Navy officer who helped stop Club Q shooter ‘wanted to save the family I found’

Thomas James in a hospital bed

Thomas James, a Navy officer injured trying to thwart the shooter during the Club Q attack in Colorado Springs, has said he was trying to “save the family [he] found”.

Petty officer 2nd class Thomas James was at Club Q on the night suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich allegedly opened fire, killing five people and injuring many more. 

Those killed have been named as Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh and Raymond Green Vance.

James spoke out about the shooting in a statement released via Centura Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, where he is recovering from his injuries. 

During the attack, the Navy officer managed to push a rifle out of reach, while the shooter was disarmed by Army vet Richard Fierro and a trans woman who stomped on them with her high heels.

James said: “I 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.

“Thankfully, we are family, and family looks after one another. We came a long way from Stonewall. Bullies aren’t invincible.

“I want to support everyone who has known the pain and loss that have been all too common these past few years. My thoughts are with those we lost on 19 November, and those who are still recovering from their injuries.

“To the youth, I say, be brave. Your family is out there. You are loved and valued. So when you come out of the closet, come out swinging.”

Flowers, signs, balloons and more are left at a makeshift memorial near Club Q on November 20, 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colorado after the LGBTQ+ venue was the scene of a mass shooting

Tributes to the victims of the Colorado Springs shooting. (Getty)

Since the shooting on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, multiple survivors have spoken out with messages of hope and defiance.

One of those injured, Ed Sanders, described himself as a “survivor” after the traumatic experience of being shot in the back and thigh, and losing friends in the shooting.

Sanders, 63, said in a statement this week: “I want to be resilient. I’m a survivor. I’m not going to be taken out by some sick person.”

Aldrich, the 22-year-old suspect, appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday (23 November), when they were denied bail. Their next court appearance has been set for 6 December.