Shooting at Colorado gay club has Jacksonville’s Hamburger Mary’s rethinking its safety plan

Jacksonville’s LGBTQ+ community on edge after Colorado nightclub attack

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Authorities in Colorado Springs have charged the 22-year-old man accused of opening fire Saturday night at a gay nightclub with five counts of murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime.

Anderson Lee Aldrich was arrested after police said two men inside Club Q hit him with his own gun, subduing him until police arrived. The memorial for the five people killed is growing as more than 25 others recover from injuries.

It’s another attack against the LGBTQ+ community.

“The way this is happening in America, it affects everyone’s peace of mind,” said Gary Motes, whose family runs Hamburger Mary’s in the St. Nicholas neighborhood of Jacksonville.

The business is an open-minded restaurant and bar that features drag shows. The shooting at Club Q in Colorado has them once again rethinking their safety plan.

“There’s no guarantee. No one can stop someone from walking into your business with a gun, but we try to be as safe as possible and aware,” he said. “Anytime something like this happens, it’s not a gay or straight issue, it’s a human issue.”

People are feeling that pain all across the Jacksonville area — not just at Hamburger Mary’s, but at events like the River City Pride Parade and in Orlando at the Pulse Nightclub memorial.

At the site where a gunman six years ago killed 49 people, the community came together in Orlando, signing a banner to send to the victims.

Jacksonville’s pride through Riverside had a heavy police presence Sunday, giving participants some comfort.

“It seems very scary out there right now, although I will say that no matter how scary it is, we’re resilient,” said Jacksonville LGBTQ+ civil rights attorney Jimmy Midyette. “We gather together, we celebrate our accomplishments.”

He said hate crimes are targeting his community and others, and it’ll take everyone coming together to stand up against them.

“I think that everyone just needs to talk to their LGBTQ loved ones, friends, and family members and coworkers, make sure that we’re okay,” he said. “I’ve taken a lot of phone calls like that and I appreciate each and every one of them.”

He said he hopes lawmakers do more to support LGBTQ+ rights and stop violence against the community.

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.