- A Club Q survivor told Insider the deadly tragedy has been “life-changing” for him.
- “I’m very hopeful because I wasn’t spared for no reason,” Ed Sanders said this month.
- Sanders was shot twice during the November 19 rampage in which five people were killed.
A Club Q survivor who was shot twice during the deadly massacre at the Colorado LGBTQ nightclub last month says the tragedy has changed his life — but not for the reasons you’d think.
“I was right close to death. I didn’t have much time. I was gushing out blood,” Ed Sanders, 63, told Insider earlier this month hours before he was finally discharged from the hospital following a nearly three-week stay.
Sanders lost two friends in the November 19 shooting in which five people were killed and another 17 injured, but instead of being left despondent, he says the harrowing ordeal has given him a new and even “hopeful” outlook on life.
“This has been life-changing,” Sanders told Insider as he explained how he always looks “for the positive” in situations. “I’m grateful to the universe for sparing me and I just know that there’s something I have to do.”
He added, “I’m very hopeful because I wasn’t spared for no reason.”
Sanders, a Club Q regular who has frequented the Colorado Springs nightspot since it first opened 20 years ago, was on his way home from a Christmas-themed extravaganza in Denver on November 19 when he decided to pop into the bar.
“I didn’t want the party to end,” said Sanders, who had on a new suit at the time and wanted to show it off.
He arrived at Club Q just before midnight — and moments before a shooter walked in and sprayed bullets across the space.
“I stood in line at the bar and handed over my credit card. And then that was the first shot,” Sanders said.
Sanders was first shot in the back, breaking one of his ribs, and then in his right thigh, causing him to plunge to the ground.
At one point, he “kind of played dead” as the shooting continued, Sanders said.
The gunfire finally stopped after two patrons, including a US Army veteran, took down the shooter and disarmed the attacker.
“I heard voices say, ‘Are you alright?’ And I said ‘no,’ and that’s about all I remember,” Sanders said, explaining that he went into “shock from the pain” after EMTs applied a tourniquet to him to try to stop the bleeding.
Thankfully, none of Sanders’ major organs were hit and the shots missed both his hip and knee replacements.
“It’s as if angels were watching over me and directing the bullets,” he said.
Despite undergoing four surgeries including a skin graft while hospitalized at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, Sanders called his hospital stay “uplifting” thanks to the “overwhelming” outpouring of support he has received.
The shooting, Sanders said, has made him “stronger” both “physically” and “mentally.”
“I still haven’t had time to grieve, but when I get home I will,” he noted.
Sanders said he wants to use the terrifying experience he went through to “be a light” to others who have gone through the same kind of trauma.
“I hate to say it, but there’s going to be more of these,” Sanders said, referring to mass shootings. “And we’ll be there for those people.”
“I envision being a speaker for support,” he said. “I envision just doing this work because it’s so necessary.”
But for now, Sanders said he’s “looking forward” to continuing his work with the Colorado-based LGBTQ+ nonprofit United Court of the Pikes Peak Empire, seeing friends and family and spending time with his rescue cat named Lucky.
“I am looking forward to the future in general,” he said. “And the holidays will probably be the best I ever had.”