Colorado shooting victim ‘wanted to save family I found’ – Boston News, Weather, Sports

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A U.S. Marine member who was injured during a shootout at a Colorado gay nightclub last weekend while helping prevent further damage said Sunday that he was “just the family that I found.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas James made his first public comments about the shooting in a statement issued by Centura Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, where James is recovering from undisclosed injuries sustained during the attack.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said James was one of two men who helped stop the gunman who entered Club Q late on November 19 with multiple firearms, including a semi-automatic rifle and five killed people. At least 17 others were injured when a drag queen’s birthday party turned into a massacre.

James reportedly shoved a rifle out of the gunman’s reach while Army veteran Rich Fierro repeatedly hit the gunman with a pistol, which the gunman brought into the bar, officials said.

“If I had my way, I would protect everyone I could from the mindless acts of hate in the world, but I’m only one person,” James said in a statement. “Fortunately we are a family and the family takes care of each other.”

Club Q patrons have said the bar gave them a community they felt celebrated in, but that the shooting shook their sense of security.

The suspect who was shot – Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22 – was visibly injured on his first court appearance on Wednesday. He was held without bail. No formal charges have been filed and Aldrich has not spoken out about the shooting.

“I want to support anyone who knows the pain and loss that has been all too common over the past few years,” James said. “My thoughts are with those we lost on November 19 and those who are still recovering from their injuries.”

Colorado Governor Jared Polis, the first openly gay man to be elected governor in the United States, appeared on two Sunday morning television programs and said he would support increasing licensing requirements for semi-automatic weapons, improving psychic services Support health and the better use of red flag laws that allow courts to remove guns from people who are suffering from mental health crises and may pose a danger to themselves and others. He also urged to tone down anti-LGBTQ political rhetoric.

“We know that when people say inflammatory things, someone who isn’t balanced can hear those things and think what they’re doing is heroic when it’s actually a horrific crime killing innocent people,” Polis told the press on NBC’s ‘Meet.’

James ended the statement by urging young members of the LGBTQ community to be brave.

“Your family is out there. You are loved and valued,” James said. “So when you come out of the closet, come out swinging.”


This story has been edited to correct a quote by James where he said “My thoughts are with those we lost on November 19th,” not “My thoughts are with those who lost on November 19th .”

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed, or redistributed.)

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Sarah Y. Kim

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