Once again, the U.S. suffered another mass shooting after a 22-year-old gunman entered an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing at least five people and injuring 25 others. These senseless acts of violence have torn this country apart. But this story also gave us a badly needed hero.
It’s been reported that the shooter, Anderson Lee Aldrich, was overtaken by a patron at the club, and he was disarmed and smacked with his firearm as another patron helped him hold the perpetrator down. But we didn’t know the man’s name – until now.
Via the New York Times:
Richard M. Fierro said he was at a table in Club Q with his wife, daughter, and friends on Saturday, watching a drag show, when the sudden flash of gunfire ripped across the nightclub. His instincts from four combat deployments as an Army officer in Iraq and Afghanistan instantly kicked in. Fight back, he told himself.
In an interview at his house, where his wife and daughter were still recovering from injuries, Mr. Fierro, 45, who left the Army in 2013 as a major, according to military records, described charging through the chaos at the club, tackling the gunman and beating him bloody with the gunman’s own gun.
“I don’t know exactly what I did, I just went into combat mode,” Mr. Fierro said, shaking his head. “I just know I have to kill this guy before he kills us.”
Fierro, who served in the Army for 15 years, explained that when the shooting started, he hit the floor, pulling a friend down with him. He spotted the gunman moving, so he raced across the room, grabbed the gunman by the handle on the back of his body armor, pulled him to the floor, and jumped on top of him.
“Was he shooting at the time? Was he about to shoot? I don’t know,” Fierro told the outlet. “I just knew I had to take him down.”
Fierro estimated that the shooter weighed more than 300 pounds as he was sprawled on the floor, and he could see his military-style rifle landing just out of reach. He started to go for the rifle but then saw that the gunman had a pistol as well, and he “grabbed the gun out of his hand and just started hitting him in the head, over and over,” he said.
Fierro said that as the fight was ongoing, he yelled for other club patrons to help him, so a man grabbed the rifle and moved it away to safety.
“I had my whole Colorado Springs family in there. I had to do something: He was not going to kill my family,” Fierro told The Washington Post.
I love this part:
A drag dancer stomped on the gunman with her high heels. The whole time, Mr. Fierro said, he kept pummeling the shooter’s head while the two men screamed obscenities at each other.
Fierro, a Bronze Star Medal recipient, said he never thought he would have to deal with that kind of violence at home.
“I was done with war,” he said.
“I just want people to take care of people, the people who are hurt and no longer with us,” Fierro told the Post. “I still got two of my best friends who are in the hospital. They still need prayers; they still need support.”