HERO WORSHIP: Meet the Army vet who stopped the Colorado gunman in his tracks
Not all heroes wear a cape. Some carry flags – rainbow ones. Army Veteran Richard Fierro, one of the two previously unnamed patrons who helped restrain the Colorado Springs shooter, has served both his country and community.
Celebrating a friend’s birthday at Club Q on Saturday, Fierro rushed the gunman after three people close to the hero – and two dozen others were shot.
Colorado Springs’s mayor, John Suthers, and police chief Adrian Vasquez credited Fierro with mitigating the act of hate with the mayor saying “in my opinion, he saved a lot of lives.”
According to The Washington Post, the 45-year-old former artillery officer served in the armed forces for nearly 15 years, between 1999 – 2013, doing multiple tours in the Middle East and receiving the Combat Action Badge and two Bronze Star medals for his service.
At the club with family and friends to watch a drag show performance, a flash of gunfire prompted the veteran to act.
“I don’t know exactly what I did, I just went into combat mode,” Mr. Fierro said. ” I just know I have to kill this guy before he kills us,” the New York Times reported. “I grabbed the gun out of his hand and just started hitting him in the head, over and over.”
When the shooting started, Mr. Fierro said, he hit the floor, pulling a friend down with him. As bullets sprayed, he saw the gunman move through the bar toward a door leading to a patio where dozens of bar patrons had fled. Mr. Fierro, who served in the Army for 15 years, said he raced across the room, grabbed the gunman by a handle on the back of his body armor, pulled him to the floor, and jumped on top of him.
The local brewery owner was covered in blood when police arrived, but the Colorado Springs officers mistakenly tackled, handcuffed, and held him in the back of a cop car for over an hour before being released.
“I’ve always been shot at from afar,” Fierro said, ” I heard the shot. I smelled the cordite.”
Aside from those close to him being hit in the gunfire, Fierro’s daughter and wife were caught up in the chaos.
“I looked across the room and the guy was standing at the door. I ran across the bar, grabbed the guy from the back and pulled him down, and pinned him against the stairs.”
The Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs killed five and injured over two dozen others. A drag performer helped Fierro subdue Aldrich, stomping on the domestic terrorist with her high heels.
A defense contractor now, Fierro stepped up — proving a good man without a gun can be just as effective.
Original reporting by Molly Hennessy-Fenke and Annie Gowan at TheWashington Post.
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