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Latter-day Saint leaders condemn Colorado Springs LGBTQ club shooting

‘We are greatly troubled by any violence in our communities and condemn most especially violent acts that are the result of intolerance against any of God’s children’

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A man cries on a corner near the site of a weekend mass shooting at a gay bar, Nov. 21, 2022, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

A man cries at a makeshift display of flower bouquets on a corner near the site of a weekend mass shooting at a gay bar, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Jack Dempsey, Associated Press

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement Monday about the Colorado Springs LGBTQ club shooting, saying they “condemn most especially violent acts that are the result of intolerance against any of God’s children.”

Five people died and 17 were wounded Saturday when police say 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich entered Club Q and began shooting, the Associated Press reported based on police reports.

Church leaders said they join the mourning for those killed and wounded in the attack.

“The senseless act of violence in Colorado Springs is of great sadness and concern to us,” said the statement released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “We are greatly troubled by any violence in our communities and condemn most especially violent acts that are the result of intolerance against any of God’s children. We join with others in mourning the loss of those whose lives were taken and offer prayers of comfort and deepest condolences to their loved ones. We also pray for healing for the survivors of this shocking shooting and express our love to them.”

A church spokesperson confirmed reports that showed Aldrich’s mother’s past Facebook posts about the family’s membership in the church.

“I can confirm that the suspect is listed on the rolls of the church but he has not been involved in church services for some time, a decade or more,” the spokesperson said.

Online court records show the suspect is being held on suspicion of five murder charges and five charges of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury in Saturday night’s attack at Club Q, the AP reported. No formal charges have been filed in court.

Hate crime charges would require prosecutors to prove that the gunman was motivated by bias against the victims’ actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, the AP reported.

Police identified the deceased victims as Daniel Aston, Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh and Derrick Rump, CNN reported.

The shooting raised the specter of past mass shootings, including the 2016 massacre at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people died.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met with the Pulse club’s owner during a 2019 visit to Orlando and expressed his sadness over the tragedy.

Colorado Springs, a city of about 480,000, is 70 miles south of Denver.

Since 2006, there have been 523 mass killings and 2,727 deaths as of Nov. 19, according to The Associated Press/USA Today database on mass killings in the U.S.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.