(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Ed Sanders said he is smiling because he is “happy to be alive,” after being shot twice during the deadly Colorado Springs shooting at Club Q, a local LGBTQ+ bar, on Nov. 19.

In a recent interview released by UCHealth, Sanders shared from the hospital his experiences inside Club Q when the shooting occurred.

“I was in line for the bar, and when I got to the front, I gave my credit card and told them I wanted to open a tab and the shooting started right then. I got hit in the back and I turned around to look at him and he kept shooting, he kept shooting and he did two volleys of 10 – 15 shots each. The second volley got me in the leg and I fell – everybody fell.”

Sanders was shot in the center of the back, between his shoulder blades, and in his thigh. He said both shots missed his vital organs, though one did break his rib bone. He now has a “concaved shaped wound” in his back and will require skin grafts.

“When I fell, I was facing (away from) the shooter, so I didn’t see the heroes get him. There was a lot of chaos, but a lot of people were helping each other – the people who weren’t hit were helping each other – just like a family would do… The police came very quickly – it was about 2 minutes that we were laying on the floor. They took the woman next to me first because she was passing,” said Sanders, visibly emotional.

Sanders shared that as a frequent visitor of Club Q since it opened in 2002, he often wondered if a mass shooting event such as this would ever happen.

“After Pulse happened and the number of victims, I kind of imagined that happening at Club Q and what I would do. I never dreamed that it would come true, but in the back of my mind, I always thought ‘It could happen here, and what would I do?'” said Sanders.

“For 20 years, I’ve been going to Club Q. I was there opening night in 2002, and I knew a lot of the people (that passed).”

Sanders shared that Club Q is one of the oldest of only a few drag bars in Colorado Springs and, as such, has a reputation that “makes it a target for sick people.”

As the LGBTQ+ community mourns the five lives lost in the Club Q shooting, it also mourns the safety and security of all community members across the nation, whether they or a close loved one are a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

“This incident underlines the fact that LGBT people need to be loved,” said Saunders, “A word of encouragement to friends and family is appropriate right now.”

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