The shooting at Club Q killed five and injured many more but officials say the death toll could have been much higher if patrons at the club hadn’t subdued the gunman.
The Colorado Springs nightclub was hosting a drag show the night of the shooting and Army veteran Rich Fierro was there with his family. When he saw the gunman, Fierro said his instincts took over.
“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,” he said Monday outside his home in Colorado Springs, where an American flag hung from the porch.
Fierro tackled the gunman and began beating him over the head with his pistol. Another man, Thomas James, moved the suspect’s rifle out of reach while another woman, whose name is unknown, began kicking him with her high heels.
Fierro’s wife and daughter survived the attack but his daughter’s boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance, was one of the five killed. The other victims of the shooting were Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving and Ashley Paugh.
Fierro asked that the focus be kept on the victims of the shooting, rather than on his actions.
“I have never encountered a person who had engaged in such heroic actions who was so humble about it,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said of Fierro on Monday. “He simply said to me, ‘I was trying to protect my family.’”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden plans to reinstate an assault rifle ban in hopes of preventing future tragedies.
Jean-Pierre stated the administration stands with the LGBTQI+ community, taking time during the White House press briefing to honor the victims. She said Biden reached out to Fierro to thank him for saving dozens of lives.
“He offered his condolences to them and also his support and talked through what it’s like to grieve,” Jean-Pierre said, adding that Biden thanked Fierro for his instinct to act and save lives.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.