A decorated US Army veteran disarmed a gunman during a devastating attack on innocent people inside a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub.
During a heroic example of courage, Rich Fierro, an Iraq and Afghanistan army veteran took control of a disastrous situation when gunfire broke out.
“It’s the reflex,” he told reporters outside his Colorado Springs home in November. “Go. Go to the fire. Stop the action. Stop the activity. Don’t let no one get hurt.”
How a Decorated Army Vet Became a Hero During a Devastating Active Shooter Attack
The evening started out innocently. Fierro had taken his family out to support a drag show performer, who was a friend of his daughter.
As chaos ensued, Fierro immediately let his US Army training take over to subdue the gunman.
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While speaking to the press, Fierro said after ensuring his family was safe, he grabbed the gunman by the armour he was wearing and dragged him down to the ground. He proceeded to use the shooter’s gun to beat him.
Unfortunately, Fierro’s heroics weren’t enacted fast enough to save the five people who were killed seconds before. During the shooter’s initial spree, 17 others inside the club were wounded.
One of the fatalities includes the boyfriend of Fierro’s daughter.
At a press conference following the senseless shooting, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers called Fierro as one of the tragedy’s “two heroes,” alongside Thomas Jame who, “saved a lot of lives,” inside Club Q.
Fierro modestly said that “many others” also deserved credit, including a young man who was dancing with his daughter and managed to get her to safety just as the shooting started.
The former US Army vet also gave kudos to a drag performer who he said kicked the gunman with her high heels while Fierro held him to the ground.
A Hero Who Doesn’t Want to Be Called a Hero
“I’m not a hero,” said Fierro during the media scrum at his home. “I’m just some dude.”
The veteran mourned his daughter’s boyfriend, who he said he had known since both kids were in high school. “He’s a good kid. And I loved him.”
Among the 17 wounded were a couple who are close friends with the Fierro family, who have two young children together.
“I wish I could have saved everybody in there,” said Fierro, holding back tears. “I wish I could have done more.”
Colorado officials have not shared additional information about the shooter’s motives.
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Fierro is no stranger to confrontation as he is a decorated and respected soldier. He served 14 years in the military and was awarded the Bronze Star twice, having served as a field artillery officer during three tours of Iraq and one of Afghanistan.
Jess Fierro, Rich’s wife, says her husband’s hands, knees, and ankle were injured in the tussle with the gunman.
Mrs. Fierro told reporters the violence sparked her husband’s post-traumatic stress disorder to return.
“I’m not a hero,” Fierro said. “I’m just a guy that wanted to protect his kids and wife, and I still didn’t get to protect her boyfriend.”
The suspect, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich faces preliminary charges of five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime.
Even during tragic events, the world can shine a bit brighter thanks to Rich Fierro’s selfless heroics.