INDIANAPOLIS--When a 22-year-old man started shooting in a gay night club in Colorado Springs, just before midnight Saturday, two club patrons confronted him and stopped him. Those people were heroes, said Alan Witchey, president and CEO of the Damien Center, which offers support to members of the LGBTQ+ community and people impacted by AIDS and HIV.
“I think it’s really important to celebrate the heroes that do step up in times of crisis like this, especially when they’re from the community that’s being impacted,” he said.
The center issued a statement Sunday afternoon condemning the shooting that killed five people and injured 18.
“In Indiana you think it’s geographically far away. But, realistically, that could’ve happened here,” he said, noting that he has knowledge of some incidents of violence against gay Hoosiers.
“Anyone who identifies as LGBTQ feels less safe. It; feels a lot more scary world today than it did yesterday,” said Witchey.
He said that could add to a baseline of depression that some LGBTQ people feel already. He said that people who identify as gay or queer have a much higher rate of depression. With news of violence perpetrated against members of the community, that rate can be even higher.
“So it’s really critical, I think, that people seek help for that, if you’re having anxiety or depression,” said Witchey. He said Hoosiers who are feeling that kind of depression or anxiety can contact the Damien Center or many other places that offer counseling and support.