By Amir Vera, Eliott C. McLaughlin and Caroll Alvarado, CNN
As Colorado Springs residents and leaders wrap their arms around the 19 people injured and others traumatized in the Club Q shooting, loved ones are remembering the five who did not survive the attack on the beloved LGBTQ nightclub.
The Colorado Springs Police Department identified the five victims as:
- 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 festivities.
Here are their stories:
Derrick Rump was a bartender at Club Q who had “found a community of people that he loved really much, and he felt that he could shine there — and he did,” his sister Julia Kissling told CNN affiliate WFMZ. “He made a difference in so many people’s lives, and that’s where he wanted to be.”
Tiara Kelley, who performed at the club the night before the incident, told CNN Rump and his coworker 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 playing, you knew Rump was working the bar, said Jessi Hazelwood, who met Rump and Aston shortly after moving to Colorado Springs. When Hazelwood first arrived in the city, she was unsure what the LGBTQ scene might look like, and it was people like Rump and Aston who made Club Q feel like home, she said.
“Derrick and Daniel were the light and the heart of Club Q,” she said. “We don’t say the LGBTQ community. We say the Club Q community because that’s what it is here in Colorado Springs. It’s the Club Q community. It’s a facility that gave us a safe space to be who we are all the time, and Derrick and Daniel especially were always the glue … the heart that kept everything together.”
It wasn’t just LGBTQ patrons they welcomed, either, she said.
“If anybody was having a hard time, if anybody was new to the community — they always had open arms for everybody, even people who weren’t part of the LGBTQ community could go there and celebrate their friendships, their allyships because (Derrick and Daniel) made everybody feel safe. They made everybody feel like they could be exactly who they are all the time,” Hazelwood said.
“I don’t think that our community could ever replicate the sense 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 a bar supervisor at Club Q, said bartender Michael Anderson, who had known Aston for a few years and considered him a friend.
The night of the shooting, Anderson saw the gunman and ducked behind the bar where he and Aston worked as glass rained down around him, he told CNN on Monday. He thought he was going to die, said a prayer and as he moved to escape the scene, he saw two people who he didn’t know beating and kicking the gunman, he said.
Anderson was crushed to learn Aston hadn’t made it out of the bar, which Colorado Springs’ LGBTQ community considered a safe space.
“He was the best supervisor anybody could’ve asked for. He made me want to come into work, and he made me want to be a part of the positive culture we were trying to create there,” Anderson said.
He added that Aston was an “amazing person. He was a light in my life, and it’s surreal that we’re even talking about him in the past tense like this.”
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 a few 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 himself bashful, but that wasn’t the case, she said. He never knew a stranger, even as a kid.
“He had so much more life to give to us, and to all his friends and to himself,” she told The Post.
“He always said, ‘I’m shy,’ but he wasn’t. He wrote poetry. He loved to dress up. He got into drama in high school. He’s an entertainer. That’s what he really loves.”
Ashley Paugh’s family released a statement on her behalf Monday saying they were “absolutely devastated.”
“She meant everything to this family, and we can’t even begin to understand what it will mean to not have her in our lives,” the statement read.
Paugh was a mother, and her daughter Ryleigh “was her whole world,” the statement read, adding that Paugh was big on family.
“She loved her dad, her sister, and her family; Ashley was a loving aunt, with many nieces and nephews who are devastated by her loss,” the statement read.
Paugh had “a huge heart,” which she was able to show through her work at Kids Crossing, a nonprofit that looks to help find homes for foster children, according to the statement.
“She would do anything for the kids — traveling all over southeastern Colorado, from Pueblo and Colorado Springs to Fremont County and the Colorado border, working to raise awareness and encourage individuals and families to become foster parents to children in our community,” the statement read, adding that Paugh worked with the LGBTQ community to find welcoming foster placements.
Paugh also loved the outdoors through activities like hunting, fishing and riding four-wheelers, the statement read.
Tiffany Loving, the sister of victim Kelly Loving, released a brief statement on Monday.
“My condolences go out to all the families who lost someone in this tragic event, and to everyone 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, was visiting 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.
They were celebrating a birthday, according to the statement. The people Vance was dining with included Richard M. Fierro, the man who subdued the suspected gunman, according to a Facebook post by his wife Jessica Fierro.
“Unfortunately, he never left the club. Raymond was the victim of a man who unleashed terror on innocent people out with family and friends,” Vance’s family statement read. “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 gotten a new job at a Colorado Springs FedEx distribution center, and “was thrilled to have received his first paycheck.”
“He couldn’t wait to save enough money to get his own apartment, but in the meantime he lived with his mother and younger brother who adored him,” the statement read. “Raymond was a kind, selfless young adult with his entire life ahead of him. His closest friend describes him as gifted, one-of-a-kind, and willing to go out of his way to help anyone.”
He spent most of his spare time with his girlfriend, who he’d been with since middle school, his family said. He also played video games and hoped to turn that into an online career, according to their statement.
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CNN’s Kate Bolduan, Don Lemon and Amanda Watts contributed to this report.