(WGN-TV) — Nearly a year ago, a Colorado Springs nightclub became the scene of another American mass shooting. One that was stopped short, in part, because of the actions of U.S. veteran.
Rich Fierro is retired U.S. Army Major. He served four tours in his 15 years, three in Iraq another in Afghanistan.
He was inside Club Q in Colorado Springs the night a gunman came in November 19, 2022.
“Everybody was wounded and it was everywhere,” he said.
Fierro was there with his wife Jess, his daughter Kassie, and Kassie’s boyfriend Ray — all supporting one of Kassie’s best friends.
Nineteen people were injured. Ray was one of five people killed in the attack.
“It just changes you forever. Period,” Fierro said.
It’s a night that Fierro and his family are still working to process. Not only because they went through — but for what he did that night. Because when the shooter, armed with a 9 mm pistol and AR-rifle came in to that LGBTQ nightclub, he and two others rushed toward the 22-year-old to take him down.
“That person tried to shoot me but his weapon didn’t have any rounds in it,” Fierro said. “It was dark and I took his weapon from him and then I used his weapon as a tool.”
His training as a soldier, he says, took over.
“When you’re at war, we’re all expecting something to happen at some point in some way and people are actively trying to kill you. .. You’re a target,” he said. “In that room, none of us were targets, all of them were innocent people. One had just had his boyfriend sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him and he’s killed. My daughter, this is her boyfriend, they’re best friends and they lost their significant other together, in the same room at the same time. Those are just things that can go beyond anything you can ever think of.”
Since the shooting, the Fierro family business, a brewery in Colorado Springs has seen a lot of support from the community.
It’s the reason for their trip to Chicago — to attend the Beer Culture Summit. While at the summit, Fierro was honored for his heroics at the club.
“I would just hope that people see vets as a wide rainbow of things,” he said. “I’m not a person who looks for glory or anything. I never have. I look for people around me to be better and I hope that from this incident that’s what I try to do.”
In June, the Club Q shooter pleaded guilty to multiple charges and was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.