others immediately before he was killed. He’d learned that Rump’s body was found on the right side of the bar, which led him to believe that Rump was, “probably running to try to tell people to run and get out through the back exit,” he said.
“That’s just the type of person he is.”
He said Rump wasn’t especially close to his nuclear family, and that he didn’t know what plans there were for his funeral. He described him as sassy, well-organized and very professional.
“He just was an all-around good person, always having fun, always positive, never sad, just a good person,” he said.
The memorial outside Club Q continues to grow, and another LGBTQ bar in the Springs draws clientele
The currently-closed Club Q was somber over the weekend. At about 9:45 p.m. on Saturday, a handful of people were standing in silence, looking at the ever-growing memorial of candles, flowers and notes that extended easily six feet from the club’s outer wall into the parking lot.
The club’s location in an industrial-looking part of town not adjacent to other businesses suggested they were there for no other reason. Large images of each of the victims also hung on the outer wall.
Calls to the owner and co-owner of Club Q to find out what the future held for the bar were not returned.
At about the same time Saturday night, five miles away, another club called ICONS with a large LGBTQ clientele was full, with about 50 or 60 patrons drinking, talking, laughing, and listening to music. The doorman greeted everyone who walked in with a smile and said, “Hey, friend!”
One patron and one bartender said the spot was busier than normal. Asked if they thought Club Q being closed meant regulars there showed up to ICONS instead, both said yes.
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