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Army veteran recalls taking down gunman inside Colorado gay nightclub

The New York Daily News - 11/22/2022

When gunfire rang out inside a gay nightclub in Colorado, a U.S. Army veteran relied on years of training, instinct — and help from a heels-wearing drag dancer to take down the shooter and end the violence.

Richard Fierro was enjoying a drag show with his wife, daughter, her boyfriend, and friends before the attack unfolded at Club Q in Colorado Springs. They were at the venue on Saturday to celebrate a birthday and support his daughter’s high school prom date who was performing that night.

The festivities quickly turned tragic, however, when accused gunman Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, entered the club and opened fire.

Fierro, a 15-year Army vet who owns a local brewery, said he immediately ran toward the chaos, grabbed the gunman by his body armor and pulled him to the ground. That’s when a nearby drag performer stepped in and repeatedly stomped on the shooter in a bid to help keep him down, he recalled.

Another patron, Thomas James, helped Fierro hold down the gunman until authorities arrived.

“I just know I got into mode, and I needed to save my family — and my family was at that time everybody in that room,” Fierro said during a press conference outside his house.

“That’s what I was trained to do. I saw him and I went and got him.”

Fierro said his wife was not seriously injured, but his daughter Kassy broke her knee amid the attack. Her boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance, was one of the five people killed in the shooting. Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Ashley Paugh, were also fatally shot.

Fierro expressed regret for not being able to help the five people who were killed, but police have said he helped prevent further bloodshed.

“I tried to save people and it didn’t work out for five,” he said. “There’s five people who aren’t home right now.”

Aldrich was being held on murder and hate crime charges in connection with the shooting.

With News Wire Services

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