DENVER (KDVR) — The terrifying act against members of the gay community has turned a national spotlight on the reaction from the nation’s first openly gay man to be elected governor, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.
Many ask how he and the state will respond to the attack on innocent clubgoers. The governor could not be in Colorado Springs physically, as he is still in quarantine due to COVID-19, but he said right now, his focus is on consoling the community.
“It’s such a great loss, right? And people are always going to ask the question why? And there’s never going to be an adequate answer no matter what the motives are. There’s no right motive, this was just an act of evil,” Polis said in light of the shooting that took the lives of five clubgoers at Club Q.
Two days after the shooting at Club Q, Polis said he has been thinking about the lives lost and the lives saved in Colorado Springs.
“I spoke with a number of the victims. Some in the hospital. I spoke with parents and siblings of people who lost their loved ones, tragically among the five victims that we are displaying now flags at half-mast for the next five days in our state to honor. But at the same time, we also celebrate Richard Fierro and Thomas James — two heroes,” Polis said.
While the governor said reflection is paramount, he knows people are looking for answers and accountability right now. Many ask how the suspect was able to keep his weapon after an arrest for a bomb threat last year.
“I haven’t seen exactly what those charges were,” Polis said. “I know that they were dropped, it sounds like there was a threat, involving a bomb, perhaps a shooting. Potentially, what happened is the mother or others dropped the charges — it’s unclear. But that would be a type of event which I think should at least raise a suggestion for law enforcement. While, look, the charges may be dropped and we may not have a conviction here, this an excellent opportunity to use an extreme risk protection order.”
Under the law that took effect in 2020, a court could have issued the order, which would have prevented the suspect from buying or having a gun for a year.
FOX31 is also learning more about who the suspect is. Multiple media outlets, including The Hill, are reporting the suspect is the grandson of California GOP Assembly Member Randy Voepel.
The outgoing assemblyman voted no last year on a California measure that allows transgender people to update their marriage certificates. He also made headlines over comments regarding Jan. 6.
“We have no reason to believe the grandfather instructed or told him to commit this act of violence, but I think we all need to be careful with our words,” Polis said. “And certainly to encourage the kind of lawlessness or overthrow of the American government that thankfully failed is completely reckless,” Polis said.
The governor said he is optimistic once this incident is tried, the perpetrator will be held to the full extent of the law and never see the outside of a jail cell.