(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez sat down with FOX21 on Thursday to reflect on the tragedy of Nov. 19, 2022, when five people were killed and dozens more injured at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) responded in a matter of minutes with other local agencies to the scene of Club Q, immediately jumping in to protect the Southern Colorado community. Officers go through a specific curriculum for active shooter situations, but it was on that weekend their training was put to the test.
“If you look at everything our city has gone through over the years, we have Waldo Canyon fire, we have Black Forest Fire and Planned Parenthood and the Halloween mass shooting,” Vasquez said. “The city unfortunately has had a lot of events that have helped us remember that we need to be consistent in our training so that we can be prepared for events like this to make this a safe city.”
When it comes to the immediate action of first responders, Chief Vasquez described his immense pride in their work ethic.
“I think the discipline to be able to focus on what the task at hand is in this particular case,” Vasquez said. “To make sure that they’re getting to the suspect and then stepping back and thinking about the victims that are in this building and how are we going to care for them, that is, that’s the difficult part.”
Vasquez also acknowledged the heroic actions of two who were not in uniform–Thomas James and Richard Fierro–who jumped into action immediately.
“If not for the two of you, we would have had a lot worse situation,” Chief Vasquez said. “As bad as it was with 18 people shot, and then another five shot and killed, and other people injured. I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been had they not stepped in and done what they did.”
The actions of the two helping subdue the suspect and ensure more lives were saved inside.
“I’ve fortunately been able to watch a lot of video on this and I see how this unfolded and the way that you see Thomas James jump into action immediately,” Chief Vasquez. “Just absolutely amazing and Richard Fierro coming in to assist him and the way that they work together to make sure that they stop this shooter is just heroic.”
As Southern Colorado approaches one-year since this tragedy, Chief Vasquez wants the community and survivors to know the thin blue line is by their side.
“I would let the survivors know that we’re here for them,” Vasquez said. “We have the unfortunate anniversary, but we want to make sure that we’re providing that support, and I would just tell them that CSPD is here for everybody, and every one of them should feel the support from me personally, as well as from all of our officers.”
In evaluating the emergency response time, Chief Vasquez expressed the need for more trauma kits.
“Our officers went through so many trauma kits providing that medical aid afterwards and the Police Foundation has stepped up and they’re purchasing for all of our sergeant vehicles, these larger trauma kits,” he explained.
One year later, the commitment to serve Southern Colorado remains the same; when the call arises, CSPD is prepared to serve and protect the community.
“We don’t see race, gender. We don’t see any of those things. When we respond, we see citizens that may need help, but we also are there for them in a way that helps them in any way that we can. And I want them to know that that, as we were there that night, we’re here today.”