Hero revellers have been praised after they “subdued” a gunman who opened fire on a gay nightclub in the US, killing five and leaving a further 25 injured.
A clubgoer disarmed the attacker and hit him with his weapon while another pinned him down until police arrived on scene, according to officials.
The shocking incident – the motive for which is being investigated – unfolded at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Saturday.
But the “incredible act of heroism” intervened in a tragedy which could have been “much, much worse”, city Mayor John Suthers said.
Mr Suthers told CNN: “That’s largely because of the intervention of at least one, possibly two, very heroic individuals who subdued this guy.
“[They] appear to have taken his handgun and used it to disable him…not shoot him but hit him with the gun.
“But for that, as tragic as this incident is, it’s a horrible crime, it could have been much, much worse but for these heroic actors.”
It is believed to have been the 26th American mass shooting this month alone, making the total 601 so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Police received 911 calls from 11.56pm and arrived at midnight. The suspect was detained at 12.02am, officials said.
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At a police news conference on Sunday, the suspected shooter was named as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22.
Clubgoer Joshua Thurman, 34, recalled the harrowing moment he realised a gunman opened fire as he danced to loud music.
“I thought it was the music, so I kept dancing,” he told KOAA. “Then I heard another set of shots, and then me and a customer ran to the dressing room, got on the ground and locked the doors and called the police immediately.”
Mr Thurman, who had gone to Club Q for his birthday, later told reporters: “When we came out of the dressing room, we saw bodies.
“There was broken glass, blood – I lost friends!”
He said a barman he had come to know over the years was among those killed.
In a statement on Sunday, US 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.
“We cannot and must not tolerate hate.”
Club Q also issued a statement, which said it was “devastated by the senseless attack on our community” and thanked “the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack”.
Speaking at Sunday’s news conference, Colorado Springs Police chief Adrian Vasquez thanked two clubgoers for intervening.
“Initial evidence and interviews indicate that the suspect entered Club Q and immediately began shooting at people inside as he moved further into the club,” he said.
Mr Vasquez also said a motive is not yet clear, but that the possibility of it being hate crime-related is being investigated.