Iraq vet took down Club Q gunman by grabbing handle on his armor and a ‘drag dancer stomped on him with her high heels’
The friend of a gun violence victim lights candles in front of a portrait during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting that killed five people at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Richard M. Fierro, a 45-year old twice-decorated Iraq and Afghanistan wars veteran who spent 15 years in the military was at Club Q with his wife, daughter, and friends enjoying a drag show when, he says, a 300-pound gunman entered with an AR-15 style rifle and began shooting.

“I don’t know exactly what I did, I just went into combat mode,” Fierro told The New York Times. “I just know I have to kill this guy before he kills us.”

"I was trying to protect my family," Fierro told Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, the mayor said at a Monday afternoon press conference.

"When the shooting started," The Times reports, "Mr. Fierro said, he hit the floor, pulling a friend down with him. As bullets sprayed, he saw the gunman move through the bar toward a door leading to a patio where dozens of bar patrons had fled. Mr. Fierro, who served in the Army for 15 years, said he raced across the room, grabbed the gunman by a handle on the back of his body armor, pulled him to the floor and jumped on top of him."

“I just knew I had to take him down,” he said.

The gunman, The Times continues, was "sprawled onto the floor, his military-style rifle landing just out of reach. Mr. Fierro started to go for the rifle, but then saw that the gunman had a pistol as well."

“I grabbed the gun out of his hand and just started hitting him in the head, over and over,” Fierro said.

According to The Times, another hero was a drag dancer.

"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 dancer stomped on the gunman with her high heels. The whole time, Mr. Fierro said, he kept pummeling the shooter’s head while the two men screamed obscenities at each other."

At Monday's press conference Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez noted another man was also a hero for helping to subdue the gunman, Thomas James.

The Colorado Springs Police Department posted the names, pronouns, and photos of the five victims to social media (below, or at this link.)