Club Q hero Thomas James says he wishes he could protect everyone

Thomas James, one of the two men identified by police as disarming the gunman at the Club Q shooting, has released a brief statement.

James, who is an Information Systems Technician Second Class in the US Navy, is currently in hospital recovering from undisclosed injuries he sustained in the attack. Via Centura Penrose Hospital he released a statement to the media.

Alongside former army major Rich Fierro, James was credited by Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vsquez as one of two people who disarmed 22-year-old alleged assailant Anderson Lee Aldrich. Aldrich allegedly entered the Club Q gay nightclub where they began shooting people with a long rifle. They were also reportedly carrying a handgun. Aldrich was tackled by Fierro, who then beat them with the handgun.

James reportedly kept Alrich’s rifle out of their reach after they was tackled to the ground by Fierro. In an interview with the New York Times Fiero also mentioned that he had been assisted by a person who he described as a drag performer, but other witnesses have subsequently identified this third person as a transgender woman. Their identity is remains unknown.

Aldrich alleged killed five people and injured 18 others.

“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,” James said in a statement. “Thankfully, we are a family, and family looks after one another.”

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

James said it was important that young LGBTIQA+ people continued to be proud of who they were and visible.

“Your family is out there. You are loved and valued,” James said. “So, when you come out of the closet, come out swinging.” he said.

Aldrich appeared in court via a video link last week. They appeared in a wheelchair, with a bruised face and struggled to speak. They have been remanded in custody. Their lawyers have asked that the court identify them as a non-binary person who uses they/them pronouns.

OIP Staff, image: US Navy 

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