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Local LGBT community praises the SDSU grad who helped stop the Colorado Springs shooting

One of the two people credited with stopping Saturday's mass shooting at a Colorado Springs nightclub has San Diego roots. Richard Fierro graduated from Mira Mesa High School and got his bachelor's degree from San Diego State University before joining the Army.

Now, he is being hailed as a hero by the LGBTQ community in San Diego, the mayor of Colorado Springs — and the President of the United States.

"I'm just a regular guy, man," Fierro said during an interview with CNN.


Officials in Colorado said the death toll in the Club Q shooting would have been higher if not for that "regular guy" and another club patron who stopped the shooter.

Fierro said he was at the club with his family to celebrate a birthday. "The six of us were having the greatest time just enjoying the show," said Fierro.

Then the shooting started.

"I went, I gotta stop this guy, so I ran across the room and I pulled him down," Fierro said.

Fierro said while he’s thankful his Army training kicked in, he’s left dealing with grief and guilt, because his daughter's boyfriend was among the five people killed. "I tried –  I tried to help everybody in there. I still feel bad, there’s five people that didn’t come home," he said.


Fierro also said he's angry that innocent people experienced things only people in the military should ever see. "My daughter and wife should have never experienced combat in Colorado Springs," he said. "Everybody in that building experienced combat that night, not (of) their own accord but because they were forced to."

Fierro also received a phone call of support and condolence from President Joe Biden.

In San Diego's Hillcrest community, Fierro was praised for his actions during a Monday night vigil.

"I love the two that stopped that terrorist … a straight veteran from the Army, an ally, a friend. We can’t do this alone without our allies and friends," said Nicole Murray Ramirez, a long time community activist. "It was him, and guess who else — a drag (performer)."

Monday's vigil was also attended by San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit. He said he is determined to keep the LGBTQ community safe.

"Our message is that we care. We care about this community. I have a lot of friends in this community, I deeply care about this community and so I'm going to do everything I can as Chief of Police and I know my counterparts are going to assist me," Nisleit said.

  • The Army veteran who helped stop Saturday’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs has deep ties to San Diego. In other news, San Diego soccer fans cheer on both U.S. and Mexico. Plus, a local food organization prepares for a huge pre-Thanksgiving pie delivery, to help feed critically ill San Diegans.
  • Congressman Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, secured a third term representing San Diego’s 49th District. He joins us to talk about bipartisianship and the next Congress. Then, if you’ve been to the San Diego International Airport lately, you may have noticed it’s very much under construction. We have tips and advice for holiday travelers.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.