'I tried to finish him': Army vet Rich Fierro who heroically subdued Club Q shooter reveals what transpired
'It’s the reflex. Go! Go to the fire. Stop the action. Stop the activity. Don't let no one get hurt. I tried to bring everybody back,' Rich Fierro said
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO: An army veteran, whose heroic efforts quelled the bloodbath caused by a 22-year-old gunman in a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, reportedly said that he tried to use the killer's own pistol to "finish him." Rich Fierro and Thomas James were the two patrons acknowledged by police for saving the lives of people at Club Q on Saturday night, November 19, when Anderson Lee Aldrich's shooting spree left five dead and at least 25 wounded. According to The Associated Press, Aldrich brought multiple firearms inside the property, including an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle, and is now facing murder and hate crime charges.
"It’s the reflex. Go! Go to the fire. Stop the action. Stop the activity. Don't let no one get hurt. I tried to bring everybody back," Fierro said to media that congregated on Monday, November 21, outside his home, Fox News reported. He was in the club along with his family which included his daughter, Kassy, her partner and several other friends to see a drag show and celebrate a birthday. Everything seemed to be going well for Fierro when he heard rapid gunshots out of the blue. Unfortunately, Kassy's boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance was fatally shot.
During the ordeal, Fierro used his military training and ducked to avoid any potential incoming fire and then moved to subdue the shooter. He could smell the cordite from the ammunition, saw the flashes and dove, while pushing one of his friends down before falling backwards. Fierro saw the shooter's body armor when he looked up from the floor and also witnessed the crowd that had fled to the club's patio.
He grasped the killer's body armor and pinned him down while he shouted at James to move the rifle out of reach. Aldrich apparently tried to reach out for his gun while he received repeated blows from Fierro and kicks to the head from James. Fierro grabbed it and used it as a bludgeon. "I tried to finish him," he said.
Fierro told a performer, who was there for the drag show, to kick the shooter while they ran by. The performer kicked Aldrich's face with a high-heeled shoe, the army vet said. "I love them," Fierro said of the city's LGBTQ community. "I have nothing but love. I really hope people kind of use this and shake someone's hand, give someone a hug, give them a kiss. These are good people, man, these were all kids," he added.
"I did what I had to do."— CNN (@CNN) November 22, 2022
Richard M. Fierro, one of the men who tackled the gunman in the Colorado Springs Club Q shooting, said it wasn’t about being the hero — it was all about protecting his family. https://t.co/SXoUGH4q4Y pic.twitter.com/fxOFXwEKhW
Fierro, who was deployed three times in Iraq and once in Afghanistan, said he has dealt with violence. "Nobody in that club asked to do this," he said, but everyone "is going to have to live with it now." Fierro and James tacked the shooter until the police arrived minutes later. As law enforcement took over, Fierro was briefly handcuffed and sat in a police car.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez later praised Fierro for his courageous act. "I have never encountered a person who had engaged in such heroic actions who was so humble about it," Vasquez said. "He simply said to me, ‘I was trying to protect my family.’" Fierro's wife, Jess, said on Facebook that her husband had bruised his right side and injured his hands, knees and ankle. "He was covered in blood," she wrote on the page of their brewery, Atrevida Beer Co.
Fierro has no recollection whether Aldrich responded as he yelled and struggled to subdue him. "I’m gonna see that guy in court," Fierro said. "And that guy’s gonna see who did him."