(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — One of the two men credited as heroes for stopping the Colorado Springs gunman as he searched for more victims, has spoken from his hospital bed.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer, Second Class, Thomas James helped U.S. Army veteran Richard Fierro subdue the alleged gunman, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, after Aldrich stormed LGBTQ nightclub Club Q in Colorado Springs on Nov. 19. The mass shooting claimed the lives of five people and injured more than a dozen, according to law enforcement.
After Fierro confronted Aldrich, yanking him from behind and causing him to fall, James aided in fighting with Aldrich to make sure he could not reach the firearms he had dropped, Fierro told ABC News last week.
“At that moment, me, Thomas, … we’re all trying to keep everybody alive,” Fierro said. “… everybody was a hero that day.”
As of Sunday, James was still recovering from his injures at the Centura Penrose Hospital in stable condition.
In a statement released from the hospital, James said during the chaos of the shooting he “simply wanted to save the family I found.”
“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,” he said.
James continued, saying that he and his community have come “a long way from Stonewall,” the New York City bar that was the site of the 1969 riots that launched the Gay Rights Movement.
“Bullies aren’t invincible,” James said.
James said his thoughts are with those who were killed and injured at Club Q, adding that “pain and loss have been all too common these past few years.”
“To the youth I say be brave,” he said. “Your family is out there. You are loved and valued. So when you come out of the closet, come out swinging.”
One of the club’s regulars who was injured in the shooting, Ed Sanders, told ABC News from his hospital bed last week that he looks forward to returning to the club after he recovers, describing it as a place he called home for a long time.
Another club regular who was near the DJ booth when he heard the gunshots and subsequent screams, told ABC News that Club Q is a “safe space” for the LGBTQ community.
“Coming here, this is one of the first places that I felt accepted to be who I am,” he said. “…It’s supposed to be a safe space and the community shouldn’t have to go through something like this.”
ABC News’ Vera Drymon contributed to this report.
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