When gunfire erupted at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Saturday night, performer Wyatt Kent was celebrating his 23rd birthday.
Two people -- Ed Sanders and Kelly Loving -- fell on top of him, Kent said. Loving was shot in the chest and "passed away on top of me," Kent said.
Sanders, a regular at the club, said he was ordering a drink when bullets hit his back and leg.
"I turned around and looked at the guy, then I noticed he had a gun and he was shooting," Sanders told ABC News from the hospital.
Sanders said he's still looking forward to returning to the club, a place he has called home for a long time.
Kent said he thinks that Sanders and Loving helped save his life.
But Kent's fiance, Daniel Aston, was killed in the shooting.
"There wasn't a thing I didn't like about him. Everything was so good. He was smart, he was funny, he was talented," Kent said.
'It's supposed to be a safe space'
Another witness, Joshua Thurman, was dancing right by the DJ booth. When he heard the gunshots, they weren't immediately followed by screams, so he thought it was the music and he kept dancing.
When Thurman saw the flash of a gun, he and others ran to a dressing room to hide for their lives.
Five people, including Aston and Loving, were killed and many others were injured in the mass shooting. The suspect is facing five counts of murder and five counts of bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury, which is Colorado's hate crime law.
To Thurman, Club Q has been a place of solace and community.
"As a Black kid, you know, it's taboo to be gay," Thurman told ABC Colorado Springs affiliate KRDO. "Coming here, this is one of the first places that I felt accepted to be who I am. I became a go-go dancer. A lot of people got their start here. A lot of performers, drag queens. It's supposed to be a safe space and the community shouldn't have to go through something like this."
Thurman couldn't make sense of the tragedy, in which he knew several of the victims. He tearfully paused the interview with reporters, calling out "why?"
"You've harmed us in a way that I don't know how we can bounce back from this," Thurman said, to the assailant. "What can we do? We can rebuild. We can come together, we can do vigils, we can raise money, but that's not gonna bring back those five people that lost their lives."
Victim's mother: 'Nightmare that you can't wake up from'
Sabrina Aston, Aston's mother, fondly remembers her son as someone who "lit up a room."
"It's just a nightmare that you can't wake up from," said Aston in an interview with The Associated Press. She said her son had moved to Colorado Springs two years ago and Club Q was the first job he had in the area bartending, and began to "put on shows" while working at the bar.
"He had crazy wigs and outfits and he would jump across the stage and he could slide on his knees," Aston said. "He was quite entertaining, everyone started hooting and hollering."
To those against the LGBTQ community, Aston said "they don't hurt anybody. They're just normal folk."
Aston said she believed the attack was a hate crime and is urging legislators to take action against the violence that took her son.
"I don't know what action we need to do, but we need to ... get it out there," she said.
'We all have hearts'
Before the gunfire, Club Q was full of music and everyone talking and laughing "just like always," Anthony, a survivor of the shooting, told reporters on Tuesday.
When he heard the screams, he said he fell and crawled to a corner of the club to hide. Then it went quiet.
"I don't know how quick or where they took the gunman down," Anthony, who did not want to use his last name, said. "I just had panic, fear."
Anthony was hit by several pieces of shrapnel, including on his arms, he told reporters from Centura Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs with his partner of 14 years, Jeremy, by his side. He hopes to be able to go home on Thursday, just in time for Thanksgiving.
He said he lost two "dear friends" in the shooting -- Aston, as well as Derrick Rump.
Club Q was a safe haven; now, he said, he doesn't think he'll feel safe being around strangers anytime soon.
"I will be uncomfortable going anywhere for a long time," he said.
Anthony said he wanted to speak out following the tragedy to "get the love out there."
"Just to show that we are united. ... That we're here, and we are who we are. We all have hearts," he said. "We may be hurt and broken down right now, but we will be strong again."
ABC News' Matt Gutman, Emily Shapiro, Kelley Robinson, Meredith Deliso and Robert Zepeda contributed to this report.