On Wednesday, VICE News reported that far-right activists online are moving to attack and smear Richard Fierro, the veteran who tackled the Colorado Springs Club Q mass shooter to the ground.
"The far-right has is calling Fierro a 'groomer' and a 'f*ggot,' while questioning his sexuality for being at the Club Q drag show," reported David Gilbert. "Others even questioned the veracity of his entire story, according to an investigation conducted by VICE News and researchers at Advance Democracy Inc, a nonprofit that tracks online extremism."
"Far-right troll Jack Pososbiec was one of the first people to do this," said the report. "'Are we just not supposed to talk about the US Army Major taking his family down to the local drag club for a night out?' Pososbiec asked followers on multiple platforms Tuesday morning, including on Truth Social where he has 960,000 followers and on Telegram, where he has over a million. 'Heroes don't take their kids to drag shows,' one of Posobiec’s followers wrote on Telegram in response. Others joined in: 'So a married man, His Wife, Daughter and her boyfriend all go to Gay bar together? I’m gonna call bullshit on this,' a user on far-right Christian platform Gab wrote on Tuesday. 'If it’s not bullshit he’s helping to molest children and he’s all for it,' another Gab user wrote in response, adding: 'F*ggot dad in closet.'"
"The attacks on Fierro are just one part of a concerted and consistent response from right wing influencers and conservative media outlets to diminish and question the horrific killing of five people inside LGBTQ nightclub Club Q on Saturday night," said the report. Figures like Posobiec, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, and anti-trans troll Matt Walsh have been doubling down on attacks against the LGBTQ community for years, increasing these attacks in regularity and toxicity in recent months, with accusations that members of the LGBTQ community are sexualizing or 'grooming' children. Trans activists have warned that violent responses would be imminent, to little avail."
Fierro, who was initially arrested in mistaken identity after saving lives at Club Q, has been praised as a hero by the club's owner. He has said he simply acted instinctively to save his family.
"Fierro tackled the gunman, disarmed him and beat him with the shooter’s own gun before pinning him on the ground with help from others until the police arrived," noted the report. "Before Fierro disarmed the shooter, the gunman killed five people at the club, including his daughter’s boyfriend. Without Fierro’s actions, police have said the death toll from the attack would have been much higher."