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Entries in Movie Theater (11)

Sunday
Jan132013

San Diego Police Shoot Armed Suspect in Movie Theater

ABC News(SAN DIEGO, Calif.) -- San Diego police shot and critically wounded a gunman who was hiding in a movie theater.

Police stormed into a screening of "Les Miserables" at the Reading Cinemas Carmel Mountain around 3:50 p.m. Saturday and confronted 20-year-old Tom Billodeaux of Escondido, Calif.

The suspect was initially cooperative and put his hands up, however, police said he then dropped his hand and appeared to reach for the gun on his lap. An officer fired, hitting Billodeaux in the arm and chest.

No one else was wounded in the shooting. Billodeaux was transported to Palomar Medical Center.

The incident began as a domestic dispute between Billodeaux and his girlfriend in a parking lot across the street from the theater.

The 20-year-old suspect left a suicide note at home and confronted his 19-year-old girlfriend who was in her car, taking a lunch break from work around 2 p.m., the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

When the woman tried to return to her job, Billodeaux grabbed the woman from behind and threatened witnesses who tried to intervene with a gun, police said.

Billodeaux then fled the scene, running across the street and toward the movie theater, which is attached to a busy shopping plaza.

Police secured the scene, going from store to store and searching outgoing cars from the parking lot for the suspect, as a police helicopter kept watch over the entire area.

Officers then shifted the search to the movie theater and worked to evacuate staff and customers from each theater until they located the suspect, the Union-Tribune reported.

"We were in the movie theater, and the lights turned on and… two cops came through with their guns," a witness told ABC News' San Diego affiliate KGTV. "Apparently the person they were looking for was in the theater and then gunshots started."

The theater remained closed while police conducted their investigation. There was no word on when it will reopen.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan022013

Aurora Shooting Victims’ Families Outraged by Invitation to Re-Opening

Thomas Cooper/Getty Images(AURORA, Colo.) -- Families of many of the victims killed in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater massacre are calling an invitation to attend “a special evening of remembrance” when the multiplex re-opens later this month “disgusting” and “offensive.”

In a letter to the theater owner, Cinemark USA Inc., family members of nine of the murdered victims say the invitation to attend the event was ill-timed, at best. They are calling for a boycott of the theater.

“During the holiday we didn’t think anyone or anything could make our grief worse but you, Cinemark, have managed to do just that by sending us an invitation two days after Christmas inviting us to attend the re-opening of your theater in Aurora where our loved ones were massacred,” the letter says.

On July 20, James Holmes allegedly opened fire inside a crowded midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Twelve people were killed and 58 were wounded. Holmes has not yet entered a plea.

An official with Plano, Texas-based Cinemark USA Inc. told ABC News Wednesday that the company has no comment on the letter from the families.

“I was appalled at their lack of sensitivity. It’s very upsetting,” Mary Ellen Hansen told ABC News. Hansen is the great-aunt of six-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, who was killed in the attack. Hansen’s niece, Ashley Moser — Veronica’s mother — was paralyzed in the shooting and suffered a miscarriage.

“It’s been a horrible holiday season, and this letter came on my birthday, Dec. 27, which made it even worse,” said Tom Teves, who lost his son Alex in the July 20 shooting.

Family members of the victims say they received the invitation through the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance to attend the Jan. 17 re-opening, followed by the screening of a movie.  The film was not specified.

“Our family members will never be on this earth with us again and a movie ticket and some token words from people who didn’t care enough to reach out to us, nor respond when we reached out to them to talk, is appalling,” the families wrote. They said they “will be using every social media tool at our disposal to ask the other victims to ask their friends and family to honor us by boycotting the killing field of our children.”

Several lawsuits have already been filed against Cinemark by families of the victims killed as well as some theatergoers wounded that night, citing inadequate security at the theater.

A preliminary hearing in Holmes’ case is scheduled for Monday.

HERE IS THE FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER:


To the Management of Cinemark USA, Inc.:

During the holiday we didn’t think anyone or anything could make our grief worse but you, Cinemark, have managed to do just that by sending us an invitation two days after Christmas inviting us to attend the re-opening of your theater in Aurora where our loved ones were massacred. Thanks for making what is a very difficult holiday season that much more difficult. Timing is everything and yours is awful.

You (Cinemark) has shown, and continues to show, ZERO compassion to the families of the victims whose loved ones were killed in their theater. You, Cinemark, have never once reached out to the families to offer condolences.

This disgusting offer that you’d “like to invite you and a guest to a special evening of remembrance on Thursday, January 17 at 5 PM" followed by the showing of a movie and then telling us to be sure “to reserve our tickets" is wholly offensive to the memory of our loved ones.

Our family members will never be on this earth with us again and a movie ticket and some token words from people who didn’t care enough to reach out to us, nor respond when we reached out to them to talk, is appalling.

You (Cinemark) refused our repeated invitations to speak parent to parent with no lawyers involved. Instead, we get invited to attend a “special evening of remembrance” at the very theater where our loved ones lay dead on the floor for over 15 hours. We would give anything to wipe the carnage of that night out of our minds’ eye. Thank you for reminding us how your quest for profits has blinded your leadership and made you so callous as to be oblivious to our mental anguish.

We, the families, recognize your thinly veiled publicity ploy for what it is: A great opportunity for you to distance yourselves and divert public scrutiny from your culpability in this massacre.

After reading our response to your ridiculously offensive invitation, you now know why we will not be attending your re-opening celebration and will be using every social media tool at our disposal to ask the other victims to ask their friends and family to honor us by boycotting the killing field of our children.

The Families of the Aurora Cinemark Theatre Massacre

Thomas Teves (father of Alex Teves)

Caren Teves (mother of Alex Teves)

Sandy Phillips (mother of Jessica Ghawi)

Lonnie Phillips (stepfather of Jessica Ghawi)

Jerri Jackson (mother of Matt McQuinn)

Greg Medek (father of Micayla Medek)

Rena Medek (mother of Micayla Medek)

Anita Busch (cousin of Greg and Micayla Medek)

Robert Wingo, (father of Rebecca Ann Wingo’s two children)

Scott Larimer (father of John Larimer)

Kathleen Larimer (mother of John Larimer)

Jessica Watts (cousin of Jonathan Blunk)

Robert Sullivan (grandfather of Veronica Moser-Sullivan)

Sue Sullivan (grandmother of Veronica Moser-Sullivan)

Cassandra Sullivan (widow of Alex Sullivan)

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep242012

Colorado Shooting: Aurora Movie Theater Could Re-Open by New Year

Thomas Cooper/Getty Images(AURORA, Colo.) -- The site of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history could re-open as soon as the New Year.

The Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., has been shut down since July 20, when a gunman opened fire during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 people and leaving 58 wounded.  

In August, the City of Aurora launched an online survey asking what should be done about the theater.  The majority of people who responded said they supported re-opening the theater.  Those results were passed along to Cinemark, the owner of the theater, with a letter from Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan.

“We believe that we are hearing, and indeed have heard for some time, a collective wish and desire for the theater to re-open,” Hogan said.  He added that he had consulted with victims, victims' advocates and community members about the decision.

Hogan asked for special provisions, including victim and survivor visitation, memorials and a possible change to the exterior appearance of the building to be considered.

Tim Warner, CEO of Cinemark, responded, saying the company would work with the city to determine the best way to re-open the theater.

“We pledge to reconfigure the space and make the theater better than ever,” he said.  “We hope the theater will be ready by the beginning of the New Year.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug022012

Romney Meets With Aurora Shooting Victim

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(GOLDEN, Colo.) -- Mitt Romney met with a victim of the Aurora tragedy this morning prior to his event in Golden, a city just over 25 miles from the spot of the deadly movie theater shooting two weeks ago.

Romney told the crowd at a grassroots event there that he met with McKayla Hicks, a survivor who was hit by a bullet in the theater next door to the shooting, calling her a “Colorado girl with a big heart.”

“Across the country people are thinking about Aurora and the tragedy there and the lives that have been lost and the lives changed. We love you and we pray for you.  You’re in our hearts and you’re in our prayers,” Romney said to the crowd.

Romney is the first presidential candidate to hold a campaign event in the state since the shooting on July 20.

President Obama visited with victims of the shooting and their families, as well as local law enforcement officials, on July 22 in Aurora.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul242012

California Man Arrested After Pretending to Have Gun at "Batman" Movie

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office(NORWALK, Calif.) -- Just two days after a movie theater shooting in Colorado left 12 people dead and 58 others injured, police in Norwalk, Calif., say they've arrested a man after he allegedly caused a ruckus during a screening of The Dark Night Rises last Sunday.

Apparently upset that the movie was slow in getting started, Clark Tabor, 52, reportedly held a cellphone in the air and yelled, “Does anyone have a gun?” and “I should go off like in Colorado.”

The allusions to the shooting in Aurora, Colo., which also took place during a screening of the latest Batman movie, were all too real for other spectators, who became concerned that Tabor was carrying a gun in his backpack.

Police were called and Tabor was arrested for making criminal threats.  No weapon was found in his backpack.

Now held on $50,000 bail, Tabor will be in court Tuesday to face arraignment.

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Monday
Jul232012

Colo. Shooting Suspect James Holmes Makes First Court Appearance

RJ Sangosti-Pool/Getty Images(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) -- James Holmes, the gunman accused of opening fire at a Colorado movie theater, appeared dazed in court Monday, seen in public for the first time since he allegedly killed 12 people and wounded another 58 during the showing of the new Batman movie.

Holmes, 24, appeared in court unshaven with a shock of dyed reddish-orange hair, and a prison jumpsuit that appeared to conceal a bulletproof vest.

He said nothing in the courtroom and spent much of the hearing looking down, his head drooping at times. His demeanor ranged from a glassy bug-eye stare to appearing to be nodding off.

Holmes was not arraigned Monday, but was held without bond on a probable cause order for first degree murder. He is expected to return to court next week, where he will be formally charged and enter a plea.

Holmes is being held in solitary confinement and was brought to the courtroom via an underground tunnel.

Five family members, on behalf of three victims, were in the courtroom Monday. Each was assigned a victim-advocate, armed with a box of tissues.

Asked whether Holmes was on medication or drugs at the time of today's hearing, Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers told reporters, "We would have no information about that."

Prosecutors are considering pursuing a death penalty case against Holmes. A decision on charging Holmes with capital murder has not yet been made, but Chambers told reporters Monday she is talking with victims and their family members about it.

Prosecutors have 60 days from the time of arraignment to decide if they will seek the death penalty.

There are currently only three people on Colorado's death row, and two of them were put there by Chambers and her team. The last execution took place in 1997.

Nevertheless, experts expect prosecutors to seek the death penalty when Holmes is formally charged later this week.

The prosecutor said it will likely be at least a year before Holmes could go on trial.

Monday was the first time Holmes has been seen in public since his arrest following a deadly rampage at a midnight screening of the The Dark Knight Rises on Friday.  

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Monday
Jul232012

Obama Meets with Victims, Families in Aurora, Colorado

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(AURORA, Colo.) -- As the nation tries to piece together what drove the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, President Obama traveled to the town of Aurora, Colo., on Sunday to console the wounded and the loved ones of those lost in Friday’s movie theater tragedy.

After more than two and a half hours of private meetings with the distraught victims, he emerged, red-eyed, to quote scripture.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,” the president said in a hallway of University of Colorado Hospital, quoting from Revelation 21:4.  “Neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more.  For the former things have passed away.”

Obama told assembled press of his mindset when he approaches families who have lost their own.

“I come to them not so much as a president, but as a father and husband,” he said.  “And I think that the reason these stories have such an impact on us is because we can all understand what it would be to have somebody we love taken from us.  What it would be like.”

Those who met with the president held conversations “filled with memory,” he said.

“It was an opportunity for families to describe how wonderful their brother, or their son or daughter, was and the lives that they have touched,” he said.

Admitting that words were inadequate in these situations, Obama said he tried to assure them that the world had them in their prayers.

Twelve were killed when a gunman unloaded four weapons’ full of ammunition into a packed midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, the new Batman movie.  Police say the suspect, James Holmes, wounded an additional 58 in the chaos, most of them through gunfire.  The high number of casualties has made it the largest such incident in the country’s record.

[CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE 12 PEOPLE WHO DIED]

Remarking on national attention to “the perpetrator of this evil act,” the president said he was sure his memory would fade away after feeling the “full impact” of justice.

“What will be remembered, are the good people who were impacted by this tragedy,” Obama said.

Five minutes away from the theater, the university hospital received 23 of those injured in the attack.  Ten remained as of the president’s visit, with seven in critical condition.

The president met with some of those remaining patients in the intensive care ward.  Two young women in particular stood out in his mind -- Allie Young, 19, and best friend Stephanie Davies.

Young, according to the president, was seated very closely to the gunman when he threw canisters of smoke or tear gas into the crowd.  Jumping out of her seat to warn the moviegoers, she was instantly shot in the neck, rupturing an artery.

“Apparently as she dropped down to the floor, Stephanie -- 21 years old -- had the presence to drop down with her, pull her out the aisle, place her fingers over where Allie had been wounded, and apply pressure the entire time while the gunman was still shooting,” Obama said.  “Allie told Stephanie she needed to run.”

Davies refused, said the president, and the young woman instead dialed 9-1-1 with her other hand.  She remained with her friend until authorities arrived and then helped move her across two parking lots to awaiting ambulances.

“They represent what’s best of us, and they assure us that out of this darkness a brighter day is going to come,” the president said.

Obama spent about three hours total in Colorado after his plane touched down at Buckley Air Force Base, which itself was affected by the tragedy.  The base lost two service members: airman Staff Sgt. Jesse Childress, 29, and Petty Officer 3rd Class John Larimer, 27.

The president also met with local officials in Aurora, including Gov. John Hickenlooper, Mayor Steve Hogan, and police chief Daniel Oates, who accompanied him to the hospital.

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Monday
Jul232012

Colorado Movie Theater Shooting: Suspect to Appear in Court

University of Colorado Denver/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(AURORA, Colo.) -- Prosecutors are considering pursuing a death penalty case against James Holmes, the alleged gunman accused of a movie theater rampage in Aurora, Colo., last Friday that left 12 dead and 58 wounded.

A decision on charging Holmes, 24, with capital murder has not yet been made, but Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers told reporters on Monday that she is talking with victims and their family members about it.

There are currently only four people on Colorado's death row, and only one person has been executed in that state since 1976.  Nevertheless, experts expect prosecutors to seek the death penalty when Holmes is formally charged later this week.

Holmes is expected in court Monday for a preliminary hearing.

Members of the Aurora community are anxiously awaiting the hearing, which will mark the first time Holmes will been seen in public since his arrest following the deadly rampage at a midnight screening of the The Dark Knight Rises on July 20.

"He has harmed so many people," Police Chief Daniel Oates told ABC News.  "Not only the victims, but all of their extended families.  So I think it will be very hard."

Oates also said that Holmes' parents have remained silent.

"They're not talking to us right now," he said.  "Maybe that will change, but right now they are not talking to us."

The suspect will be brought to court from his jail cell at Arapahoe County Jail through an underground tunnel.

The court appearance is expected to be brief and will start the clock on the 72-hour deadline for the district attorney to file formal charges at an arraignment where Holmes will enter his plea.

The police chief told ABC News that his team is getting significant help from the FBI's behavioral analysts in trying to figure out what could have changed Holmes from a promising young student to a suspect in one of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history.

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Friday
Jul202012

Obama on Colorado Shooting: 'Such Evil Is Senseless'

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages(FORT MYERS, Fla.) -- A somber President Obama paid tribute this morning to the victims of the Colorado shooting, telling supporters the tragedy serves as a reminder that “life is very fragile.”

“Our time here is limited and it is precious. And what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it’s not the trivial things, which so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another,” he said.

The president was in Fort Myers for a previously scheduled campaign stop, but cut the event short to focus on the deadly shooting.

“I am so grateful that all of you are here. I am so moved by your support. But there are going to be other days for politics. This, I think, is a day for prayer and reflection,” he said.

Obama was about to start the second day of his campaign tour through the key battleground state of Florida, when he was informed early this morning of the overnight shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater.

Upon learning the news, the president said he thought of his own two daughters.

"My daughters go to the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater, as so many of our kids do every day? Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter tonight, and I'm sure you will do the same with your children," he said. "But for those parents who may not be so lucky, we have to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation."

The president vowed whoever is responsible “for this heinous crime” would be brought to justice and said the government would take “every step possible” to ensure the safety of all Americans.

“We may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this. Such violence, such evil is senseless. It's beyond reason,” he said.  

“While we will never know fully what causes somebody to take the life of another, we do know what makes life worth living,” he continued. “The people we lost in Aurora loved and they were loved.  They were mothers and fathers; they were husbands and wives; sisters and brothers; sons and daughters, friends and neighbors.  They had hopes for the future and they had dreams that were not yet fulfilled.”

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Friday
Jul202012

Colorado Massacre Victim Narrowly Escaped Toronto Shooting

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(AURORA, Colo.) -- A young woman who was shot and killed while attending the Aurora, Colo., midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises had narrowly escaped a separate shoot-out in a Toronto mall last month.

Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring sportscaster and former hockey blogger for BustedCoverage.com, was killed when John Holmes, 24, burst into the movie theater early Friday morning and methodically began shooting patrons, killing at least 12 and injuring at least 50.

Ghawi, who had moved from San Antonio to Denver, had been tweeting about seeing the new movie just before it began.

Six weeks ago, Ghawi had blogged about nearly escaping the June 2 shoot-out at a Toronto mall that left one dead and seven injured.  Blogging as Jessica Redfield, Ghawi described how she had left the food court just minutes before a shooter gunned down two men.

"I found out after seeing a map of the scene that minutes later a man was standing in the same spot where I just ate, and opened fire in the food court full of people. ... I would've been in the same place where one of the victims was found," Ghawi wrote.

After graduating from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Ghawi had been looking for a job in broadcasting.  After interning with Mike Taylor, a sportscaster at San Antonio's Ticket 760, she got a new job in Denver, primarily covering hockey.

Taylor confirmed to ABC News that Ghawi had been in Toronto's Eaton Center mall at the time of the June 2 shootings.

"She was in Toronto, I think she was just there for vacation.  She was having lunch in a mall in Toronto and there was a shooting in the food court where she was.  She had just left," Taylor said.

On her blog, Ghawi described the harrowing experience of seeing the victims of gun violence.

"I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday.  I saw the terror on bystanders' faces.  I saw the victims of a senseless crime.  I saw lives change.  I was reminded that we don't know when or where our time on Earth will end, when or where we will breathe our last breath.  For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening," she wrote.

Ghawi's brother, Jordan Ghawi, a firefighter in San Antonio, is now en route to Denver.  Ghawi blogged that he'd received a "hysterical and almost unintelligible phone call" from his mother telling him Jessica had been shot while at the midnight show of The Dark Night Rises.

He also blogged that Brent Lowak, who'd accompanied Jessica to the screening, told him he "took two rounds and that [Jessica] took one round followed by an additional round, which appeared to strike her in the head."

Ghawi tweeted: "It appears that my sister has been fatally wounded in a mass shooting at a movie premiere in Denver. Well this could easily be the worst night of my life."

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