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Veteran among those thanked for stopping gunman at gay club

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Law enforcement is crediting two patrons of a Colorado Springs gay club for saving lives by tackling and subduing a 22-year-old gunman who went on a shooting rampage there Saturday night.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez on Monday said Richard Fierro and Thomas James stopped the shooter, who was armed with an AR-15-style semi-automatic weapon, a handgun and additional ammunition magazines. The suspect faces murder and hate crime charges.

Vasquez said Fierro, an army veteran and the co-owner of a local brewery, acted courageously when he became aware that a gunman was attacking the town’s preeminent gay club over the weekend.

“I have never encountered a person who had engaged in such heroic actions who was so humble about it,” Vasquez said of Fierro. “He simply said to me, ‘I was trying to protect my family.’”

The mass shooting left five dead and at least 17 injured with gunshot wounds at Club Q, where Fierro was celebrating someone’s birthday Saturday night with his daughter, Kassy, her boyfriend Raymond Green Vance and other friends, according to social media posts from Kassy and Atrevida Beer Co., which Fierro co-owns.

Fierro and James, who little was known about as of Monday evening, grabbed a handgun from the gunman, hit him with it and pinned him down until police arrived minutes later.

Fierro’s wife, Jess, wrote on Facebook that her husband had bruised his right side and injured his hands, knees and ankle while apprehending the gunman. “He was covered in blood,” she wrote on Atrevida Beer Co.’s Facebook.

Before police revealed the names of the men who subdued the shooter, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said the men had “heroically intervened.”

“We praise those individuals who did so because their actions saved lives,” he wrote in a Sunday statement.

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Metz reported from Salt Lake City. Associated Press reporter Jamie Stengle contributed from Dallas.

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