Entertainment And News

Army Veteran Explains How He & A Trans Woman Stopped Colorado Springs Nightclub Shooter

Photo: Facebook
Richard Fierro, Club Q

In yet another violent, hate-fueled attack on the queer community, 5 people are dead and at least 25 are injured after a mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

Just before midnight on Saturday, November 19, minutes shy of Trans Day of Remembrance, 22-year-old gunman Anderson Lee Aldrich opened fire during a drag show at the club.

Aldrich was armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a handgun. Patrons within the club, and not the police, were the ones to take down the shooter.

More people could have lost their lives, were it not for the heroic actions of two people attending the club that night.

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Army veteran Richard Fierro and an unidentified trans woman subdued the Club Q shooter. 

Fierro, a 45-year-old Iraq War veteran, attended Saturday night’s drag show with his family. When the shooting started, Fierro’s instincts kicked in.

“I don’t know exactly what I did, I just went into combat mode… I just know I have to kill this guy before he kills us,” Fierro stated in a New York Times interview

After pulling his friends down to the ground, Fierro spotted Aldrich heading towards a patio where many had fled for safety.

He raced across the room and dragged the gunman down by a handle on the back of his body armor. Fierro gained control of Aldrich’s handgun, pummeling the gunman over the head with his own weapon. He shouted for backup, which came at once: one patron moved the AR-15 out of Aldrich’s reach, while another patron, an unnamed trans woman, stomped on the gunman with her high heels.

Because of her quick thinking and brave actions, countless people’s lives were saved.

Major media outlets are misreporting this event, falsely identifying the high-heeled hero as a drag queen, not a trans woman. At a time when words hold more meaning than ever, it’s incredibly important to identify people for who they truly are.

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In a Twitter post, drag artist Del Lusional wrote, “The one who saved my life and stomped the shooter’s face in was not a drag queen, she is a trans woman. Let’s not call trans women drag queens during this time of grieving over a transphobic attack.”

Club Q is well-known and well-loved, a safe-haven for the queer community in an otherwise conservative town. As bigoted rhetoric is amplified by Republican politicians proclaiming family values, the need for safe space in the LGBTQ+ community is more crucial than ever.

As Jewels Parks, a drag queen and Club Q patron stated, “In a world that can be so dark and so angry, it’s that one place that feels like home… Because of Club Q, we’re able to make friends that turn into family and be accepted for our true selves.” 

Fierro himself has called for inclusion and acceptance, above all else. “These kids want to live that way, want to have a good time, have at it. I’m happy about it because that is what I fought for, so they can do whatever the hell they want.”

If you or someone you know is affected by gun violence or anti-LGBTQ+ hate, know that you’re not alone. Reach out to counselors at The Trevor Project for support. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.