He brushed aside his actions as needed on Monday as chaos engulfed the club.
“I had my whole family from Colorado Springs there. I had to do something: He wouldn’t kill my family,” Fierro said. “I just want people to take care of the people who are hurt and who are no longer with us. I still have two of my best friends who are in the hospital. They still need prayers; they still need support.”
How the Colorado mass shooting at Club Q unfolded — and ended
Since Saturday night’s shooting, police and other unnamed customers have credited saving “dozens and dozens of lives,” according to Matthew Haynes, one of Club Q’s owners, at a vigil Sunday night. “Keep the man cold. Everyone else ran away and he ran towards him.”
In a police briefing Monday afternoon, Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez and Mayor John Suthers named two well-wishers they said overpowered the shooter — Fierro and a second man, Thomas James.
Suthers said he spoke to Fierro on Monday and “I think he saved a lot of lives.”
“I’ve never met a person who took part in such heroic deeds and was so humble about it,” said Suthers, touched.
Prior to officials’ confirmation, club employees referred The Post to social media posts from Fierro’s family, who credited him, and he spoke briefly to a reporter over the phone.
Five people were killed in the shooting and Many others were injured, police said. Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, the suspected shooter, was still hospitalized as of Monday. City spokesman Max D’Onofrio said authorities were holding him on five counts of murder and five counts of committing a prejudice-motivated felony that included assault.
Police are investigating the alleged LGBTQ club shooter’s links to a 2021 bomb threat
Fierro, who works for defense contractor Northrop Grumman and owns local Atrevida Beer Co. with his wife Jessica, said he stood with a friend after the drag show while their wives danced. Then the shooter entered the club and shot.
Fierro, 45, had served in the Army before settling in Colorado Springs, a military town that is home to both Army and Air Force facilities. Club Q employees and regulars included many service members and veterans, employees said.
“But I was always shot at from afar,” Fierro said. Not this time: “I heard the shot. I smelled the cordite.”
Military records confirm that Fierro, 45, served as an Army field artillery officer from 1999 to 2013 and was stationed three times in Iraq and once in Afghanistan. He rose to the rank of major before leaving the service, according to Sgt. Pablo Saez, an Army spokesman. Fierro received numerous awards for his service, most notably a Combat Action Badge and two Bronze Star Medals.
When the first shots rang out, Fierro said: “I dived when I heard it and pushed my friend to the ground. He fell to the ground and was eventually shot.” So did his friend’s wife and his daughter’s friend.
Fierro’s daughter broke a knee running for cover until a stranger escorted her to safety in a rear dressing room. He said his wife “was drawn into the crowd coming out on the terrace”.
As Fierro got up off the ground, he said he saw that man with a gun.
“I looked across the room and the guy was standing at the door. I ran across the bar, grabbed the guy from behind, pulled him down and pinned him against the stairs,” he said.
Fierro weighs 300 pounds but said the shooter was taller, wore body armor and was carrying both a pistol and an AR-15 rifle.
“He grabbed his gun and I grabbed his pistol,” Fierro said, but “his AR was right in front of him.”
Fierro said he began shouting orders to a young man who stopped in front of the gunman to help.
“I said, ‘Kick him! Move the AR!’ Then I just started hitting him. But he was wearing armor plates, so I started hitting him wherever there was skin,” Fierro said. “The back of his head was my target.”
Fierro said he felt his military training kick in.
“I’m an officer and that’s what we do: I controlled the scene as best I could. I just hit the guy with the gun, hit him on the back of the head,” he recalled. “At the same time, I’m yelling at people, ‘Call the police! Let’s go!'”
When the young man helping him gave in, Fierro said he saluted a passing drag queen in heels to help and yelled, “Kick him!”
“She kicked him because the other guy was tired,” he said.
When the first police officer arrived minutes later, Fierro said, “I was in the middle of a pool of blood.”
After handing the suspect over to the officer, Fierro went to find the friends he had come with, both of whom had been shot and were being treated Tourniquets by first responders.
“I put her hand in his hand so they could be together,” he said.
When other police officers arrived, Fierro said they treated him with suspicion. They interrupted him as he was administering first aid to a friend, he said, and “pulled me out of there like I was the shooter.” He said he was was held in a police car for an hour before being released to be reunited with his wife and daughter. Police did not respond to calls to verify his account.
Fierro has never seen his daughter Kassy’s boyfriend, 22-year-old Raymond Green Vance, 22, her high school sweetheart of six years. He later learned from the man’s mother that he had died, and with her permission, Fierro’s wife posted about her experience online.
“NO ONE should ever witness such bloodshed,” wrote Jessica Fierro. “The loss of life and the injured are in our hearts. We are devastated and torn. We love our #lgbtq community and stand by it. This cowardly and despicable act of hatred has no place in our lives.”
She said the shooting “left us and our community scarred, but not broken.”
Back at home Monday, Kassy Fierro was recovering from the knee injury, Jessica Fierro was recovering from bruises and her husband from injuries to his hands, knees and ankles when he overpowered the shooter. Jessica Fierro said she worries the shooting triggered his PTSD.
Fierro said he doesn’t consider himself a hero. Online, shooting survivors, friends and family responded to Fierro’s post with a flood of grateful support.
“I saw him there, I danced with them, he saved my life,” wrote Brianna Raenae. “Thank you for your courage.”
“Thanks Richard, without your heroics this could have ended a lot worse than it already is,” wrote Patrick Curley.
“We already knew Rich was a hero. He proves it once more. Pray for healing, physically and spiritually. Lots of love to your family and everyone affected by this evil maniac,” wrote James Kormanik.
Gowen reported from Colorado Springs and Hennessy-Fiske from Houston. Staff writer Alex Horton contributed to this report.
Mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado
The newest: Officials are investigating whether hate may have been the motivation for a shooting at Club Q, a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, that killed five people and injured about 18 others. Follow our live updates here.
The victims: One of the victims has been identified as bartender Daniel Aston, 28, a transgender man who his mother said was fatally shot. The authorities have not officially announced the identity of the victims.
The suspect: The suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, faces five counts of murder and five counts of committing a prejudice-motivated felony that includes assault, city spokesman Max D’Onofrio said.
How to help: Within hours, organizers created fundraisers and shared blood donation locations. Here’s how you can help the family members of the victims and survivors of the Q Club shooting.