November 21, 2022 Mass shooting in Colorado Springs

By Mike Hayes, Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 9:59 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022
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9:55 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

"I'm not a hero": Man who tackled gunman says his focus was protecting his family

Richard Fierro.
Richard Fierro. (CNN)

Richard M. Fierro, one of the men who tackled the gunman in the Colorado Springs Club Q shooting, said it wasn’t about being the hero — it was all about protecting his family.

“I’m protecting my family… and I did what I had to do. And honestly, I don’t care about myself in that moment, I care about everybody that was around me and I care especially about my family," he said in an interview on AC 360 on Monday night.

His daughter's boyfriend Raymond Vance was killed in the shooting and two friends are still in hospital.

"I'm not a hero. I'm just a guy that wanted to protect his kids and wife, and I still didn't get to protect her boyfriend," he added.

Fierro, a former Army major, said he was at the club with family and friends to watch his daughter's friend, her junior prom date, perform in a drag show.

As soon as Fierro heard gunfire, he said he pulled his friend to the ground.

“At that point, I saw the shooter,” he said. “I had no idea what was going on.”

Fierro said he saw the gunman start moving toward the patio area, and noticed he was wearing a body armor vest – and he knew there was a handle on the vest. So he ran across the room and grabbed the handle and pulled the suspect to the ground, he said.

At this point, the suspect's rifle flew out of his hands. Fierro said he started hitting him with a pistol. "I just started whaling away with his gun," he said.

Fierro served in the US Army for nearly 15 years and had four combat deployments.

“My daughter and wife should have never experienced combat in Colorado Springs, and everybody in that building experienced combat that night, not to their own accord, but because they were forced to," he said.

When police arrived, Fierro said he started first aid on his friend who was shot in the chest, arms and legs. He said her husband was nearby, reaching for her.

“I put her hand in his hand so that they could be together. I didn’t know if they were going to make it,” he said.

“There’s five people that didn’t go home,” Fierro added emotionally, saying that he wishes he could have protected everyone in the nightclub.

8:08 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Shooting victim Raymond Green Vance was at Club Q for the first time, family says

From CNN’s David Williams

(Colorado Springs Police Department)
(Colorado Springs Police Department)

Raymond Green Vance, 22, one of five people killed in Saturday’s shooting at Club Q, was visiting the club for the first time with his longtime girlfriend, her parents, and some of her parents’ friends, his family said in a statement provided to CNN.

They were celebrating a birthday, according to the statement.

“Unfortunately, he never left the club. Raymond was the victim of a man who unleashed terror on innocent people out with family and friends,” the statement said. “His own family and friends are completely devastated by the sudden loss of a son, grandson, brother, nephew, and cousin loved by so many.”

The statement said Vance was supportive of the LGBTQ community. According to the statement Raymond "himself is not a member of it."

Vance had just gotten a new job at a Colorado Springs FedEx distribution center.

“He couldn't wait to save enough money to get his own apartment, but in the meantime he lived with his mother and younger brother who adored him,” the statement said.

The family members were not named in the statement.

“Raymond was a kind, selfless young adult with his entire life ahead of him. His closest friend describes him as gifted, one-of-a-kind, and willing to go out of his way to help anyone,” the statement said.

He spent most of his spare time with his girlfriend, who he’d been with since middle school. He also played video games and hoped to turn that into an online career, the statement added.

8:11 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

"She was just an amazing mother." Shooting victim Ashley Paugh is mourned by her husband

From CNN’s Sara Weisfeldt and David Williams

 

Ashley Paugh.
Ashley Paugh. (Colorado Springs Police Department)

The husband of Colorado Springs shooting victim Ashley Paugh said she was his high school sweetheart and described her as a loving wife and an amazing mother.

 Ashley Paugh was one of five people killed in Saturday’s shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub. 

“We’re absolutely devastated by the loss of Ashley. She meant everything to this family, and we can’t even begin to understand what it will mean to not have her in our lives,” Kurt Paugh said in a statement.

She worked with Kids Crossing, a nonprofit that helps find loving homes for foster children, her husband wrote.

"She would do anything for the kids – traveling all over southeastern Colorado, from Pueblo and Colorado Springs to Fremont County and the Colorado border, working to raise awareness and encourage individuals and families to become foster parents to children in our community," he said.

 Paugh said his wife also worked with the LGBTQ community to find foster placements for children.

 “During the holidays, Ashley organized giving trees and delivered them to businesses so that foster kids could have brighter holidays – and in fact, she was setting up giving trees even last week, canvassing Pueblo and Colorado Springs,” he wrote.

He said she loved being outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fishing and riding four-wheelers.

“Ashley was a loving wife – she was my high school sweetheart – and she was just an amazing mother. Her daughter was her whole world, and she was so proud of Ryleigh, who is a championship swimmer. She loved her dad, her sister, and her family; Ashley was a loving aunt, with many nieces and nephews who are devastated by her loss,” he wrote.

7:57 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Shooting victim Kelly Loving "was loving and caring and sweet," sister says

From CNN’s David Williams

(Colorado Springs Police Department)
(Colorado Springs Police Department)

Tiffany Loving, the sister of Club Q shooting victim Kelly Loving, said that her sister was a "wonderful person."

Kelly Loving was one of five people killed in the Saturday night shooting at the LGBTQ nightclub. Her sister released a brief statement Monday.

“My condolences go out to all the families who lost someone in this tragic event, and to everyone struggling to be accepted in this world. My sister was a good person. She was loving and caring and sweet. Everyone loved her. Kelly was a wonderful person," Tiffany Loving said in the statement to CNN.  
6:45 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Army veteran says he went into combat mode when tackling gunman in Club Q shooting, NY Times reports 

From CNN’s Raja Razek

FBI agents stand outside Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 21.
FBI agents stand outside Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 21. (Kevin Mohatt/Reuters)

A 45-year-old man who served in the army for nearly 15 years and had four combat deployments as an Army officer told the New York Times he "went into combat mode" when tackling the gunman in the Colorado Springs Club Q shooting.

Richard M. Fierro said he was at a table in Club Q with his wife, daughter and friends Saturday, watching a drag show when the gunfire erupted.

"I don't know exactly what I did, I just went into combat mode," Fierro told the Times. "I just know I have to kill this guy before he kills us."

According to the Times, Fierro said that as bullets sprayed, he saw the gunman move toward a door leading to a patio.                                                                                 

Fierro said he raced across the room and grabbed the gunman by a handle on the back of his body armor, pulled him to the floor and jumped on him, the report said.

"Was he shooting at the time? Was he about to shoot? I don't know," Fierro said in the interview. "I just knew I had to take him down."

"I grabbed the gun out of his hand and just started hitting him in the head, over and over," Fierro added.

CNN has reached out to Fierro for comment.

According to the Times, Fierro's daughter and wife are at home and still recovering from injuries.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said he had the opportunity to talk to Fierro. The mayor said the veteran had “saved a lot of lives" by tackling the suspect.

“I have never encountered a person who had engaged in such heroic actions that was so humble about it. He simply said to me, 'I was trying to protect my family,'” Suthers said at a news conference Monday.
6:22 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Officials still investigating motive and possibility of bias-motivated charges in nightclub shooting

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Though the motive in the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs is still under investigation, Michael Allen, the district attorney for El Paso County, said officials are looking into whether it was a bias-motivated crime.

In Colorado, hate crimes are referred to as "bias-motivated" crimes, Allen told CNN earlier Monday.

"It's important that if we have enough evidence to support bias-motivated crimes, to charge that. It's important for this community," Allen said, speaking at a news conference.

He said bias-motivated charges are Class 4 felonies — meaning that it’s not likely they would contribute to a longer sentence.

“We're obviously talking about five people that were killed. Those are going to be the top-end charges in this case without a doubt," he said. "Those charges will likely carry life in prison without parole, whereas the Class 4 felonies are probation-eligible offenses."

Although it wouldn’t elevate the sentence, Allen said adding bias-motivated charges where applicable is important to show the community that the city does not tolerate that kind of hate.

Asked if the suspect could face federal hate crime charges, US Attorney for the District of Colorado Cole Finegan said his office is still reviewing information.

6:36 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Nightclub shooting suspect expected to appear virtually in court in the next few days, DA says

From CNN's Elise Hammond and Raja Razek

Michael Allen, th
Michael Allen, th (KMGH)

Michael Allen, the district attorney for El Paso County, said the suspect in the nightclub shooting is expected to appear virtually in court from jail after he is released from the hospital.

The man accused of killing five people and injuring more than a dozen others over the weekend is currently in the hospital, according to law enforcement. Once he is released, there will be a first appearance scheduled with the court, Allen said at a news conference Monday. He said that is expected to happen in the next few days.

"We will advise the suspect at that time of the arrest charges and his bond status. He is being held without bond so he will not have the opportunity to be bonded out," Allen said.

The district attorney said formal charges have not yet been filed against the suspect. The next step in a case like this is for an arrest warrant to be written up supported by a probable cause affidavit – and that has to be submitted to a judge for approval of the arrest.

Allen also noted that while those documents will be initially sealed, they will be available to the public "at some point in the coming days."

"Once the case is transferred to us for formal charging, we will review the evidence and then determine final charges. It is also very customary that final charges may be different than what is in the arrest affidavit," Allen said.

“Typically, there will be more charges in a case like this when we do formal charging than what is listed in the arrest affidavit," he said.

Within a few days of the first appearance "is when we will return to the courtroom and file the formal charges in the court," according to Allen.

5:54 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

5 victims of Colorado Springs shooting named as police chief honors them with a moment of silence

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez holds a moment of silence during the press conference on Monday.
Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez holds a moment of silence during the press conference on Monday. (KMGH)

Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez offered a moment of silence to honor the five people killed during a shooting at a nightclub over the weekend.

He said society loses often track of the victims when focusing on the suspect of the crime.

At a news conference Monday, the police chief asked that "everyone in the community honor each victim."

Vasquez released the following names of those killed.

The information was also provided by the Colorado Springs Police Department on Twitter:

  • Raymond Green Vance (he/him)
  • Kelly Loving (she/her)
  • Daniel Aston (he/him)
  • Derrick Rump (he/him)
  • Ashley Paugh (she/ her)

After the moment of silence for victims, Vasquez said the department continues its investigation to seek justice for the victims.

5:40 p.m. ET, November 21, 2022

Video appears to show Colorado Springs shooting suspect ranting about police during 2021 standoff

From CNN's Nelli Black and Casey Tolan 

New video obtained by CNN appears to show Anderson Lee Aldrich ranting about police during a standoff in 2021.
New video obtained by CNN appears to show Anderson Lee Aldrich ranting about police during a standoff in 2021. (From Facebook)

New video obtained by CNN appears to show the Colorado Springs shooting suspect ranting about police last year during a standoff. 

Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was arrested after allegedly making a bomb threat in June 2021, live-streamed the video from his mother’s Facebook page, according to his mother’s former landlord. 

Leslie Bowman, who owns the home where the standoff took place and where Aldrich’s mother had been renting a room, said she screen-recorded the video, which has since been deleted, and provided it to CNN. 

The brief video shows a few seconds of an agitated young man — identified by Bowman as Aldrich — wearing a helmet and some type of body armor, and challenging law enforcement to breach the house where he had holed up. 

The video does not actually show any officers outside the house and it’s not clear from the video whether Aldrich had any weapons in the house.  

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release at the time that Aldrich had threatened to harm his mother “with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition,” and that several nearby homes had been evacuated. 

Aldrich later surrendered to sheriff’s deputies, which was seen in other video footage previously reported by CNN. The sheriff’s office said no explosives were found in the house. 

It is not immediately clear how the bomb threat case was resolved, but the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the district attorney’s office said no formal charges were pursued in the case. The district attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment from CNN. 

Attempts by CNN to reach Aldrich’s mother for comment were unsuccessful.