Hero who helped thwart Colorado Springs shooter: ‘I would protect anyone I could’

One of two men considered heroes for stopping the Colorado Springs shooter as he searched for other victims, spoke from his hospital bed.

US Navy Petty Officer Second Class Thomas James helped US Army veteran Richard Fierro subdue suspected gunman Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, after Aldrich stormed the LGBTQ Club nightclub Q in Colorado Springs on November 19. the lives of five people and injured more than a dozen, according to law enforcement.

After Fierro confronted Aldrich, pulling him from behind and knocking him down, James helped fight Aldrich to make sure he couldn’t reach the guns he dropped, Fierro told ABC News last week.

“At that point, me, Thomas, … we’re all trying to keep everyone alive,” Fierro said. “…everyone was a hero that day.”

Flowers, candles and keepsakes left at a memorial after a mass shooting at the LGBTQ Club Q nightclub, Nov. 26, 2022, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Isaiah Downing/Reuters

As of Sunday, James was still recovering from his injuries at Centura Penrose Hospital in stable condition.

In a statement released by the hospital, James said during the chaos of the shooting that he “just wanted to save the family that I found.”

“If it were up to me, I would protect everyone I can from senseless acts of hate in the world, but I’m only one person,” he said.

PHOTO: Master Thomas James, injured in the Club Q shooting, in his hospital bed at Centura Penrose Hospital.

Master Thomas James, injured in the Club Q shooting, in his hospital bed at Centura Penrose Hospital.

H/T Vera Drymon/US Navy

James went on to say that he and his community have come “a long way from Stonewall”, the New York bar that was the site of the 1969 riots that launched the Gay Rights Movement.

“Bullies aren’t invincible,” James said.

James said his thoughts are with those killed and injured at Club Q, adding that “the pain and loss has been all too common over the past few years”.

“To young people, I say to be brave,” he said. “Your family is out there. You are loved and appreciated. So when you come out of the closet, come out swinging.”

One of the club’s regulars who was injured in the shooting, Ed Sanders, told ABC News from his hospital bed last week that he was looking forward to returning to the club after recovering, describing him as a place he had called home for a long time.

Another club regular who was near the DJ booth when he heard the gunshots and ensuing screams told ABC News that Club Q is a “safe space” for the LGBTQ community.

“Coming here is one of the first places where I felt accepted to be who I am,” he said. “…It’s supposed to be a safe space and the community shouldn’t have to go through something like that.”

ABC News’ Vera Drymon contributed to this report.

ABC News

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