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'Hate is non partisan' : Southeast Texans gather to mourn, honor victims of Colorado LGBTQ nightclub shooting

"We're all human beings. It's very simple. Again, it's not about politics. It's about people. It's about life," said Jefferson County Sheriff Zena Stephens.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Members of the Beaumont community gathered in remembrance of the people who were killed in a "horrific" shooting at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub.

The Triangle Caucus, PFlag Beaumont and Jefferson County Democrats hosted a silent candlelight vigil Tuesday. The vigil took place at the Event Center patio located at 700 Crocket Street from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Those who attend came together "to mourn and honor the lives lost at Club Q in Colorado Springs." 

"It's support. It's a community. We have to stand together because nobody else will," said Nederland resident Michael Nepveux. 

Even thousands of miles away, Southeast Texans shared the pain being felt in Colorado Springs.

As vigil attendees bowed their heads, they took turns saying the names of the victims, gunned down at the nightclub. 

"It just bamboozles me. I just don't get it. What is so wrong with just letting people live, be themselves, love who they want to love," said Orange resident Celeste Lachance. 

Lachance says this incident reminds her of the Pulse gay nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida that killed 49 people in 2016. 

"It brings back bad memories from six years ago, and it's lucky it wasn't as bad," she said. 

Jefferson County Sheriff Zena Stephens was among the crowd at Tuesday's vigil. 

She says it's hurtful and difficult trying to wrap her head around why this keeps happening.

"Hate is non partisan, hurting people is non partisan, I'm tired that we keep having to have these interviews and these discussions. It's really really old. We're all human beings. It's very simple. Again, it's not about politics. It's about people. It's about life," Stephens said. 

Nepveux says he's reminded there is still hate in this world, but he chooses to be optimistic. 

"I have to believe love wins. I cant go on without having something to hope for, and if you don't have hope, hate wins," he said. 

A bouquet of flowers was sent to the memorial in Colorado Springs and was addressed from Beaumont, Texas. 

Related: Colorado shooting suspect facing murder, hate crime charges

The deadly shooting began late Saturday, November 19, 2022 night. Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, is accused of opening fire at Club Q using an AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon, ultimately killing five people and injuring many more. 

One clubgoer said he thought the initial gunshots were a part of the music until he heard more and saw the flash of a gun muzzle, according to the Associated Press.  

Police said "heroic" patrons were able to subdue the suspected killer before he could harm any more people. Officers arrived within minutes and arrested the gunman.

MORE | How you can donate to help the victims of the Club Q shooting

Club Q spoke about the deadly attack on their Facebook page saying in part they were, "devastated by the senseless attack on our community." The club thanked, "the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack."

The club posted a link on their Facebook page where people can donate to help the victims of Saturday's shooting. 

According to the Associated Press, court records show Aldrich is facing five murder charges and five charges of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury. As of Monday, prosecutors had not filed the charges in court. 

To be officially charged with the hate crimes charges, officials will have to prove the suspect was, 'motivated by bias, such as against the victims’ actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity." 

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