Updated as of 11/22/2022 at 9:30 a.m. ET
A shooting at an LGBT+ nightclub in Colorado Springs left five people dead and 25 injured, reports say. The bar patron who stopped the shooter said he doesn’t consider himself a “hero” as the public labeled him, per ABC News. Instead, he mourns for the lives lost before he stepped in.
“There are five people I could not help, one of which was family to me,” Richard Fierro said in a press conference. “I feel no joy. That guy is still alive... and my family is not.”
According to CNN, Fierro did three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan during his 15 years of service in the Army. In this incident, his training came in handy. Fierro said he and his family were at Club Q to watch his daughter’s junior prom date, Raymond Green Vance, perform in a drag show. He said he took on Anderson Lee Aldrich, the shooter, by pulled him to the ground, sending his AR-15 semiautomatic gun flying.
Then, he grabbed Aldrich’s handgun and began beating him with it. “I told him I was going to kill him. I tried to finish him,” Fierro said.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told AP News more lives could have easily been taken if Fierro hadn’t stepped in. “Had that individual not intervened this could have been exponentially more tragic,” he said.
The club called the incident a “hate attack” which wouldn’t be a far-off assumption given the LGBT community is still healing from the hit-and-run outside The Jeffrey Pub in Chicago this summer and the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Florida back in 2016.
“Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community. We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack,” said the club in a statement on Facebook.
The victims were identified as Vance, Daniel Aston, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh and Derrick Rump. Club goers, family members and friends of the victims mourned together at a memorial.
Read the reactions from Club Q patrons via AP News:
Joshua Thurman said he was in the club with about two dozen other people and was dancing when the shots began. He initially thought it was part of the music, until he heard another shot and said he saw the flash of a gun muzzle.
“I could have lost my life — over what? What was the purpose?” he said as tears ran down his cheeks. “We were just enjoying ourselves. We weren’t out harming anyone. We were in our space, our community, our home, enjoying ourselves like everybody else does.”
Seth Stang was buying flowers for the memorial when he was told that two of the dead were his friends. The 34-year-old transgender man said it was like having “a bucket of hot water getting dumped on you. ... I’m just tired of running out of places where we can exist safely.”
Aldrich is still recovering from his injuries in the hospital. However, when he recovers he will have to face multiple murder and hate crime charges, per CNN.