When a 22-year-old gunman opened fire inside a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub on Saturday, Richard Fierro allowed his instincts and reflexes to kick in as he rushed to the rescue. The moment the 15-year Army veteran heard gunshots and saw muzzle flashes, he started running towards the shooter.
After tackling him to the ground, Fierro disarmed the shooter of his rifle and handgun – subduing him until police officers arrived. While the mass shooting left five people dead and another 17 (at least) injured, it could’ve been much worse if it weren’t for Fierro’s brave efforts – along with the help of several others.
Richard Fierro, who was in the nightclub with his friends and family, knew five of those affected. His wife, daughter, and two friends were injured in the shooting, while his daughter’s boyfriend – Raymond Vance – was one of the five who died. “He’s a good kid, man. And I loved him,” said Fierro after the tragedy.
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Fierro, who served four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he immediately got into ‘combat mode’ when the gunshots started. And it wasn’t just his own family that he was worried about – he wanted to do anything and everything he could to minimize the amount of injuries and fatalities to others in the club.
“That whole group in that building was my family … and I had to do something. I cared at the moment of crisis that their family member was going through. I just want them to know somebody cared,” said Fierro to NPR. His humble mindset and attitude is what has many people calling him a hero – and rightfully so.
When asked if he worries about the motive behind the attack, Fierro had a rather thought-provoking response. “I don’t. Because evil is evil, right? I’ve seen evil down range. I’ve seen evil here. Evil is evil. I’ll be honest. Motive doesn’t matter. This person tried to kill everyone in that club. That’s evil,” he explained.
He also refused to bring politics into it – adding that he’s ‘not a political person,’ but rather a ‘soldier’ – who are trained to ‘never show your political point of view because you’re going to serve the commander in chief.’ Instead, he cares about basic freedoms that give people the right to be who they want to be.
Richard Fierro Wants Everyone to ‘Find That Hero Around Their Table’ This Thanksgiving
Richard Fierro wasn’t the only person grieving a loss this past weekend. In addition to Raymond Vance, the four other victims who died were identified as 35-year-old mother Ashley Paugh, 40-year-old transgender woman Kelly Loving, and two Club Q bartenders – Daniel Aston (28) and Derrick Rump.
When asked by NPR what he and his community need right now, he said he wants everyone to ‘find that hero around their table and do an action for somebody next to them,’ adding that he thinks that will resonate with others. He wants everyone to look inside themselves and make a change to be better.
“This is hard for everyone. This is not something that anybody wants to ever go through. Nobody wants to go through this. But I’m not the first and will probably not be the last. And nobody in that building will be the first [victim] of a mass shooting,” he said, who appreciates all the love and support they’ve received.
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“I really hope people kind of use this and shake someone’s hand. Give someone a hug. Give him a kiss. These are good people, man. These were all kids,” Richard Fierro added. It’s a sentiment that’s shared by many in the Colorado Springs community – especially those directly affected by the tragic shooting.
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