When a shooter opened fire at Club Q in Colorado Springs November 19, killing five people and injuring at least 18, U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas James stepped up, charging the attacker -- along with decorated Army veteran Richard Fierro -- and while James pushed a rifle out of the accused shooter's reach, Fierro beat the attacker with his own handgun. The pair worked together to subdue the suspect and prevent further harm; Fierro told James to repeatedly kick the shooter.
"That was hard to do, it's not a humane act," Fierro told The New York Times, speaking of James. "But I asked him to help me, and he helped me."
James, who was injured during the shooting and ensuing struggle, has issued a statement from his hospital bed via a Centura Health spokesman.
"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," he said.
"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 November 19 and those who are still recovering from their injuries," he continued. "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."
James is currently recovering from injuries at Centura Penrose Hospital, the same hospital where several victims were treated after the shooting. The nature of his injuries has not been made public.
"Thomas James was among those injured in the Colorado nightclub shooting on November 19. James is currently in stable condition and we remain hopeful he will make a full recovery," the Navy said in a statement last week. "We ask that all respect his privacy as he continues his recovery."