Army veteran who tackled Colorado Springs shooter ‘overwhelmed’ with community support after massacre

The Independent
The Independent

A US Army veteran who tackled a mass shooter inside a Colorado Springs LGBT + club has been “overwhelmed” with support at his family’s brewery in the wake of the massacre.

The family’s Atrevida Beer Company reopened on 25 November after its closure throughout the week in the wake of a mass shooting inside Club Q on 19 November, killing five people and injuring 18 others.

Richard Fierro was inside the club celebrating a birthday with family and friends, including his daughter Kassandra and her boyfriend, 22-year-old Raymond Green Vance. Vance was among the five people who were fatally shot that night.

Lines formed out the door of the brewery over the weekend and the family has been flooded with requests for T-shirts. A GoFundMe to support Vance’s family has raised more than $32,000.

On Thanksgiving, Mr Fierro and his wife Jessica posted an emotional video from the family’s brewery thanking the community for the “outpouring of love” and support in the wake of the shooting.

“Our hearts are with everyone who was part of the incident that night,” Ms Fierro said.

A suspect, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich , remains in custody. Prosecutors are finalising formal charges, likely to include five counts of first-degree murder and bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury, according to court documents.

“This is a life-changing event, [for] everyone in the building and their families and their friends,” Mr Fierro told CNN on 27 November.

President Joe Biden also called Mr Fierro last week to thank him “for his bravery and for his just instinct to act and the ability by him doing that saving, saving, maybe dozens of lives,” according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

“I’m not a hero,” Mr Fierro told CNN . “Everyone else in that room was a hero with us and everybody’s got a hero story to just try and survive.”

He said he was humbled to see crowds of people from across the state who visited the brewery and tried to thank “everyone who walked through that door.”

“It was more beautiful as a person to see the variance, the difference, the diversity, the inclusion of everyone there,” he said. “Everybody in the same room, just having some joy and enjoying a beer.”

Another man, US Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas James, pushed a rifle away from the shooter while Mr Fierro struck him with the shooter’s handgun.

In a statement from Centura Penrose Hospital, where Mr James remains hospitalised, he said he “simply wanted to save the family I found.”

“If I had my way, I would shield everyone I could from the nonsensical acts of hate in the world, but I am only one person,” he added. “Thankfully, we are family, and family looks after one another. We came a long way from Stonewall. Bullies aren’t invincible.”

Mr James is in stable condition. Another victim is in critical condition.

“To the youth I say be brave,” Mr James said. “Your family is out there. You are loved and valued. So, when you come out of the closet, come out swinging.”

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Hi, I'm Fetterman

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