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Navy Officer Credited For Taking Down Club Q Shooting Suspect Says He ‘Simply Wanted To Save The Family I Found’
Thomas James released a statement while still receiving treatment at a Colorado Springs hospital, stating, "When you come out of the closet, come out swinging."
One of the “two heroes” credited for stopping the suspect in a mass shooting that left five dead is speaking out.
On Sunday, 11-year veteran Thomas James released a statement through a spokesperson for the Centura Penrose Hospital, where he is receiving treatment for undisclosed injuries sustained during the Nov. 19 mass shooting at LGBTQ+ nightclub, Club Q, according to NBC Denver affiliate KUSA. James was one of two men credited by Colorado Springs police for their “heroic actions” during the takedown of suspected shooter, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich.
“I simply wanted to save that family I found,” James' statement read. “If I had my way, I would shield everyone I could from the nonsensical acts of hate in the world, but I am only one person."
“Thankfully, we are family, and family looks after one another,” he continued. “We came a long way from Stonewall. Bullies aren’t invincible.”
James, of West Virginia, is a U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class, stationed in Colorado Springs since October 2021 as part of the Navy’s Defense Intelligence Agency, according to KUSA.
Richard M. Fierro, 45, a U.S. Army veteran who went to Club Q with his family, is the second man credited for saving the lives of more potential victims.
Fierro, whose daughter’s boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance, 22, was killed in the attack, described in an interview with the New York Times going “into combat mode” before tackling the suspect to the ground and beating them with one of the suspect’s own guns.
James is credited for disarming Aldrich, according to the Denver Post.
Aldrich — who allegedly identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns — was treated for their injuries and remains in custody, facing charges for the murders of Vance; Daniel Aston, 28; Kelly Loving, 40; Derrick Rump, 38; and Ashley Paugh, 38.
Additionally, Aldrich faces charges of bias-motivated violence, according to NBC News.
A visibly battered Aldrich made their first court appearance on Wednesday, when they were ordered to be held without bail, according to the Denver Post. Formal charges are expected to follow.
In an updated release by the Colorado Springs Police Department, it was stated that the mass shooting left 17 community members injured with gunshot wounds and five victims who sustained non-gunshot wound injuries.
Police said 12 additional people are considered victims “with no physical injuries,” to reflect guests who escaped the club and are coping with the trauma of witnessing such an incident.
“I want to support everyone who has known the pain and loss that have been all too common these past few years,” James said in his statement. “My thoughts are with those we lost on Nov. 19 and those who are still recovering from their injuries.”
According to KUSA, James is the last shooting victim receiving treatment at Centura Penrose and is listed in stable condition.
“To the youth, I say be brave. Your family is out there,” James concluded. “You are loved and valued. So when you come out of the closet, come out swinging.”
Police are looking for more witnesses and possible victims who were at Club Q during the shooting and ask anyone with information to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).