NewsClub Q Shooting


President Biden thanks hero for his bravery, instincts during Club Q shooting

Five people were killed and 19 were injured in the mass shooting Saturday evening
Colorado Springs Shooting Heroes
Posted at 1:56 PM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-02 16:03:36-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden spoke with Richard Fierro on Tuesday to thank him for taking quick actions to subdue the shooter at Club Q late Saturday evening.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden and Fierro, who is a former Army major and an Iraqi war veteran, spoke earlier in the morning about the shooting, which killed five and injured 19.

READ MORE: These are the 5 victims of the Colorado Springs Club Q shooting

“He offered his condolences to them and also his support and talked through what it is like to grieve," Jean-Pierre said of that conversation. "As you know, the president — that is something that he is able to do very personally. And thanked them — thanked him for his bravery and, again, for his instinct to act and the ability, by him doing that, saving maybe dozens of lives.”

Fierro took crucial steps to protect more lives after the suspect started shooting, she said. Fierro wasn't alone in his actions — the Colorado Springs Police Department on Monday identified Thomas James, a sailor in the US Navy who is currently stable in the hospital, as the second person to subdue the shooter.

President Biden thanks hero for his bravery, instincts during Club Q shooting

"Richard and Thomas are heroes and we are so grateful for their quick action. And there are no words — no words at all — that can bring comfort to those who are grieving, but we stand with the community of Colorado Springs and the LGBTQ+ community," she said.

Fierro spoke briefly on Monday evening about the shooting.

"I started whaling on this dude," he recalled. "And I'm on top of him. I'm a big dude. Man, this guy was bigger. And I just kept whaling on him. And I told the kid in front of me, ‘Kick him in his head! Keep kicking him in his head!’”

He said he, along with James, had the shooter pinned down until officers arrived at the gay club.

“I love them,” he said of the city's LGBTQ community. “I have nothing but love.”

You can read more of that story here or watch his statement in the video player below.

Richard Fierro hailed as a hero for stopping Club Q shooter

The shooting, which started just minutes before midnight on Saturday, happened on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance. Jean-Pierre said the community was already mourning the loss of loved ones when the gunman opened fire.

"This attack also comes amid a rise in violent rhetoric and threats against the LGBTQ+ people across the country," she said. "While we don't know yet, for certain, the motive of this attack, hate has no place in this country and neither do military-style assault rifles, which is why we will continue to push for an assault weapons ban. Over and over again, we have seen these weapons used to inflict death and terror in our communities across the country."

She added that weapons of war do not belong on the streets or in nightclubs, churches, movie theaters, malls, grocery stores and schools across the United States.

Jean-Pierre also read the names of the five victims and briefly recalled how loved ones are remembering them.

Kelly Loving had just turned 40 years old the week before the shooting.

"Her sister remembered here publicly as a 'wonderful person who was loving and caring and sweet and always put others before herself,'" Jean-Pierre said.

A friend, who was looking forward to seeing Loving for Thanksgiving, said she was supportive and selfless.

Daniel Aston, 28, was a bartender and entertainer at Club Q. He "overcame being teased by peers in school as a child and found joy in performing," Jean-Pierre said.

His mother was one of his biggest fans, regularly bringing friends and family to his performances.

"She said he lit up a room," Jean-Pierre said.

A third victim, Derrick Rump, 38, was described as "what made Club Q," she said. He was a bartender, performer and avid Britney Spears fan.

"Friends and customers remember Derrick for making everyone feel welcome at Club Q," she said. "They talked about his positivity, kindness and generosity, recalling he had a heavy pour and was a great listener."

He also helped people outside the Club Q walls. During the pandemic, when his friends struggled to make ends meet, he stepped in to help.

Ashley Paugh was remembered by her sister as a loving wife and mother of an 11-year-old girl. Her sister described Paugh as a devoted mom whose daughter was at the center of her life, Jean-Pierre said.

"She spoke about the hole that will exist for their family this Thanksgiving and forever after," she said.

Raymond Green Vance, 22, was described by his family as a kind, selfless young man.

"Raymond had recently gotten a new job at Colorado Springs at a FedEx distribution center and was working to save up money for an apartment," she said. "He was part of a tight-knit family who has spoken about the irreparable heartbreak in their lives."

The suspect was arrested on 10 counts, including first-degree murder and bias-motivated crime, according to court records. They have not been formally charged and are being held without bond. Authorities have not confirmed a motive for the shooting.