Colorado club shooting survivor: ‘I want to be resilient’

Nov 22, 2022, 12:47 AM | Updated: Nov 23, 2022, 10:22 am
In this image provided UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, Club Q shooting survivor Ed Sanders pose...

In this image provided UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, Club Q shooting survivor Ed Sanders poses on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in Colorado Springs Colo. Sanders, 63, says he wants to be resilient and won't be "taken out by some sick person.” He has been a patron of Club Q for 20 years — and was even there on the club's opening night. (Sonya Doctorian/UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central via AP)

(Sonya Doctorian/UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central via AP)

              In this image provided UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, Club Q shooting survivor Ed Sanders poses on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in Colorado Springs Colo. Sanders, 63, says he wants to be resilient and won't be "taken out by some sick person.” He has been a patron of Club Q for 20 years — and was even there on the club's opening night. (Sonya Doctorian/UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central via AP)
            
              In this image from video provided UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, Club Q shooting survivor Ed Sanders talks, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022,  about the incident in Colorado Springs Colo. Sanders, 63, says he wants to be resilient and won't be "taken out by some sick person.” He has been a patron of Club Q for 20 years — and was even there on the club's opening night. (Sonya Doctorian/UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central via AP)
            
              In this image taken from video, James Slaugh speaks with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, from his hospital bed at Penrose Hospital, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Slaugh suffered a bullet wound to his shoulder during a mass shooting at a gay club in Colorado Springs on Saturday night, Nov. 19. (AP Photo)

One man who has frequented Club Q for decades was just opening up a tab at the bar when he was shot in the back. Another man was about to leave the club with his group when he heard a “pop, pop, pop” and took a bullet to his arm — then watched his boyfriend and sister fall to the floor.

They are some of the 17 people wounded by gunfire Saturday when a 22-year-old man went on a shooting rampage at Club Q, a well-known club for the LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs. On Tuesday, they shared the horror of seeing their loved ones shot down in front of them, as well as the hope they felt as people helped each other in the chaos.

Ed Sanders, 63, said he had been waiting in line at the bar, had made his way up to the front and given the bartender his credit card when he was hit in the back — right between the shoulder blades. Surprised, he turned to look at the gunman, only to be hit again in the thigh as another volley of shots were fired.

“I fell. And everybody fell,” Sanders said in video statements released Tuesday by UCHealth Memorial Hospital Center. “It was very traumatic. I shielded another woman with my coat … there was a lot of chaos.”

James Slaugh said he, his boyfriend and his sister were getting ready to leave the club when, “all of a sudden we just hear, ‘pop, pop, pop.’ As I turn, I took a bullet in my arm from the back.”

Slaugh, who spoke to The Associated Press from his hospital bed, said he watched others around him fall — including his boyfriend, who was shot in the leg, and his sister, who had bullet wounds in 13 places. He quickly called the police, heard several more shots, then nothing. The scariest part of the shooting, he said, was not knowing whether the gunman would fire again.

Five people were killed in the shooting, which stopped after the gunman was disarmed by patrons.

The motive for the attack is still being investigated and the man has not been formally charged. Police say he was armed with multiple firearms, including an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle, and possible hate crimes are being considered.

“I want to be resilient. I’m a survivor,” Sanders said. “I’m not going to be taken out by some sick person.”

Sanders has been a patron of Club Q for 20 years and even went to the club’s opening night decades ago. He wore a hospital gown and had an oxygen tube in his nose in the video recorded by the hospital.

He said that after the 2016 Pulse gay nightclub shooting in Florida, which killed 49 people, Sanders thought about what he would do if something similar happened at Club Q — but he never dreamed it would become reality.

“I’m smiling now because I am happy to be alive,” Sanders said. “I dodged a major event in my life and came through it, and that’s part of who I am as a survivor.”

Sanders knew many of the victims, including the “door lady” and two bartenders who died. Sanders said that after the shooting, people who weren’t hit were helping each other “just like a family would do.”

Sanders said the shot to his back missed vital organs but broke a rib. He said he now has a concave wound in his back and will need skin grafts. Sanders was also shot in the thigh, and said “that was the most blood.”

“I think this incident underlines the fact that LGBT people need to be loved,” Sanders said.

For Slaugh, Club Q was a place where he felt safe after coming out as gay at age 24. It was where he met his partner, Jancarlos Del Valle, eight months ago, and it was where they took his sister, Charlene, on Saturday night to cheer her up from a recent breakup, as well as the death of their mother from COVID-19 a year ago.

Slaugh said that after the gunman was subdued, the club instantly became a community again. Patrons grabbed paper towels to try to stop bleeding wounds. One man told Slaugh he would be OK and kissed him on the forehead.

“That was such a reassurance to me,” he said. “That hope stayed there.”

Del Valle and James were rushed to one hospital and Charlene, who had more extensive injuries, was taken to another. James said he did not find out what happened to his sister until the next day. A community of support has formed around the Slaughs, including a GoFundMe campaign to pay for medical bills. Messages have poured in from around the world.

“Being shot, being a victim of this whole thing — it left me with a sense of more hope than anything else, especially with everyone coming together,” he said. “This is not a time to be afraid. This is not a time to let in one awful person. This is a time to come together.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

murders...
Associated Press

Renton man gets 10 years in prison in drug trafficking case

A federal judge has sentenced a Renton, Washington man to 10 years in prison for his role in a violent drug distribution ring, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Saturday’s Scores

PREP FOOTBALL= WIAA Playoff= Class 4A= Semifinal= Kennedy 42, Emerald Ridge 28 Class 3A= Semifinal= Yelm 28, Bellevue 27 Class 2B= Semifinal= Napavine 49, Jenkins Jr/Sr High (Chewelah) 6 Okanogan 42, Pe Ell/Willapa Valley 14 Class 1A= Semifinal= Mount Baker 14, Nooksack Valley 13 Class 1B= Semifinal= Liberty Bell 70, Odessa 24 Neah Bay 82, […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Police: 1 killed, 3 shot breaking into Georgia home

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (AP) — An 18-year-old was killed and three others were injured Friday in a shooting after they attempted to break into a DeKalb County home, police said. Officers arrived around 5 p.m. and found three people — a 23-year-old, 18-year-old and 15-year-old — who had been shot, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. All […]
18 hours ago
A crime scene is taped off at New Season Church in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Me...
Associated Press

Drive-by shooting injures 2 at funeral at Nashville church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A drive-by shooting in Nashville on Saturday injured two people as they and others were walking out of church from the funeral of a woman who was fatally shot earlier this month, according to police. Metro Nashville Police Department spokesperson Don Aaron said the afternoon shooting occurred outside New Season Church, […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Nick Fuentes, far-right activist, holds a rally at the Lansing Capitol, in Lansing, Mich., N...
Associated Press

Trump faulted for dinner with white nationalist, rapper Ye

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is renewing attention to his long history of turning a blind eye to bigotry after dining with a Holocaust-denying white nationalist and the rapper formerly known as Kanye West just days into his third campaign for the White House. Trump had dinner Tuesday at his Mar-a-Lago club […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

12-year-old dies in Russian Roulette; murder charges brought

A 12-year-old boy is dead after playing Russian Roulette with peers in Jackson, Mississippi, police say. Jackson’s Deputy Police Chief Deric Hearn identified the boy as Markell Noah, according to reports by Mississippi-based WLBT-TV. Following the death officers arrested two juveniles and one adult Friday. Police say the two juveniles are being charged with murder […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Colorado club shooting survivor: ‘I want to be resilient’