The Navy has honored a sailor stationed in Colorado Springs for his bravery last November in helping subdue the Club Q shooter within minutes of the attack.
Information Technician 2nd Class Thomas James was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, the highest non-combat decoration the Navy can award for heroism.
During a ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 5, Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, director of Plans, Policy and Strategy for North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command, presented the medal on behalf of the Navy.
"I myself can only hope that I would channel the courage in our Navy core values like he did,” Robertson said. “But, we don’t have to wait for crisis to apply core values. We can and should apply them every day. That’s what I am taking away from the lessons you taught us all.”
In a press release describing his actions, the Navy said James confronted the assailant without consideration for his personal safety, grabbing the barrel of the weapon and sustaining a gunshot wound to his abdomen and burns to his hands.
"The only thing I thought at the time was I needed to buy [my friends] some time," James said. "And I was able to do that."
James also gave up his seat in an ambulance so another injured person could be cared for and transported to a local hospital.
"I heard them mention that someone was critical and adrenaline is quite a thing, so I didn't really feel it that much," James said, speaking of his injuries. "So I offered my gurney up and chose to wait for another one."
Two other people, including a man named Richard Fierro, are also credited with stopping the shooter. Fierro is an Army veteran.
Officials have said they saved countless lives.
Five people were killed and dozens injured during the mass shooting last year. This summer, the shooter was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences, plus more than 2,000 additional years in prison.
Southern Colorado is changing a lot these days. We can help you keep up. Sign up for the KRCC Weekly Digest here and get the stories that matter to Southern Colorado, delivered straight to your inbox.