Richard Fierro, the Army vet that took down the Colorado Springs shooter
Fierro went to Club Q in Colorado Springs on Saturday night to celebrate a friend’s birthday with his family, enjoying a drag show that included a performance by his 22-year-old daughter’s best friend.
By night’s end, the air of celebration would be cut off by gunfire. Three of Fierro’s loved ones would be shot — one fatally — and Fierro, a U.S. Army veteran, would find himself rushing to confront and subdue the gunman.
“I had my whole Colorado Springs family in there. I had to do something. He was not going to kill my family,” Fierro said.
When the gunfire first rang out, Fierro said, “I dove when I heard it and I pushed my friend down. He went to the floor and ended up getting shot.” So did his friend’s wife and his daughter’s boyfriend.
Fierro’s daughter broke a knee as she ran for cover, and a stranger pulled her into a dressing room to hide. He said his wife “got sucked into the crowd that went to the patio.”
As Fierro got up from the floor, he said, he saw a man with a gun.
“I looked across the room and the guy was standing at the door. I ran across the bar, grabbed the guy from the back and pulled him down and pinned him against the stairs,” he said.
Fierro weighs 300 pounds, but he said the gunman was bigger, wearing body armor and carrying both a handgun and an AR-15-style rifle.
“He went for his weapon, and I grabbed his handgun,” Fierro said, but “his AR was right in front of him.”
Fierro said he started shouting orders to a young man who had stopped in front of the shooter to assist.
“I said ‘Kick him! Move the AR!’ Then I just started hitting him. But he was in armor plates, so I started hitting him wherever there was skin,” Fierro said. “The back of his head was my target.”
Fierro said he felt his military training kick in.
“I’m an officer and that’s what we do. I took control of the scene as best I could. I’m just hitting the guy with the pistol, beating the back of his head,” he recalled. “I’m yelling to people at the same time, ‘Call the police! Let’s go!’ ”
When the young man assisting him flagged, Fierro said he hailed a drag queen in high heels to help, shouting, “Kick him!”
“She kicked him because the other guy was tired,” Fierro said.
Minutes later, the first police officer arrived. “I was in the middle of a puddle of blood,” Fierro said.
After handing off to the police, Fierro went to find his friends, both of whom had been shot and were being treated with tourniquets by first responders.