Latino Army Veteran Richard Fierro Is One of the Heroes of Colorado Springs Shooting
The Colorado Springs Police Department has identified the two Club Q patrons who subdued the gunman, Anderson Lee Aldrich. Their names are Thomas James and Richard Fierro. Although we don’t yet know much about James, Fierro is Latino and an Army veteran, ally, and brewery owner alongside his wife, Jess.
On the night of the shooting, Fierro was with his wife, his daughter, and her boyfriend, 22-year-old Raymond Green Vance. Furthermore, they were there to see a drag show. However, the family outing was cut short when Aldrich entered the club, firing rounds from an AR-15.
Fierro’s military training came back to him in a split second
Amidst all the chaos, Fierro says his military training kicked in. During a lull in the shooting, Fierro was able to rush Aldrich from behind. He then used the shooter’s body armor to get him on the ground. After he successfully subdued the shooter, Fierro and a number of other patrons, including James, held him down.
At one point, Fierro says the shooter tried to go for his pistol. However, the veteran was able to disarm him and pistol whip Aldrich with his own gun. Fierro began asking for someone to call 911 and encouraged nearby patrons to help him beat Aldrich into submission. “She took her high heel and she stuffed it in his face,” Fierro told The Denver Post about a nearby drag performer.
In an interview with the New York Times, Fierro described his mindset at the time, saying, “In combat, most of the time nothing happens, but it’s that mad minute, that mad minute, and you are tested in that minute. It becomes habit.” He added, “I don’t know how I got the weapon away from that guy, no idea. I’m just a dude, I’m a fat old vet, but I knew I had to do something.”
Unfortunately, Vance died during the shooting. “Raymond was a beautiful man,” the veteran said. “I loved him.”
Fierro says he considers everyone at Club Q to be part of his family. “That guy is still alive and my family is not,” he said. “I tried. I tried to finish him.”
Now, Fierro is a retired veteran who owns a brewery with his wife
Although Fierro is now a local hero, he and his wife Jess have been allies long before that. The husband-wife team owns a brewery in town called Atrevida Beer Company. Considering Richard’s heroism that night, it feels prophetic that they would call their brewery Atrevida. In English, atrevida translates to daring.
Together, they work tirelessly to make it known that Atrevida prioritizes inclusion. They even have a sign outside of the building that reads, “Diversity, it’s on tap!”
Additionally, Jess Fierro is the state’s first Latina brewery owner and head brewer, according to an Instagram post from Reductress CEO Meena Harris.
In a 2020 article profiling the brewery, Jessica said, “Diversity means creating a space where regardless of color, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, everybody is literally welcome here and we’re just celebrating each other’s differences and each other’s cultures, and hopefully learning from them, learning from one another.”
Inevitably, comparisons to Uvalde are cropping up
While the customers who selflessly put their lives on the line are being celebrated as heroes, some are pointing out that they did more than the hundreds of Uvalde officers who refused to engage Robb Elementary shooter Salvador Ramos.
On Twitter, specifically, many well-known users are comparing the Club Q shooting to Uvalde as an example of real heroism.
The names of the victims have also been revealed. They are:
- Kelly Loving
- Daniel Aston
- Derrick Lump
- Ashley Paugh
- Raymond Green Vance
Multiple GoFundMe’s have been set up to cover expenses and help the families through this unimaginable loss.