COLORADO SPRINGS, Color –
When former US soldier Rich Fierro noticed a gunman opening fire inside the club where he was gathering with friends and family, his military training instincts immediately kicked in.
First, he dives to avoid any potential flames coming, and then he moves to try to disarm the shooter.
“It’s a reflex. To go! Go to the fire. Stop action. Stop working. Don’t let anyone get hurt. I was trying to bring people back,” he said Monday outside his home.
Fierro is one of two men credited by police with saving lives by subduing a 22-year-old gunman who opened fire on Saturday night at Club Q, a popular community gathering spot. LGBTQ2S+ in Colorado Springs.
Fierro was there with her daughter Kassy, her boyfriend, and some other friends to see a drag show and celebrate a birthday. He said it was one of the group’s most enjoyable nights, until filming began.
Fierro told reporters that when his instincts kicked in, he and another man approached the shooter. He grabbed the attacker’s armor and started punching him while the other man, Thomas James, started kicking him. The suspect reached for a pistol, but Fierro snatched it from him. He also told James to kick the shooter’s AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle.
When a performer there for a drag show passed by, Fierro told them to kick the gunman. Fierro said the performer shoved a high heel shoe into the attacker’s face and also tried to subdue him.
“I love them,” Fierro said of the city’s LGBTQ2S+ community. “I have nothing but love.”
Fierro and James, who are little known Monday night, took down the shooter until officers arrived minutes later.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said Monday that Fierro acted bravely.
Vasquez said: “I have never met a person who has engaged in such heroic acts and is so humble about it. He just told me: ‘I’m trying to protect my family.’”
The mass shooting left five people dead and at least 17 injured by bullets. The suspect, who is believed to be carrying multiple firearms and additional magazines, faces murder and hate crimes charges.
Fierro’s wife, Jess, said via Facebook that her husband had bruises on his right side and injuries to his hands, knees and ankles. “He was covered in blood,” she wrote on the page of their brewery, Atrevida Beer Co..
Although his actions have saved many lives, Fierro said the five deaths – including his daughter’s boyfriend Raymond Green Vance – are a tragedy for both the individual and the wider community. than.
“There are five people that I cannot help. And one of them is family to me,” he said, as his brother put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
Fierro said he doesn’t remember whether the gunman responded when he yelled and tried to subdue him, but he was thinking about their next interaction.
“I’ll see that guy in court,” Fierro said. “And that guy will see who did him.”
Metz reports from Salt Lake City. Associated Press reporter Jamie Stengle in Dallas contributed.