The tragic loss of life at Club Q was held to a minimum thanks to a UCCS alum who took down and beat the gunman until police arrived at the deadly scene last Saturday night.
U.S. Army veteran and UCCS graduate Richard Fierro was having a peaceful night with his family that quickly turned violent when a shooter opened fire at Club Q, prompting his military instincts to kick in to protect his loved ones.
In an interview with The New York Times, Fierro said he was at Club Q with his wife, daughter and a group of friends celebrating a birthday when he noticed a man making his way to the club’s patio with a military-grade rifle that Fierro recognized from his time in Iraq.
When he heard gunfire, Fierro confronted the shooter, later identified as Anderson Lee Aldrich, pulled him to the ground by his body armor and pinned him down. While on the ground, and with his rifle out of reach, the suspect pulled out a pistol. This was what Fierro grabbed and beat him with until the police arrived.
Fierro told The New York Times that after he yelled for help, other clubgoers jumped in. One individual moved the suspect’s weapons away while another helped keep the suspect down by stomping on his head until the police arrived.
Raymond Green Vance, 22, was killed in the Saturday shooting; he was the boyfriend of Fierro’s daughter. The other victims have been named as Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, and Club Q bartenders Daniel Aston and Derrick Rump.
Fierro said that he does not know how everything worked out the way it did, but he attributes a little of the outcome to his time in the army. “In combat, most of the time nothing happens, but it’s that mad minute, that mad minute, and you are tested in that minute. It becomes habit,” he said.
Fierro graduated from the UCCS Master of Business Administration program in 2021 and runs a family brewery, Atrevida Beer Co., on Nevada Avenue, according to the UCCS website.
The suspect has been hospitalized and is in police custody facing felony charges. According to CPR, the suspect was also involved in a 2021 bomb threat incident and charged on five felony counts, including kidnapping.
Chris Valentine, assistant vice chancellor for marketing and communications, said Aldrich is not and has never been a student at UCCS.
Photo by Kate Marlett.