‘He Saved a Lot of Lives’: Combat Veteran Tackled Colorado Gunman – The New York Times

Richard M. Fierro was at a table in Club Q with his wife, daughter and friends on Saturday, watching a drag show, when the sudden flash of gunfire ripped across the nightclub. His instincts from four combat deployments as an Army officer in Iraq and Afghanistan kicked in.

He charged through the chaos, tackled the gunman and beat him bloody with his own gun.

“I don’t know exactly what I did, I just went into combat mode,” Mr. Fierro, 45, who left the Army in 2013 as a major, said on Monday at an interview in his garage, his first since the shooting on Saturday night. “I just know I have to kill this guy before he kills us.”

On Monday, the authorities said they were holding Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, on suspicion of murder and bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury, Colorado’s equivalent of a hate crime, for each of the five people killed in the shooting. Chief Adrian Vasquez of the Colorado Springs Police Department identified the victims as Daniel Aston, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, Derrick Rump and Raymond Green Vance…

…As the fight continued, he said, he yelled for other club patrons to help him. A man grabbed the rifle and moved it away to safety. A drag performer stomped on the gunman with high heels. The whole time, Mr. Fierro said, he kept pummeling the shooter’s head while the two men screamed obscenities at each other.

When police arrived a few minutes later, the gunman was no longer struggling, and Mr. Fierro said he feared that he had killed the man…