The Navy has confirmed that a sailor was among the 18 injured in the Colorado nightclub shooting on Nov. 19 that also left five dead. Local officials and police said the sailor played a key role in stopping the shooting.
Information Systems Technician Petty Officer Second Class Thomas James was among those injured, the Navy said in a statement released Tuesday but added that “James is currently in stable condition and we remain hopeful he will make a full recovery.”
News of James’ injuries comes as many have begun to praise the heroic actions of another member of the crowd who served in the military — Army veteran Richard Fierro — who has been credited with heroically rushing the shooter, causing him to drop the AR-style rifle he was holding.
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The Denver Post reported that, after Fierro had the shooter on the ground, he took the man’s handgun from him and proceeded to beat the shooter with it. Meanwhile, James kicked the shooter in the head.
The Colorado Springs Police Department called both service members “heroes who intervened inside of Club Q” in a series of Tweets, while the mayor of Colorado Springs praised the pair “because their actions saved lives.”
James enlisted in the Navy in 2011, according to records released by the service, and served aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, as well as at posts in England and Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, before being stationed in Colorado Springs.
James was qualified as an enlisted aviation warfare specialist and enlisted surface warfare specialist. James’ service included being awarded the Joint Service Achievement Medal twice, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and a Good Conduct Medal, in addition to several other awards.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that President Joe Biden called Fierro and his wife at a press briefing Tuesday and offered his condolences as well as his thanks “for his bravery and … for his just instinct to act … saving maybe dozens of lives.”
Jean-Pierre noted that “this attack also comes amid a rise in violent rhetoric and threats against the LGBTQI+ people across the country.”
Colorado Springs is home to several military facilities and has a strong Army and Air Force presence. A spokeswoman told Military.com the Department of the Air Force is unaware at this time of any airmen or Guardians injured in the shooting.
The Navy said that it is asking everyone to “respect [James’] privacy as he continues his recovery.”
— Thomas Novelly contributed to this report
— Konstantin Toropin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.
Related: Army Veteran Who Pistol-Whipped Club Q Shooter with His Own Gun Says He ‘Tried to Finish Him’
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