Daniel Aston was vibrant, energetic, caring, open and kind — the “best version of heaven,” friends recalled this week.
“He was sweet, loving and caring. He had an open heart and he just loved everybody,” Aston’s friend and Club Q regular Alex Gallagher said Tuesday afternoon.
A 28-year-old drag king, performer and bartender at Club Q, a popular LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Aston was known for taking care of others and his lively performances friends said you have to see for yourself to truly appreciate.
“He was electric on stage. He definitely made everybody happy,” Gallagher said.
She and other friends of Aston’s this week honored his memory after he was killed when a lone shooter opened fire in the club just before midnight late Saturday night.
Four others were also killed and 18 people injured in the violence.
Aston, a transgender man, had completed his transition in June. He’d been working for about two years at the club, a job he loved, friends said.
“He was a very warm person,” Daniel Beehler said. “Sometimes I would come by the club on days when I knew hardly anyone would be there, just to have a conversation with Daniel. He was very proud of his whole life. He was proud of his job, and of the person he had become as a trans man, and he was happy to be surrounded by people who were completely accepting of it. You just felt a sense of pride around him.
“The fact that he died on or around (Transgender Day of Remembrance) is just tragic beyond belief.”
Sunday was Transgender Day of Remembrance, first observed Nov. 20, 1999 to commemorate transgender people who have lost their lives to violence.
Aston’s co-worker Leia-Jhene Seals, a drag performer who took the stage Saturday night at Club Q, along with six other entertainers, recalled how helpful Aston was.
“He was always, ‘Do you need anything?'” Seals said.
Aston opened his heart to others and was an instant friend, Gallagher said.
Though she only knew Aston for eight months, “it was kind of like you knew him your whole life once you’d met him,” she said.
“Daniel was very vibrant and very open and happy about it.”
Gazette reporters O’Dell Isaac and Debbie Kelley contributed to this report.