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(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — A U.S. Army veteran who stopped a suspected gunman from fatally shooting more people after he allegedly killed five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado says he isn’t a hero, and he’s mourning the people who died, including his daughter’s boyfriend.
“There are five people I could not help, one of which was family to me,” Richard Fierro said during a press conference outside his home Monday night.
“I feel no joy. That guy is still alive… and my family is not,” he said, referring to his daughter’s boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance, who was among those killed in the shooting.
Five people were killed and 17 others were injured from gunshot wounds after a suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, allegedly began shooting as soon as he walked into Club Q in Colorado Springs on Saturday night, according to police. Aldrich is facing five counts of murder and five counts of bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury, which is Colorado’s hate crime law.
Fierro and another person, Thomas James — both of whom authorities have described as heroes — confronted Aldrich and fought with him, ultimately saving more lives, police said.
Fierro told reporters that he and his family were at Club Q to watch his daughter’s junior prom date perform in the drag show that night.
He said he grabbed the suspect’s pistol from him and began “wailing” on him and beating him while telling a bystander to get the gun the suspect had been using. The suspect used a legally purchased assault-style rifle, according to officials briefed on the investigation
“I told him I was going to kill him,” Fierro said.
He asked a drag performer to kick the suspect, he said, adding that she stomped the suspect’s face with her high heel.
“I tried to finish him,” Fierro said.
According to the Colorado Springs Police Department and the mayor’s office, the suspect was beaten so severely that he remains hospitalized as of Monday night.
While Fierro may reject the hero label, others have praised his “heroic actions.”
“Richard actually was able to take a handgun from the waist of the suspect and use that to hit him and immobilize him and disable him,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told ABC News Live Prime’s Linsey Davis on Monday. “And in doing that, I am absolutely confident, and I think most people so familiar with this incident are confident that he saved numerous lives.”
Fierro said his daughter was injured in the incident and is recovering from her injuries while grieving for Vance.
Fierro was in the U.S. Army for 14 years and served in Iraq three times and Afghanistan once, Army spokesperson Sgt. Pablo Saez told ABC News.
Fierro said he left the military because he was “physically broken,” but that his Army training kicked in when the shooting began.
“I got into [a] mode and I needed to save my family,” he said. “It’s the reflex. Go to the fight. Stop the action. Stop the activity. Don’t let no one get hurt.”
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