Richard Fierro, an Army veteran, was one of two people who tackled and subdued the gunman inside a gay nightclub Saturday night in Colorado Springs, ending a rampage that killed at least five people and injured 19 others, his wife said Monday.
In an interview at her home Monday afternoon, Jessica Fierro described her husband’s heroic efforts to prevent greater tragedy.
“My husband took the gunman down,” the wife said of the suspect who had an AR-15 style rifle and wore a flak vest. “My husband knocked the guns out of his hands and took the pistol and literally started hitting the guy with it.”
Fierro said her daughter’s boyfriend was among the deceased.
The family was at Club Q to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
“We were having a great time, we were all on the dance floor and from one minute to the next you just heard gunshots and everyone was separated and just started running,” said Jessica Fierro, 45, who was at the club with her husband, Richard Fierro, their daughter and their two best friends. “It was absolute chaos.”
Richard Fierro, 45, an Army veteran who completed four tours between Iraq and Afghanistan, yelled for someone to call the police, she said.
At the time, another man who had fallen to the ground, got up and started kicking the gunman. Richard Fierro injured his hands, knees and ankles as he apprehended the shooter, his wife said.
As gunfire erupted, Jessica made her way to a patio area, she said.
“I was zoned, I was dazed, I was scared,” she said. But her husband remained inside.
Jessica Fierro said her two best friends were shot and her daughter broke her knee as she ran for cover.
Authorities have said at least two patrons stopped the gunman, who police say opened fire with an AR-15 style rifle before midnight.
The 22-year-old suspected gunman, who authorities said was subdued by at least two people inside the club, was arrested by police who arrived within minutes, authorities said Sunday. He was charged Monday with five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of bias-motivated crime-causing bodily injury by state prosecutors.
Joe Aldaz, a family friend, had not heard of Richard Fierro’s actions as of Monday afternoon, but he said such bravery would come naturally for him.
“I know Rich Fierro,” Aldaz said. “That would not surprise me that he would jump to that type of heroism.”
Aldaz is the president of the Colorado Springs Hispanic Chamber and said Jessica and Richard Fierro are members. The couple own Atrevida Beer Co., which opened in January 2018.
Richard Fierro earned his MBA from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs last year.
According to a biography on the university’s website, he graduated as the AROTC Distinguished Military Grad from San Diego State University in 1999 and was commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer. He spent the next 15 years in the Army serving in various positions including Platoon Leader, Battery Commander, Battalion Operations Officer, Brigade Plans Officer and Corps Counter Fire Officer.
He said he enrolled in the MBA program at the advice of a supervisor. He said his undergraduate degree did not match his 15 years of Army operations and he “needed to wed this experience with an education to round out my professional experience to make myself more marketable.”
Additionally, the bio states, he pursued the graduate degree to learn about operating a small business, something he said neither he nor his wife were experienced in before launching their brewery.
“I am consistently looking for ways to increase my education and skill sets to make me a better leader,” he wrote. “I believe education and training provide you the perspective needed to apply better decision making in your daily work or small business activities.”
Deon J. Hampton reported from Colorado Springs, Janelle Griffith and Melissa Chan reported from New York.
This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.