On November 19, a man open-fired and killed five people and left at least 18 others injured at LGBTQ hangout Club Q in Colorado Springs. Thanks to the quick action of a few brave club-goers, the shooter was subdued before they could continue the violent act.
One of the brave club-goers, Thomas James, a U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class, helped disarm shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich, and is opening up for the first time since the country’s 601st mass shooting of 2022.
James said that he “simply wanted to save the family I found.” The petty officer is recovering from undisclosed injuries from the shooting and made his first public statement through Centura Penrose Hospital where he and others are recouping from injuries sustained during the shooting.
“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,” James said in the statement. “Thankfully, we are family, and family looks after one another. We came a long way from Stonewall. Bullies aren’t invincible.”
“I want to support everyone who has known the pain and loss that have been all too common these past few years,” he continued. “My thoughts are with those we lost on Nov. 19, and those who are still recovering from their injuries.”
James also closed his official statement with words of hope and empowerment for young people today, who face the reality of being in a mass shooting in schools and social settings.
“To the youth I say be brave,” he said. “Your family is out there. You are loved and valued. So when you come out of the closet, come out swinging.”
James, along with U.S. Army veteran Richard Fierro and another unnamed club-goer who reportedly stomped on the shooter’s face with high heels, were able to subdue the shooter. James reportedly pushed a rifle out of the shooter’s reach as Fierro struck the assailant with a handgun they brought to the bar.
While James, Fierro, and the other person’s actions are brave and admirable, they shouldn’t have been needed in the first place. Mass shootings are a uniquely American tragedy, and we need to continue pushing politicians to write stronger gun safety and control laws to put an end to preventable violence and loss of life.