Richard M. Fierro is a former military man of Hispanic origin who fought in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In 2013 he retired from the army with the rank of Major and highly decorated. Now, he is also known as the "hero" of Colorado Springs for being the person who on Saturday night intervened and used his military expertise to prevent a massacre at an LGBT club.
Fierro was watching a Draq Queens show at Club Q with his wife, daughter and friends, when the roar of gunshots blasted through the nightclub. His "combat" instincts as a soldier were activated and he seized the moment to knock down, disarmi and immobilize the attacker. He told:
I don't know exactly what I did, I just went into combat mode, I just knew I had to kill that guy before he killed us, I had my whole Colorado Springs family there and I wasn't going to let him finish them off.
Three of his companions were shot. Two of his friends were injured. His daughter broke her knee and her boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance, is one of the deceased.
The suspect, a 22-year-old man who was identified as Anderson Lee Aldrich, was carrying a military-style rifle and a handgun. He Killed 5 people and injured another 25. He is in the hospital and was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and hate crimes.
"I'm done with war."
When the attack began, Fierro fell to the ground and as bullets poured into the bar, he saw Lee heading for a back door leading to the bar's patio. The former military man ran and grabbed the attacker by the back of his bulletproof vest, threw him to the ground and jumped on top of him. "I grabbed the gun out of his hand and started hitting him in the head, over and over again," later describing the incident to reporters.
As the fight continued, he asked other club patrons to help him. One man grabbed the attacker's rifle and one of the dancers stomped on it with her high heels. Fierro continued to hit him in the head until the police arrived a few minutes later. The attacker was no longer struggling and was covered in blood, the officers tackled him and handcuffed him. He confessed later that, he feared he had killed him.
The "hero" of Colorado Springs was held in a police vehicle for more than an hour that night. He begged to be let go so he could see what had happened to his family. He said he never thought he would have to deal with that kind of violence in his home and for those reasons "I ended up with the war."
Authorities recognize their work
The press release from Club Q, the city's police chief, and Mayor John Suthers indicated that "several patrons" of the venue "confronted and subdued" the attacker, for which they were all hailed as heroes. However, special prominence has been given to Fierro's actions. The police chief said in a statement:
I have never encountered a person who was involved in such a courageous action and was so humble when talking about the case, a real hero.
To which Fierro replied: "I have tried to save people and with five it has not worked. One of them belonged to my family, I am not a hero. I'm just another guy.