Navy petty officer who helped disarm Colorado nightclub shooter speaks out for first time

Nov 27, 2022, 2:58 PM

(CNN) — Thomas James, one of the two men who helped disarm a shooter during last week’s mass shooting inside Club Q in Colorado Springs, issued his first statement about his role in the attack on Sunday.

“I simply wanted to save the family I found,” James, a US Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class, said in a statement. “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. 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. My thoughts are with those we lost on Nov. 19, and those who are still recovering from their injuries.”

“To the youth I say be brave. Your family is out 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 an update from the hospital. The hospital said he 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 Richard Fierro, an Army veteran, helped take down a shooter firing at patrons at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado on November 19. Five people were killed and at least 19 were wounded in the attack, according to police.

The shooter was tackled to the ground by Fierro, who had been 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 subdued the shooter with the other firearm they had, a handgun.

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

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

“I’m not a hero,” Fierro added. “Everyone else in that room was a hero with us and everybody’s got a hero story to just try and survive.”


President praises Fierro for his actions


Fierro’s daughter’s boyfriend, 22-year-old Raymond Green Vance, has been identified by authorities as among those killed in the shooting. The suspected shooter is being held in custody without bond and faces five preliminary counts of first-degree murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime — elsewhere called a hate crime — causing bodily injury, according to court documents.

President Joe Biden called Fierro and his wife, Jessica, Tuesday, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said, explaining the president wanted to thank Fierro for his “courageous actions” and “instinct to act” in thwarting the attack and saving lives.

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

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

Biden told reporters Thursday he would again attempt to work with Congress to “get rid of assault weapons.” When asked about the national conversation around firearms, Fierro said he has respect for such weapons from his training as a soldier and wants to see a different mentality regardless of where the gun debate turns next.

“I would just like people to stop having so much anger. It shouldn’t be something this tense. There’s no reason for somebody to go to a dance club or a show or anything and have to worry about being shot,” he said.

For Friday’s reopening of the Atrevida Beer Company in Colorado Springs — of which he and his wife are owners — Fierro said he was most heartened by those in attendance.

“It was more beautiful as a person to see the variance, the difference, the diversity, the inclusion of everyone there. Everybody in the same room just having some joy and enjoying a beer.”

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

FILE - Bonneville International was recognized on Tuesday for its fundraising efforts during and af...

Mark Jones

Bonneville International recognized for its ‘Maui Strong’ fundraising efforts

Bonneville International has been recognized with the National Association of Broadcasters Service to America Award for its "Maui Strong" fundraising campaign, as announced Tuesday.

5 hours ago

FILE - MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell talks to reporters at the Republican National Committe...

Steve Karnowski, Associated Press

Supreme Court won’t hear Mike Lindell’s challenge over FBI seizure of cellphone

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a petition by MyPillow founder and election denier Mike Lindell to consider his challenge to the legality of the FBI’s seizure of his cellphone at a Minnesota restaurant drive-through.

6 hours ago

A United Airlines jetliner heads in for a landing at Denver International Airport after a winter st...

Chris Isidore, CNN

Boeing’s problems just cost United Airlines $200 million

United Airlines was pushed into the red by Boeing and its ongoing quality issues, the airline said Tuesday.

7 hours ago

Mamma Mia! ABBA is getting the band back

Andrew Dalton, AP Entertainment Writer

ABBA, Blondie, and the Notorious B.I.G. enter the National Recording Registry

Albums from ABBA, Blondie and the Notorious B.I.G. are entering the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress.

9 hours ago

In this handout photo released by Roscosmos Space Agency Press Service, a view of the International...

Jackie Wattles, CNN

A piece of space station garbage hit a house in Florida, NASA confirms

A piece of garbage jettisoned from the International Space Station unexpectedly survived a fiery reentry from orbit last month and pierced the roof of a home in Florida, according to NASA.

9 hours ago

Paris Hilton is pictured at a news conference....

Tran Nguyễn, Associated Press

Paris Hilton backs California bill to bring more transparency to youth treatment facilities

Hotel heiress and media personality Paris Hilton is backing California legislation that aims to bring more transparency to discipline used at facilities for troubled teens.

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Navy petty officer who helped disarm Colorado nightclub shooter speaks out for first time