Thomas James: Navy NCO who helped disarm Colorado nightclub shooter speaks out for first time



CNN

Thomas James, one of two men who helped disarm a shooter last week mass shooting inside Club Q in Colorado Springs, released its first statement about its role in Sunday’s attack.

“I just wanted to save the family I found,” James, a U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class, said in a statement. “If I had the choice, I would protect everyone I could from senseless acts of hate in the world, but I am only one person. Fortunately, we are a family and the family takes care of each other. We’ve come a long way since Stonewall. Bullies aren’t invincible.

“I want to support everyone who has experienced the pain and loss that has been all too common in recent years. My thoughts are with those we lost on November 19 and those who are still recovering from their injuries.

“To young people, I say to be brave. Your family is there. You are loved and valued. So when you come out of the closet, come out swinging,” he added.

James remains in stable condition at Centura Penrose Hospital, according to a hospital update. The hospital said it is focusing on his recovery and will not be conducting media interviews at this time.

The comments represent his first public statement since he and Army veteran Richard Fierro helped shoot down a gunman shooting at customers at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub on November 19. Five people were killed and at least 19 were injured in the attack, police said.

The shooter was pinned to the ground by Fierro, who was celebrating a birthday at the club with family and friends. Another person, identified by police as James, pushed a rifle out of the shooter’s reach while Fierro struck and overpowered the shooter with the other firearm they had, a handgun.

Fierro, who spoke with CNN’s Jim Acosta on Saturday, expressed his deep appreciation for the community’s support as his family’s brewery reopened the day after Thanksgiving.

“It was a really nice day,” Fierro told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Saturday. “I couldn’t thank enough people. I tried to thank everyone who walked through the door.

“I’m not a hero,” Fierro added. “Everyone in that room was a hero with us and everyone has a hero story to try to survive.”

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Fierro’s daughter’s boyfriend Raymond Green Vance, 22, has been identified by authorities as among the slain in the shoot. The alleged shooter is being held without bail and faces five preliminary counts of first-degree murder and five counts of bias-motivated felony — otherwise known as hate crime — causing bodily harm, according to court documents.

President Joe Biden called Fierro and his wife, Jessica, on Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said, explaining that the president wanted to thank Fierro for his “courageous actions” and his “instinct to act” to thwart the attack and save lives.

Fierro told CNN on Saturday he was “humbled” by the call.

“At the end of the day, I wish everyone could talk to him, and just have that honor. I’m a former soldier, so for me, just talking to a commander-in-chief is a big deal,” a- he declared.

Biden told reporters on Thursday he would again attempt to work with Congress to “get rid of assault weapons”. Asked about the national conversation around guns, Fierro said he has a respect for guns from his training as a soldier and wants to see a different mentality no matter how the gun debate turns. fire.

“I just wish people would stop being so angry. It shouldn’t be something so tense. There’s no reason anyone should go to a dance club or a show or anything and have to worry about being shot,” he said.

For the Friday reopening of Bold beer company in Colorado Springs — which he and his wife own — Fierro said he was very encouraged by those in attendance.

“It was more beautiful as a person to see the variance, the difference, the diversity, the inclusion of everyone there. Everyone in the same room having fun and enjoying a beer.

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