The shooting at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs a few days ago could have ended even more tragically if an American veteran hadn’t intervened. The ‘hero action’ is praised by local police and the mayor. “I have never met a person who took such heroic actions and was so humble about it.”
Thanks to his military training, veteran Rich Fierro prevented worse from the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, a town south of Denver. He was out with friends and family one night when 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich opened fire on the nightlife crowd. “It was a reflex. I thought: Go for it. Stop it. No one should get hurt. Try to bring everyone back,” he told the Associated Press (AP) news agency.
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Fierro is one of two people praised by the police for acting quickly. Five people were killed in the shooting and seventeen were injured. Together with his daughter Kassy, her boyfriend and friends, Fierro was in Club Q to celebrate a birthday.
According to him, it was one of his best evenings. That changed drastically when Kassy’s boyfriend was fatally injured. Fierro saw the flashes of the firearm, dived, pushed his friend down and fell to the ground.
There on the ground, Fierro caught sight of the shooter. He stood up, grabbed the perpetrator’s bulletproof vest, and yelled at another visitor, Thomas James, to move the gun out of Aldrich’s reach. Fierro then grabbed the weapon and used it as a ‘club’. A few minutes later, the police arrived and took over from the two.
“I tried to protect my family”
“Had he not intervened, it would have been even more tragic,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said Sunday. On Facebook the club thanked the “hero” for his “quick response”.
“I have never encountered a person who took such heroic actions and was so humble about it,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez told US media. “He said very simply: I was trying to protect my family.” Fierro therefore objected when asked about his ‘hero status’. “I’m just a guy from San Diego.”
While his actions saved lives, the event is a tragedy for his family and community, Fierro said. “I couldn’t help five people. One of them was like family to me.”
REVIEW. The emergency services were present en masse after the shooting, video images shared on social media show.
Aldrich, who was reportedly carrying several guns and extra ammunition magazines, is suspected of murder and hate crimes. According to the police, he would have started shooting immediately upon arrival at the club. He was injured, arrested and remained in hospital on Sunday.
Known to the police
The man was already known to the police. In June last year, officers had to turn out when Aldrich’s mother called 911 because her son threatened her “with a homemade bomb, multiple guns and ammunition.”
Aldrich hid in a house near his mother’s residence and came out after some time negotiating with the police. He was charged with kidnapping, among other things, write American media. It is not yet known whether he had already appeared before a court before that.
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