The victims of the shooting at the Q Club LGBTQ in Colorado Springs include two bartenders, the mother of an 11-year-old girl and two other clubgoers who were enjoying a carefree night before a lone gunman began shooting indiscriminately.
The shooting left another 19 people injured and a community in mourning.
«Too often, society loses track of the victims of these sad and tragic events throughout the suspect’s speech,» Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said at a news conference Monday afternoon. «We strive to give victims the dignity and respect they deserve.»
Daniel Aston, 28
Two years ago, Daniel Aston moved from his native Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Colorado Springs, where he began working at Club Q as a bartender and entertainer. his mom told The Associated Press.
«He would light up a room, always smiling, always happy and fun,» said his mother, Sabrina Aston, who lives in Colorado Springs.
He remembered how liberated he looked as he slid across the club’s stage on his knees, delighting the crowd.
Sabrina Aston described the murder of her son, a transgender man, as a «nightmare you can’t wake up from.»
«I still think it’s just a mistake. They made a mistake and he’s really alive,» he told the AP.
She said she first learned of the attack early Sunday when one of her son’s friends called to say Aston was in hospital. She rushed to Memorial Hospital to be with him, but was told to wait at home for an update.
She found out later that morning that he had died.
Loving Kelly, 40
Kelly Loving’s sister, Tiffany Loving, told The New York Times that she learned of her sister’s death from the FBI on Sunday.
«She was loving, always trying to help the next person, instead of thinking about herself.» Tiffany Loving told The Times. «She was a loving person. I was very close to her.»
Ashley Paugh, 35
Ashley Paugh was capping off a day trip in Colorado Springs with a night of fun at Club Q when the gunman opened fire, her sister said.
Stephanie Clark said that Paugh was a loving mother and wife who was devoted to her family, including her 11-year-old daughter.
«My niece is devastated,» Clark said, adding that Paugh «lived for her daughter.»
In a phone interview Monday, Clark sobbed and described an intense whirlwind of emotions after his sister’s death.
“It just doesn’t seem real,” Clark said. “We are heartbroken. I was sad. We are angry, angry.»
Paugh, who is not part of the LGBTQ community, spent Saturday in Colorado Springs with a friend. The two friends had a bite to eat, went shopping and planned to end the night at Club Q, where they expected a comedian to perform, Clark said.
«Nothing will ever be the same without her,» Clark said. «Right now, I don’t want to laugh. She was a loving, caring person who would do anything for anyone. She’s going to be sorely missed.»
Friends said Rump was a bartender at Club Q who was endearingly sassy and brutally honest.
«Derrick always showed tough love, but he did it because someone had to,» his friend Alex Gallagher said.
Gallagher recalled that Rump made fun of him for the way he applied his makeup in the bathroom. They went back and forth on the subject until Rump snapped, «You know I’m right.»
That ended the conversation.
Raymond Green Vance, 22
Raymond Green Vance’s relatives «are still trying to come to terms with the fact that he is gone,» the family said in a statement to The New York Times. «Her absence from him will leave irreparable anguish in countless lives.»
In a Facebook post, Vance’s girlfriend paid tribute to him.
«My baby was the most loving and fun human being. Let’s share that with each other. I need a smile,» Kassy Fierro wrote in the post.
Fierro’s father, decorated Army veteran Richard Fierro, was one of two people who tackled and subdued the gunman inside the nightclub, his wife said Monday.
Jessica Fierro said she was at Club Q with her husband, daughter and friends to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
She said her two best friends were shot and her daughter broke her knee running for cover.
Daniel Arkin reported from New York; Deon J. Hampton reported from Colorado Springs, Colorado.
chantal da silva, melissa-chan, janelle griffith Y The Associated Press contributed.