Veteran helped disarm gunman at Club Q in Colorado Springs = Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — When Army veteran Rich Fierro noticed a gunman firing bullets at the club where he was gathering with friends and family, instincts from his military training immediately kicked in.

First he dove to avoid any potential fire, and then he moved to try to disarm the gunner.

“It’s the reflex. Walk! go to the fire Stop the action. Stop the activity. Don’t let anyone get hurt. I tried to bring everyone back,” he said Monday outside his home.

Fierro is one of two men whom police say saved lives by overpowering a 22-year-old gunman who committed a shooting Saturday night at Club Q, a well-known LGBTQ hangout in Colorado Springs.

Fierro was there with his daughter Kassy, ​​her boyfriend and several other friends to see a drag show and celebrate a birthday. He said it was one of the group’s most enjoyable evenings until filming began.

Fierro told reporters that when his instincts kicked in, he and another man approached the shooter. He grabbed the attacker’s body armor and began punching him while the other man, Thomas James, began kicking him. The suspect reached for a gun, but Fierro took it from him. He also told James to kick away the shooter’s AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle.

When a cast member who was there for the drag show walked by, Fierro told her to kick the shooter. The performer stuffed a high-heeled shoe in the attacker’s face and also tried to subdue him, Fierro said.

“I love them,” Fierro said of the city’s LGBTQ community. “I have nothing but love.”

Fierro and James, about whom little was known Monday night, held the shooter until officers arrived minutes later.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said Monday Fierro acted bravely.

“I have never met a person who has engaged in such heroic acts and been so humble about it,” Vasquez said. “He just said to me, ‘I was trying to protect my family.'”

Five people were killed and at least 17 wounded by gunfire in the mass shooting. The suspect, who was allegedly carrying multiple guns and extra ammo magazines, faces murder and hate crime charges.

Fierro’s wife Jess said via Facebook that her husband injured his right side and injured his hands, knees and ankles. “He was covered in blood,” she wrote on her brewery’s Atrevida Beer Co. page.

Although his actions saved lives, Fierro said the five deaths – including his daughter’s boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance – were a tragedy both personally and for the wider community.

“There are five people I couldn’t help. And one of those things was family for me,” he said as his brother put a comforting hand on his shoulder.

Fierro said he doesn’t remember if the shooter reacted as he screamed and struggled to subdue him, but he thought about their next interaction.

“I’m going to see this guy in court,” Fierro said. “And this guy will see who turned him on.”

Metz reported from Salt Lake City. Associated Press reporter Jamie Stengle in Dallas contributed.