Warning: some descriptions of the incident at Club Q may be distressing, reader discretion is advised.
(COLORADO SPRINGS) — On Monday, Nov. 21, the names of the five victims lost in a deadly shooting at Club Q were announced – names that the community will mourn and cherish, and strive to remember forever. But there are two more names that deserve to be repeated, those of the two people whose heroic actions likely saved countless lives when they managed to subdue the gunman: Thomas James and Richard Fierro.
Richard, an Army veteran, owns a well-known brewery in Colorado Springs – Atrevida Beer Company – along with his wife Jess, an award-winning brew master. Richard served the U.S. for 15 years, through four combat tours, and Jess said she discovered her love of beer when their family was deployed in Germany.
According to a Facebook post on Atrevida’s Facebook page, the Fierros ventured to Club Q on Saturday to celebrate a friend’s birthday. They were there with their daughter Kassy and her boyfriend when the shooter walked in and opened fire.
Five people lost their lives in the shooting – Ashley Paugh, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving, and Kassy’s boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance. 17 other people were injured by gunshot wounds, and Kassy broke her knee running for cover.
But even more people may have been victims were it not for the heroic actions of Richard Fierro, who helped to take down the shooter before he could hurt anyone else.
“I grabbed him by the back of his… armor thing, and I pulled him down,” said Richard. “I think he went for his pistol. I grabbed the pistol from him and then I told the guy, ‘move the AR!’ to the kid in front of me, because he was at (the shooter’s) head. And then I started wailing on this dude and I’m on top of him… I’m yelling ‘911, someone call 911’.”
Fierro said one of the performers* at Club Q helped to incapacitate the shooter with her high heel.
“One of the performers… was running by, and I told her, ‘kick this guy, kick this guy!’ and she took her high heel, and stuffed it in his face or his head, or whatever she could hit,” recounted Fierro.
The Fierros said their friends who were at the club with them were shot multiple times. Jess said she was bruised all over the right side of her body, and Richard was covered in blood by the time he managed to subdue the shooter. But the deepest wound was the loss of Kassy’s boyfriend, Raymond.
“We are going to miss him and his bright smile so much,” the Fierros said on Facebook.
“We went out to see a show and have a good time and thank God Raymond was smiling and dancing,” said Richard. “He was having a good time with my kid, and my daughter got to spend the last day with him. Happy.”
While the family is processing the tragedy that has impacted their family and the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado Springs, they offer words of solidarity and strength.
“The loss of lives and the injured are in our hearts. We are devastated and torn,” reads their Facebook post. “We love our #LGBTQ community and stand with them. This cowardly and despicable act of hate has no room in our lives or business.”
*Richard said in his interview that it was a performer who helped him subdue the gunman. The woman who hit the gunman with her high heel was a patron of the club, not a performer.