A decorated Army veteran who had taken his family to support a drag show performer was one of the two men who took down a shooter at an LGBTQ club in Colorado.
When army veteran Rich Fierro realized a gunman was spraying bullets inside the club where he had gathered with friends and family, instincts from his military training immediately kicked in.
Fierro is one of two people police are credited with saving lives when a 22-year-old man armed with multiple firearms went on a shooting rampage in Colorado Springs. The man’s weapons included an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle.
Club Q is a well-known gathering place for the LGBTQ community 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 nights.
Then a shooter stormed in and opened fire. Five people were killed and many more were wounded. Among the dead was Kassy’s boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance, who was fatally shot.
Fierro said his army training took over immediately. First, he ducked to avoid any potential incoming fire, then moved to try to disarm the shooter.
“It’s the reflex. Go! Go to the fire. Stop the action. Stop the activity. Don’t let no one gets hurt. I tried to bring everybody back,” he said.
Moving toward the attacker, Fierro grasped the body armor and yanked the shooter down while yelling at another patron, Thomas James, to move the rifle out of reach.
As the shooter was pinned under a barrage of punches from Fierro and kicks to the head from James, he tried to reach for his pistol. Fierro grabbed it and used it as a bludgeon.
When a performer who was there for the drag show ran by, Fierro told them to kick the gunman. The performer stuffed a high-heeled shoe in the attacker’s face, Fierro said.