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Army veteran fought shooter, saving lives at Club Q

"I just know that I got into mode and I needed to save my family," Richard Fierro said. "And that family was, at that time, everybody in that room."

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — An Army veteran being hailed as a hero after stopping a gunman at Club Q in Colorado Springs Saturday night wants people to remember not his actions, but the five lives lost. 

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Richard Fierro and Thomas James stopped the gunman and prevented him from injuring more people, Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez said. 

Speaking outside his home Monday, Fierro said he and his family were at the club to watch his daughter's junior prom date perform when a man "came in shooting."

Fierro, an Army veteran who served three tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, said his reflexes kicked in.

"I just know that I got into mode and I needed to save my family," Fierro said. "And that family was, at that time, everybody in that room. And that’s what I was trained to do. I saw him and I went and got him."

Fierro said he took the man's pistol and hit him with it.

"Pulled the dude down, pinned him against his side, and just started – I think he went for his pistol? I don’t know, either way, I grabbed the pistol from him," Fierro said. "And then I told the guy, move the AR. The kid in front of me, he was at his head. I said, ‘Move the AR. Get the AR away from him.’ And the kid did it. And then I started wailing on this dude. And I’m on top of him. I’m a big dude, man, and this guy was bigger. And I just kept wailing on him."

Credit: AP
Richard Fierro talks during a news conference outside his home about his efforts to subdue the gunman in Saturday's fatal shooting at Club Q, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

The other person repeatedly kicked the suspect in the head, Fierro said. Other performers rushed over to help. 

"One of the performers walked by, or was running by, and I told her, 'Kick this guy. Kick this guy,'" Fierro said. "And she took her high heel and stuffed it in his face." 

Fierro's daughter was injured in the shooting. Her boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance, was killed.

“There are five people that I could not help, one of which was family to me," Fierro said.

"Thank God Raymond was smiling, and was dancing with my kid," he said. "And my daughter got to spend her last day with him happy." 

Two of Fierro's friends were also injured, he said. 

"Nobody in that club asked to do this," he said. "Nobody in that club wanted to be shot." 

A Bronze Star Medal recipient, Fierro served as a field artillery officer from June 1999 to November 2013, and held the rank of Major at the end of service, the Army said.

"It's the reflex," Fierro said. "Go. Go to the fire. Stop the action. Stop the activity. Don't let no one get hurt." 

Fierro said that when police arrived, they handcuffed him and put him into a patrol car for about an hour. He has no hard feelings about that, saying he understands they were trying to sort things out in a chaotic situation.

"I wish I could have done more," he said. "But those people aren't home tonight. I am. And I'm really upset by that. That's not something I'm proud of."

"I feel for every person in that room," he said. "I feel no joy. I'm not happy. I'm not excited. That guy is still alive, and my family is not." 

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said he talked with Fierro before Monday's news conference.

"I have never encountered a person who had engaged in such heroic actions that was so humble about it," Suthers said. "He simply said to me, 'I was trying to protect my family.'"

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