CHICAGO (CBS) — People gathered in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood for a vigil for victims of the shooting at an LGBTQ night club in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Saturday night. Five people died in that shooting and more than two dozen were wounded.
Chicago’s vigil took place outside an LGBTQ friendly bar called Nobody’s Darling on Balmoral, where the pain of what happened feels close to home.
The vigil was planned in less than 24 hours after police say a 22-year-old gunman opened fire in Club Q. Police say the gunman was taken into custody after two patrons at the bar subdued him before police arrived.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez described Club Q as a “safe haven” for members of the LGBTQ community, just like Nobody’s Darling in Chicago.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot condemned the attack, taking note that Club Q is supposed to be a space where the patrons “should have felt safe.”
“That’s what I fear the most is being who I am to get me killed,” Said 14-year-old Noam, who asked not to share his last name. “Because every time I tell someone I’m gay or trans I have to way the risks. Is it safe?”
“The reason we’re here too is to make sure that we know that our family in Colorado Springs know that we stand with them,” said organizer Dawn Valenti.
The FBI and local police are working to confirm a motive and see if the shooting should be prosecuted as a hate crime. But for the crowd in Chicago there is no question.
“When you do all these things and in a country that is suffering from a pandemic of gun violence, this is a predictable outcome,” said Brian C. Johnson CEO of Equality Illinois. “So we all adn all public leaders need to start standup up for LGBTQ+ people nad our community and our rights to be safe and equally affirmed.”
In Chicago, Chicago Police Department data considers hate crimes as those motivated by gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. That data shows 2022 with the highest hate crime total in the past 10 years — at 130 so far this year.
Last year they counted 48 crimes of hate related to sexual orientation or gender identity. That number stands at 33 so far this year.
“A bullet doesn’t have a name, a gender, a color. A bullet kills,” said Millie Burgos.
She came out in support of the families that lost a loved one. Her daughter was killed in a random act of violence. She was struck by a stray bullet in 2014.
“When my daughter was a child going to the Pride Parade to teach her that we love all,” she said.
Sunday also happens to be Transgender Day of Rememberance, a day meant to honor trans lives lost in anti transgender violence.
“The fact that this shooting happened at a space where our community tries to keep safe, our bars, it just reeks of a highly targeted attack against queer people for the most nefarious reasons,” said Johnson.
The Chicago Police Department was also out in force as the vigil went on Sunday evening.