COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Some of the 17 people shot in the rampage at an LGBTQ nightclub are recovering from their wounds and sharing harrowing stories of a near-death experience in what they had viewed as a safe space.
Barrett Hudson was shot seven times as he tried to flee. He called his dad and prepared to die. On Monday he took his first steps since he collapsed at Club Q early Sunday morning.
“When they told me I had seven bullet holes in my back, I was like, ‘Well, peace …,'” he said in the post. “I cannot believe I’m alive. I should not be alive.”
Jerecho Loveall 30, scrambled to safety amid the chaos. Once outside, he realized he was bleeding. A bullet had entered through the shin and exited through the side of his leg. He went to a hospital, where physicians recommended leaving the wound open, so that the leg naturally pushes out the shrapnel.
“It was a place you can go and be accepted, without judgment, without drama,” said Loveall, who is in a polyamorous relationship. “For some of us, it was a second home.”
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►The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is awarding its Presidential Medal and $5,000 to an Army veteran who helped stop the assault. “Rich Fierro … leaped into the breach to place his own body between (loved ones) and those enemies who would do us harm,” the group’s president, Domingo Garcia, said Tuesday.
►Mourners held candles and listened to speakers during the Club Q Remembrance and Radicalization vigil in Colorado Springs on Monday night.
►Thirteen victims remained hospitalized, officials said. Five people had been treated and released. The suspected shooter, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, also remained hospitalized.
Suspect threatened to blow up home last year
Footage obtained by local media outlets including The Gazette in Colorado Springs appears to show Aldrich threatening to blow up a home “to holy hell” in a confrontation with police last year. On the video, shot during the alleged June 2021 bomb threat incident called in by Aldrich’s mother, Aldrich shows himself walking through the home wearing body armor and a helmet.
“This is your boy. I’ve got the (expletive) outside. Look at that. They got a bead on me. You see that right there? (Expletives) got their (expletive) rifles out,” he said. “If they breach, I’m gonna (expletive) blow it to holy hell. So, uh, go ahead and come on in, boys.”
Aldrich ultimately surrendered; kidnapping and menacing charges were later dropped and the case was sealed.
Army major who led effort to disarm gunman acted on instinct
The decorated former U.S. Army Major who helped disarm the suspect says he acted on instinct. Rich Fierro, 45, said his only thoughts were to save his family. His wife and daughter survived; his daughter’s boyfriend was fatally shot.
“The guy came in shooting. I smelled the cordite, I saw the flash. I dove, shoved my buddy down … when I tried to get up, I saw the ACUs, the armor plates,” he said. “I grabbed him by the back of his cheap armor thing and pulled him down.”
The other man who tackled the shooter was later identified as Thomas James.
“I love them,” Fierro said of the city’s LGBTQ community. “I have nothing but love.”
– Justin Reutter
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Two club bartenders, a mom among those mourned
Details of those who did not survive the carnage are emerging. The victims included Raymond Green Vance, 22, whose girlfriend’s father was credited with overpowering the shooter and halting the massacre; Ashley Paugh, 35, a mother who helped find homes for foster children; Daniel Aston, 28, who had worked at the club as a a bartender and entertainer; Kelly Loving, 40, whose sister described her as “caring and sweet”; and Derrick Rump, 38, another club bartender who was known for his quick wit and adopting his friends as his family.
– Rick Jervis
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