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FILE - From the left, Evan Hooton, co-owner Nic Grzecka, Derrick Rump, Jacob Gohl and Ed Sanders watch and discuss election results on Grzecka's phone during a watch party at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. On Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, Sanders, and four others, was shot by accused shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich. (Chancey Bush/ The Gazette)

Ed Sanders was shot during the deadly Q Club attack, after which he was taken to UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central. Sanders said after the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, he imagined it could happen at Club Q, where he was a regular patron since its opening in 2002.

Club Q patron Ed Sanders was twice struck by bullets on Saturday — once between his shoulder blades, and once in the thigh. Nevertheless, he’s smiling.

In a video shared by UC Health on Tuesday, Sanders detailed his experience at the scene of the mass shooting. When he was shot, he was standing beside bartenders Derrick Rump and Daniel Aston, two of five victims who lost their lives in the tragedy. He’s amazed he can walk, let alone breathe.

“Yeah, I’m smiling now because I’m happy to be alive,” Sanders said. “I dodged a major event in my life and came through it. That’s part of who I am as a survivor.”

Sanders is one of 10 patients injured in the Club Q shooting who continue to receive care at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, according to a news release from the hospital.

In the aftermath of the 2016 massacre at Orlando’s LGBTQ+ Pulse Nightclub, which claimed the lives of 49 people, the loss weighed on his mind. Sanders imagined what he might do if such a situation ever arose here in Colorado Springs. Even so, he said, he’d never expected to live the scenario out in reality.

For 20 years he’s been sharing in the Club Q community. In fact, he was there the night it opened. He knew several of those who died in Saturday's shooting.

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“It has a reputation, and that makes it a target for sick people,” Sanders said. “I wanna be resilient. I’m a survivor. I’m not gonna be taken out by some sick person.”

Sanders was ordering a drink at the bar when the shooter began firing, striking him in the back — “I should’ve ducked,” he said, recalling he instead turned to look at the assailant. When the second bullet swept him to the ground, he tried using his coat to protect the woman beside him.

Community — family protecting family — is the story he remembers from that night. After all, it was two patrons who took down the shooter and saved countless lives.

“There was a lot of chaos. There was a lot of people helping each other,” Sanders said. “People that weren’t hit were helping each other like a family would do.”

Sanders remains in the hospital while he recovers. He will need a skin graft where the bullet tore through his back. But still, he smiles.

“I think this incident underlines the fact that LGBT people need to be loved, and a word of encouragement to friends and family is appropriate right (now),” Sanders said. “As the community comes together, places from all over have donated and done vigils, and it hits us hard.”