A US army veteran who helped subdue the gunman at a gay club in Colorado Springs credits his military training and instincts for his quick action as he grabbed the gunman by the body armour and began punching him.
Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said Richard M Fierro and another man, Thomas James, are the two who stopped the shooter after he began spraying bullets inside Club Q on Saturday night.
Keep readinglist of 4 items
The rampage killed five people and wounded 17 in a space that the LGBTQ community in the conservative Colorado city had long considered a safe haven.
When Fierro realised a gunman was shooting in the club where he had gathered with friends and family, his military training kicked in.
Diving to duck any potential incoming fire, he then moved to disarm the shooter.
“It’s the reflex. Go! Go to the fire. Stop the action. Stop the activity. Don’t let no one get hurt. I tried to bring everybody back,” he said on Monday outside his home.
Fierro was there with his daughter Kassy, her boyfriend and several other friends to see a drag show and celebrate a birthday. He said it was one of the group’s most enjoyable nights – until the shooting started.
A drag performer running by was told by Fierro to kick the gunman as he was still trying to subdue him.
The suspect, who was said to be carrying multiple guns and additional ammunition magazines, faces murder and hate crime charges.
“There are five people that I could not help. And one of which was family to me,” Fierro said, as his brother put a consoling hand on his shoulder.