As Colorado Springs residents and leaders wrap their arms around the 19 injured and others traumatized by the Club Q shooting, family members pay tribute to the five who died in the attack on the beloved LGBTQ nightclub.
The Colorado Springs Police Department identified the five victims how:
- Raymond Green Vance (he/him)
- Kelly Loving (she/her)
- Daniel Aston (he/him)
- Derrick Rump (he/him)
- Ashley Paugh (she/her)
Some of the victims worked at Club Q, while others were there to enjoy the evening’s celebrations.
Here are their stories:
Derrick Rump was a bartender at Club Q who “had found a community of people that he really, really loved, and he felt he could shine there — and he did,” his sister, Julia Kissling, told CNN’s daughter WFMZ. “He changed the lives of so many people, and that’s what he wanted to be.”
Tiara Kelley, who was performing at the club the night before the incident, told CNN Rump and colleague Daniel Aston were polar opposites in many ways but worked well together.
“They were just amazing and every bar should have a Daniel and a Derrick,” Kelley said.
If you walked into the club and heard Britney Spears play, you knew Rump worked at the bar, said Jessi Hazelwood, who met Rump and Aston shortly after moving to Colorado Springs. When Hazelwood first arrived in town, she wasn’t sure what the LGBTQ scene might be like, and it was the likes of Rump and Aston who made Club Q feel like home, she said.
“Derrick and Daniel were the light and heart of Club Q,” she said. “We’re not saying the LGBTQ community. We say the Club Q community because that’s exactly what it is here in Colorado Springs. It’s the Club Q community. It’s a facility that gave us a safe space where we could be who we are all the time, and Derrick and Daniel in particular were always the glue…the heart that held it all together.”
They didn’t just welcome LGBTQ patrons, she said.
“When someone was having a hard time, when someone was new to the community – they always had open arms for everyone, even people who weren’t part of the LGBTQ community could go there and celebrate their friendships, their allies, because (Derrick and Daniel) made sure everyone felt safe. They made everyone feel like they could be who they are all the time,” said Hazelwood.
“I don’t think our community could ever replicate the feeling of Club Q that it was with Derrick and Daniel. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to be exactly the same.”
Aston, 28, was bar supervisor at Club Q, said bartender Michael Anderson, who has known Aston for a number of years and considered him a friend.
On the night of the shooting, Anderson saw the shooter and ducked behind the bar where he and Aston worked as glass rained down around him, he told CNN on Monday. Thinking he was dying, he said a prayer and as he moved to escape the scene, he saw two unknown people punching and kicking the gunman, he said.
Anderson was dejected to learn that Aston hadn’t made it out of the bar, which Colorado Springs’ LGBTQ community considered a safe place to be.
“He was the best manager anyone could have asked for. He made me come to work and he made me want to be a part of the positive culture that we were trying to create there,” Anderson said.
He added that Aston is an “amazing person”. He was a light in my life and it’s surreal that we even talk about him in the past tense.”
Aston moved to Colorado Springs two years ago to be closer to his mother and father, parents Jeff and Sabrina Aston told the Denver Post. The club was minutes from their home, and after one of Daniel’s friends told them he’d been shot, they rushed to the emergency room – only to find he’d never arrived.
Daniel Aston was 4 when he told his mother he was a boy and it was another decade before he came out as transgender, his mother told the newspaper. He thought he was shy, but he wasn’t, she said. He’s never known a stranger, not even as a child.
“He had so much more life to give to us and all his friends and himself,” she told the Post.
“He used to say, ‘I’m shy,’ but he wasn’t. He wrote poetry. He loved dressing up. He got into acting in high school. He’s an entertainer. That’s what he really loves.”
Ashley Paugh’s family released a statement on her behalf on Monday, saying they were “absolutely devastated”.
“She meant everything to this family and we cannot even begin to understand what it will mean not to have her in our lives,” the statement said.
Paugh was a mother, and her daughter Ryleigh “was her whole world,” the statement said, adding that Paugh placed great value on family.
“She loved her father, sister and family; Ashley was a loving aunt to many nieces and nephews who are devastated by their loss,” the statement said.
Paugh had “a huge heart,” which she showed through her work at Kids Crossing, a nonprofit organization that says it wants to help find homes for foster children.
“She would do anything for the children – she has traveled throughout Southeast Colorado, from Pueblo and Colorado Springs to Fremont County and the Colorado border to raise awareness and encourage individuals and families to be foster parents for children in our community to become,” the statement read, adding that Paugh has worked with the LGBTQ community to find welcoming foster homes.
Paugh also loved the outdoors through activities like hunting, fishing and quad biking, the statement said.
Tiffany Loving, sister of victim Kelly Loving, released a brief statement on Monday.
“My condolences to all the families who lost someone in this tragic event and to all who are struggling to be accepted in this world. My sister was a good person. She was loving and caring and sweet. Everyone loved her. Kelly was a wonderful person,” Tiffany Loving said in the statement to CNN.
Raymond Green Vance
Raymond Green Vance, 22, visited Club Q for the first time with his longtime girlfriend, her parents and some of her parents’ friends, his family said in a statement provided to CNN.
According to the statement, they celebrated a birthday. According to a Facebook post by his wife, Jessica Fierro, among the people Vance dined with was Richard M. Fierro, the man who overpowered the alleged gunman.
“Unfortunately, he never left the club. Raymond was the victim of a man who, with family and friends, unleashed terror on innocent people,” Vance’s family statement said. “His own family and friends are completely devastated by the sudden loss of a son, grandson, brother, nephew and cousin loved by so many.”
Vance had just landed a new job at a FedEx distribution center in Colorado Springs and “was thrilled to get his first paycheck.”
“He couldn’t wait to save up enough money for his own apartment, but in the meantime he was living with his mother and younger brother, who adored him,” the statement said. “Raymond was a kind, selfless young adult with his whole life ahead of him. His closest friend describes him as gifted, unique and willing to do whatever it takes to help anyone.”
He spent most of his free time with his girlfriend, who he had been with since middle school, his family said. According to her statement, he also played video games and hoped to turn it into an online career.
CNN’s Kate Bolduan, Don Lemon, and Amanda Watts contributed to this report.