Focus on the Family Vandalized After Club Q Shooting: 'Blood on Your Hands'

Focus on the Family's Colorado Springs, Colorado, headquarters was vandalized on Thanksgiving with a message blaming the group for a recent mass shooting that killed five people and injured 18 others.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, is accused of opening fire Saturday in Club Q, a popular LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. The suspect was apprehended by club patrons Richard Fierro and Thomas James as well as an unnamed trans woman, and later arrested by police.

Days after the mass shooting, someone left a spray-painted message on a Focus on the Family sign. The nonprofit organization has an evangelical focus.

Although it is not clear if the suspect had a connection with the organization, the conservative Christian ministry group is known for its anti-LGBTQ messaging. Aldrich, who according to his attorneys identifies as non-binary, comes from a conservative Republican family.

A Vigil for Club Q Victims
The names of the Club Q shooting victims are displayed as mourners hold a candlelight vigil outside the State Capitol building on November 23, 2022, in Denver, Colorado. Focus on the Family, an evangelical organization in Colorado Springs, was recently vandalized in response to the mass shooting at the LGBTQ nightclub. Chet Strange/Getty Images

In an article by The Gazette, police confirmed a message was spray-painted in black paint onto a Focus on the Family sign at the ministry's headquarters in Colorado Springs.

"Their blood is on your hands five lives taken," the message read.

Police said there was no information about who might have vandalized the sign, according to The Gazette. Shortly after the message was discovered, a Gazette photographer found the sign covered in a plastic sheet.

"We recognize the community is hurting in the aftermath of the reckless and violent actions of a very disturbed individual. This is a time for prayer, grieving and healing, not vandalism and the spreading of hate," Focus on the Family President Jim Daly told Newsweek in an emailed statement.

Focus on the Family has previously advocated for anti-LGBTQ messaging. Human Rights Campaign, an organization fighting for LGBTQ rights, posted an article about Focus on the Family, calling the group one of the most well-funded anti-LGBTQ organizations in the U.S.

Human Rights Campaign alleges that Focus on the Family uses the $515 million it has raised over the last five years to invest in public education campaigns against LGBTQ equality. It also accuses the evangelical group of conducting "conversion therapy" and claiming anti-bullying campaigns in schools promote homosexuality.

In a Focus on the Family question-and-answer webpage, in response to the topic "struggling with same-sex attractions," the ministry said the word "gay" is an "artificial construct."

"[Gay is] a word that means what other people say it means—nothing more, nothing less," the webpage said. "We'd encourage you not to allow yourself to get locked into that category.

"Do you consider yourself a Christian? If so, you will want to examine your faith convictions with great care and give them priority over every other consideration," the group continued on the page.

When the spray-painted message was shared on Twitter, several users supported the vandalism.

"I mean, there's a hell of a lot more than 5 deaths caused by focus on the family," one user tweeted.

"Not bad enough," another tweeted about the vandalism. "Needs fire."

"Today, they should be thankful we don't repay blood with blood," another tweeted.

"The families of the five individuals killed in Saturday night's senseless attack are in our prayers," Daly's statement said. "We urge everyone to pray for peace and we also pray for the individual or group responsible for this mischievous and unwarranted defacing of our ministry's property."

Newsweek has reached out to the Colorado Springs Police Department for comment.

Update 11/28/2022, 10:23 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to include comment from Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family.