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Richard Fierro speaks during a news conference on Monday outside his home in Colorado Springs about his efforts to subdue the gunman in Saturday's shooting at Club Q. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

When Richard Fierro, a veteran of four combat tours, tackled a gunman who had opened fire inside a Colorado Springs LGBTQ club, he was just doing what he was trained to do.

“I just know, I got into (combat) mode and I needed to save my family and that family at that time was everybody in that room,” Fierro said Monday night, speaking to reporters outside his home in eastern Colorado Springs. “That is what I was trained to do. I saw him, so I went and got him. And when I pulled him down, I told him, while I was hitting him, ‘I’m going to kill you, guy.’”

Fierro was one of two men who stopped the shooter as he entered Club Q on Saturday night, killing five people. Seventeen others were shot.

Fierro’s daughter’s boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance, 22, was one of those killed. Fierro’s daughter broke her knee while trying to escape the gunfire and was recovering inside the family’s home, he said.

“There were five people who I could not help. And one of which was family to me,” Fierro said.

Fierro, a 15-year Army veteran who served three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, said he went to Club Q with his family to watch his daughter’s junior prom date perform in a drag show.

After the gunman came inside and started shooting, Fierro dove and pushed his friend to the ground. He saw the flashes of a muzzle. He grabbed the shooter by the armor he was wearing and pulled him down, Fierro said.

He grabbed the shooter’s pistol and told another person at the club to move what appeared to be an AR-15 away from the shooter.

“And then I started wailing on this dude,” Fierro said. As Fierro beat the shooter with the pistol, the other person kicked the shooter in his head and a trans woman used her high heels to smash his face.

Police officers put Fierro in handcuffs, dragged him out of the club and put him in a patrol car, where he waited for more than an hour. “It’s fine,” he said. “I get it. They’re trying to sort out what they’re doing.”

“I feel for every single person in that room. I feel no joy. I’m not happy. I’m not excited. That guy is still alive and my family is not. I tried. I tried to finish him. I don’t know. Maybe he’s still in the hospital, I don’t know where he’s at. Don’t care.”

Fierro said his daughter was dancing inside the club with Joshua Thurman, who grabbed her hand and pulled her into a dressing room to hide.

“He saved my daughter’s life. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Fierro said. Thurman previously told The Colorado Sun he was on the dance floor when he saw the flash of the gunman’s muzzle. 

Fierro and his wife own Atrevida Beer Company in Colorado Springs. His wife and daughter are the brewers, he said.

Fierro said he goes to Club Q with his family to support the LGBTQ community.

“We do the pride parade because we love our community. Doesn’t matter LGBTQ, straight. I’m straight. My kids are straight. But we go there,” Fierro said. “Because it is about community.”

He was called a hero Monday afternoon in a news conference where Mayor John Suthers praised him for his quick action to stop the shooter.

Richard Fierro, right, talks with his brother Ed Fierro about his efforts to subdue the gunman in Saturday’s fatal shooting at Club Q. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

“I have never encountered a person who had engaged in such heroic actions that was so humble about it,” Suthers said. “He simply said to me, ‘I was trying to protect my family.’”

On Monday night, Fierro remained humble. 

“I’m not a hero. I’m just some dude, man,” he said, standing in the driveway next to his brother. “Everybody find the heroes this Thanksgiving at the dinner table. Your mom and dad, or your aunt and uncle, or whoever you want. That’s what you guys need to do.”

Olivia Prentzel covers breaking news and a wide range of other important issues impacting Coloradans for The Colorado Sun, where she has been a staff writer since 2021. At The Sun, she has covered wildfires, criminal justice, the environment,...