'Master of Silly Business' among Colorado Springs mass shooting victims: What we know so far

Daniel Aston, the self-proclaimed 'Master of Silly Business,' was eager to make people laugh and cheer, his mother said.

ByTeddy Grant ABCNews logo
Monday, November 21, 2022
Patrons in gay club shooting hit gunman with his own weapon
Amid a Colorado Springs, Colorado shooting, patrons at Club Q hit the gunman with his own weapon. Anderson Aldrich has been ID'd as the suspect.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A bartender was one of the victims killed in a mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado late Saturday night, ABC News has learned.

Five people were killed and 25 were injured after a gunman began shooting inside Club Q in Colorado Springs as soon as he walked in, Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez told reporters during a news conference Sunday morning.

Police identified the suspect as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22. At least two people, whom authorities described as heroes, then confronted Aldrich and fought with him, which saved more lives, police said.

At least two guns, including a long one, were recovered from the scene, police said. The shooting is now being investigated as a hate crime.

Here's what we know about the victims so far:

Daniel Davis Aston, 28

Daniel Davis Aston, a bartender at Club Q and victim in the shooting, is pictured in an undated family photo.
Aston Family

On a typical night at the Club Q, a bastion for LGBTQ people in the largely conservative city of Colorado Springs, Daniel Aston could be seen letting loose and sliding across the stage on his knees tailed by his mullet to whoops and hollers.

The venue provided Aston, a 28-year-old transgender man and the self-proclaimed "Master of Silly Business," with the liberating performances he had long sought.

His mother, Sabrina Aston, vacillated between past and present tense as she discussed her son Sunday night in their Colorado Springs home. Aston's father, Jeff Aston, sat nearby listening to his wife's stories and alternating between tightly clasping his hands and cupping his forehead.

"We are in shock, we cried for a little bit, but then you go through this phase where you are just kind of numb, and I'm sure it will hit us again," she said. "I keep thinking it's a mistake, they made a mistake, and that he is really alive," she added.

Her son's eagerness to make people laugh and cheer started as a child in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when he would don elaborate costumes, including the beast from "Beauty and the Beast," cycle through weird hats, and write plays acted out by neighborhood kids.

This undated photo shows Daniel Aston. Daniel Aston was one of five people killed when a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Nov. 19, 2022.
Courtesy of Jeff Aston via AP

Aston preferred dressing as a boy at a young age until teasing from other kids pushed him to try girls clothing. While Sabrina Aston enjoyed helping style her son, she said the fashion led to weight loss. "He was miserable," she said.

After coming out to his mother, he attended Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and became president of its LGBTQ club. He put on fundraisers with ever-more flashy productions ("He didn't just stand and lip-sync," Sabrina Aston made clear) and fanned over '80s hair bands.

Two years ago, Aston moved from Tulsa to Colorado Springs -- where his parents had settled -- and started at Club Q as a bartender and entertainer, where his parents would join in the cheers at his shows.

"[Daniel's shows] are great. Everybody needs to go see him," his mother said. "He lit up a room, always smiling, always happy and silly," she said.

-- By Jesse Bedayn, Associated Press/Report for America

Tara Bush, aka DJ T-Beatz

Tara Bush, aka DJ T-Beatz, is one of the dozens of injured victims in the nightclub shooting. She is currently still in the hospital, ABC News has learned.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ABC News' Julia Jacobo, Alyssa Pone and Kevin Shalvey contributed to this report.