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Army veteran who disarmed shooter in Colorado Springs attack: ‘It’s the reflex’ | Colorado

When Army veteran Rich Fierro realized a gunman was spraying bullets inside the clubhouse where he had gathered with his friends and family, his military training instincts immediately kicked in. manifested.

He ducked first 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 anyone get hurt. I tried to bring everyone back,” he said Monday outside his Colorado Springs home, where an American flag hung on the porch.

Fierro is one of two people police credit with saving lives by subduing a 22-year-old man armed with multiple firearms, including an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, who went on a rampage on Saturday night at Club Q, a well-known gathering spot for the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado Springs. Five people were killed and at least 17 injured.

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 nicest nights the group had. That suddenly changed when the shots rang out and Kassy’s boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance, was fatally shot.

Speaking to reporters at his home on Monday, Fierro wept as he remembered Raymond smiling and dancing before the shooting began.

Fierro said he saw the shooter’s body armor and the crowd that fled to the club terrace. Fierro grabbed the body armor and pulled the shooter down while yelling at another customer, Thomas James, to move the gun out of reach.

As the shooter was pinned down by a barrage of punches from Fierro and kicks to the head from James, he tried to reach for his gun. Fierro grabbed it and used it as a club.

When another club goer switched to heels, Fierro told him to kick the shooter. She stuffed her high-heeled shoe in the attacker’s face, Fierro said.

Del Lusional, a drag queen who performed at Club Q on Saturday night, said on Twitter that the boss who stepped in with her heel was a transgender woman.

“I love them,” Fierro said of the city’s LGBTQ+ community. “I only have love.”

Fierro served three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan as a field artillery officer and left the army as a major in 2013, an army spokesperson said.

Fierro and James, of whom little was known Monday night, restrained the shooter until officers arrived minutes later.

Fierro’s wife, Jess, said via Facebook that her husband injured his right side and injured his hands, knees and ankle. “He was covered in blood,” she wrote on the page for their brewery, Atrevida Beer Co.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that Joe Biden had spoken with the Fierros.

“He offered them his condolences as well as his support and explained what it’s like to grieve,” Jean-Pierre said, adding that Biden thanked Fierro for his instinct to act and save lives.


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