Gay club customer grabs gun from mass shooter and hits him with own weapon after five killed

"Heroic people" confronted a gunman who killed five people at a gay nightclub in the US and stopped him killing any more, police have said.

At least 25 others were injured at Club Q in the city of Colorado Springs.

The suspect has been named as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, who was taken into custody and treated for injuries.

At a news conference, officers said the gunman used a "long rifle" and began shooting as soon as he entered the venue.

Adrian Vasquez, the city's police chief, said: "At least two heroic people inside the club confronted and fought with the suspect and were able to stop the suspect from continuing to kill and harm others.

"We owe them a great debt of thanks."

John Suthers, the mayor of Colorado Springs, said their actions "clearly saved lives".

He said the attack ended when someone grabbed a handgun from the suspect and hit him with it, before holding him down until police arrived.

"Had that individual not intervened this could have been exponentially more tragic," he said.

At least two firearms were found at the scene and the FBI is assisting with the investigation, Mr Vasquez said.

His officers are working to identify those that died, and to establish whether anyone helped the suspect.

Jared Polis, the governor of Colorado, who is gay, commended the "brave individuals who blocked the gunman", describing the attack as "horrific, sickening and devastating".

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President Joe Biden said: "Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence."

It is the 26th American mass shooting this month, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which tallies gun related violence in the United States.

This year there have been 601 mass shootings in America, representing a steady rise, year on year. In 2014 there were fewer than 300.

This year, almost 40,000 Americans have been killed in gun-related incidents, including homicide, accidents and suicide.

A mass shooting is defined as one in which four or more people are killed or injured.

'Hate attack'

The venue called the shooting a "hate attack". It said: "Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community.

"Our prayers and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends. We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack."

The initial phone call reporting the shooting came in at 11.57pm local time, Colorado Springs police lieutenant Pamela Castro said.

Eleven ambulances and 34 firefighters attended the scene, with the incident described as "a mass casualty event".

Lt Castro said officers were able to enter the club immediately.

The area around the nightclub, located in a shopping centre on the outskirts of Colorado Springs, was closed off.

Club Q describes itself as an "adult-oriented gay and lesbian nightclub hosting theme nights", with events including karaoke, drag shows and DJ sets.

A DJ set and dancing were listed as taking place from 9pm local time on Saturday night, after karaoke, and had been due to carry on until 2am.

In 2016, a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people before he was shot dead by police. More than 50 others were injured.

Treated as an act of terrorism, the shooter, Omar Mateen, 29, had claimed allegiance to Islamic State.

At the time it was the worst mass shooting in recent US history.