President Joe Biden called Richard Fierro, an army veteran credited with killing and disarming a gunman who attacked an LGBT+ nightclub in Colorado Springs over the weekend.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the president personally thanked Mr. Fierro “for his courage and instinct to act and his ability to save, save, perhaps dozens of lives.”
“Just now the president spoke to Richard and his wife Jess. He offered them his condolences as well as his support and discussed what it was like to grieve,” she said, referring to the death of their daughter’s longtime boyfriend in Saturday’s attack.
In addition, Mrs. Jean-Pierre noted that another person, Thomas James, is credited with confronting and apprehending the gunman.
“Richard and Thomas are heroes and we are very grateful for their quick action,” she said.
In addition, the press secretary noted that the attack took place on the eve of Transgender Memorial Day, when the community was already mourning transgender people, especially trans women of color, who had been killed in recent years. She said two more have now joined that number.
The attack came amid an increase in violent rhetoric and threats against LGBT+ plus people across the United States.
Speaking to CNN on Monday night, Mr. Fierro described what happened when the shooter began shooting at Club Q on Saturday night.
He recognized that the shooter, 22-year-old Anderson Aldrich, was wearing a handgrip body armor and ran across the room, grabbed it, and dragged him to the floor.
Another person, possibly Thomas James, helped Mr. Fierro knock Mr. Aldrich to the ground and had them push the AR-15 rifle away.
“Then I took his second weapon, a pistol, and started hitting him wherever I could, but the armor got in the way,” said Fierro. “I found the fold between his armor and his head and just started running with his gun.”
“I told the kid in front of me ‘kick him, keep kicking him,'” he recalls, adding that he was shouting at others to help and call 911.
In an earlier interview with The New York Timesthe kid in question was initially identified as a drag dancer, but has since been identified as a transgender woman who began stomping on the suspect with her high heels.
Mr Fierro was at the club with his wife Jess Fierro, friends, Kassa’s daughter and her boyfriend Raymond Green, who was one of five victims fatally shot in the attack.
At a press conference on Monday, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said he had met with Mr. Fierro.
“I have never met a person who committed himself to such heroic deeds, with such humility. He simply told me, “I was trying to protect my family.”