At least five people were killed and another 18 sustained injuries when 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich stormed inside an LGBT+ nightclub and opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle, before he was taken down by “heroic” patrons.
The suspect allegedly shot two bartenders, a mother-of-one on a night out, a transgender woman and a local man celebrating a friend’s birthday.
“We respect all of our community members, including our LGBTQ community,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said on Monday.
He added: “Therefore, we will be identifying the victims by how they identified themselves and how their families have loved and identified them.”
Mr Vasquez then read out their names along with their pronouns.
“Kelly Loving – pronouns are “she/her”, Daniel Aston – pronouns are “he/him”, Derrick Rump – pronouns are “he/him”, Ashley Paugh – pronouns are “she/her” and Raymond Green Vance – pronouns are “he/him”.
The police department’s deliberate move to not identify the victims using their government names in the wake of what appears to be an anti-LGBT+ hate crime was appreciated by people.
Tony Morrison, a senior communications director from the non-profit Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), said that the organisation worked closely with the police department “to ensure that the names released will be the names they go by and respectful of the gender-expansive community here”.
He told US Today that the goal was to be “in lockstep with the families affected”.
Meanwhile, the police said that the gunman has been arrested on suspicion of five counts of first-degree murder, and five counts of hate crime causing bodily injuries. He is expected to face further charges.