(CNN) — As Colorado Springs residents and leaders wrap their arms around the 25 people injured and others traumatized in the Club Q shooting, loved ones are remembering five patrons who did not survive the attack on the beloved LGBTQ nightclub.
The Saturday night attack could have been worse if not for heroes who subdued the gunman, but that bravery did not arrive in time to save everyone. Colorado Springs police have not released the names of the deceased, but CNN has confirmed that two of those killed were bartender Derrick Rump and his supervisor, Daniel Aston.
Aston’s parents also confirmed his identity to a Denver newspaper, and sister Julia Kissling confirmed Rump’s name to CNN and and one of its affiliate.
“They were in so many ways polar opposites, but worked so well together. They were just amazing, and every bar should have a Daniel and a Derrick,” Tiara Kelley, who performed at the club the night before the incident, told CNN.
Rump had “found a community of people that he loved really much, and he felt that he could shine there — and he did,” Kissling told CNN affiliate WFMZ. “He made a difference in so many people’s lives, and that’s where he wanted to be.”
Bartender Michael 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.
Aston, 28, was a bar supervisor at Club Q, said Anderson, who had known Aston for a few years and who considered him a friend.
“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.”
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