People across North America are throwing support behind and buying up merchandise — including T-shirts and headbands — from a brewery owned by the family of a Colorado Springs army veteran who was one of two people who took down a shooter at a club last Saturday.
Richard and Jessica Fierro were celebrating a birthday at Club Q in Colorado Springs with their family and friends when a shooter attacked patrons enjoying a drag show.
The Fierros own Atrevida Beer Co., a brewery celebrated for its beer and as Colorado's first Latin-owned brewery, with a female head brewer.
The company catchphrase, "diversity on tap," was emblazoned on merchandise long before the family ended up at the centre of a shooting that left five dead and dozens injured at Club Q.
On Wednesday night, people flocked to the front door of the business despite the fact it was closed.
Others are screenshotting T-shirts that read, "Atrevida Beer Co. Mucho Mucho Amor," and urging others to buy out the brewery's online merch to show love for Richard Fierro, a 15-year army vet who sprung into action to save lives.
'It was terrifying'
Fierro is one of two people police are crediting with saving lives by subduing the alleged 22-year-old shooter, who police say was armed with multiple firearms, including an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle, at Club Q on Saturday night.
What was supposed to be a joyous family night turned "horrific."
"It was absolute havoc. It was terrifying," Jessica Fierro wrote on Atrevida's social media pages.
The Fierros' daughter, Kassy, lost her 22-year-old boyfriend, Raymond Green Vance, who was fatally shot.
"[Rich] was covered in blood. Everyone is recovering, thankfully. No one. NO ONE should ever have to witness bloodshed like this," reads a post on the Atrevida website.
Hundreds of people have left hearts and supportive comments on images of the Fierro family decked out as superheroes in happier times. Fay Coyte wrote: "When your family — and community — needed him, your Richard really was Superman. I am sad that this is how I came to know him, and Atrevida — through tragedy. But just reading about your business story, and faith in family, somehow eases the sting of it."
On Monday, Fierro — a combat veteran — deflected praise.
He said that when he realized a shooter was spraying bullets inside the club, his instincts from military training immediately kicked in. Moving toward the attacker, Fierro grasped the body armour and yanked the shooter down while yelling at another patron, Thomas James, to move the rifle out of reach.
James is a U.S. navy information systems technician stationed at the Defence Intelligence Agency base in Colorado Springs, according to a biography released by the navy. The navy statement released Tuesday said James is in stable condition, without elaborating on the nature of his wounds.
As the shooter was pinned under a barrage of punches from Fierro and kicks to the head from James, the shooter tried to reach for a pistol. Fierro grabbed it and used it as a bludgeon.
During the chaos, Fierro says he told a clubgoer who was running by to kick the shooter, and she jammed a high-heel into the shooter's face. Later on Twitter, Club Q drag performer Del Lusional posted that the patron who helped Fierro was a transgender woman.
"I love them," Fierro said of the city's LGBTQ community. "I have nothing but love."
Fierro served three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan as a field artillery officer and left the army as a major in 2013, an army spokesperson told The Associated Press.
Fierro said he signed up with the military, accepting he would have to deal with violence.
"Nobody in that club asked to do this," he said, but everyone "is going to have to live with it now."
Fierro and James pinned the shooter down until officers arrived minutes later.
"I have never encountered a person who had engaged in such heroic actions who was so humble about it," Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said of Fierro on Monday.
"He simply said to me, 'I was trying to protect my family."'
Fierro said he hoped to face the attacker in court. The alleged shooter — 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich — appeared briefly in El Paso County Court by video on Wednesday and was ordered held without bail. Aldrich, whose attorneys say is non-binary, may face murder and hate crime charges.