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National News

Sunday, 22 July, 2012 1:10 PM

SoCal moviegoers request extra security after deadly theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.

Photo credit: University of Colorado

Aurora, Colo. shooting suspect James Holmes graduated from UC Riverside, attended the University of Colorado and dropped out.


by Jason Rzucidlo



BANNING, Calif. -- Twelve people were killed and more than 70 were injured. That's the latest out of the Century 16 Theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. The shooting suspect was identified as 24-year-old James Holmes. He's a graduate of UC Riverside and his parents live in suburban San Diego. It all happened during a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" early on Friday morning.

"I'm very sad because of the loss," said Diana Glenn, a moviegoer from Yucaipa, Calif., who is originally from Aurora, Colo. "I also think hopefully it will bring to the forefront people with mental illness. I think this is a young man who had a lot of problems that were not addressed. I just can't even imagine how his parents are reacting to it. I think the whole thing is sad in a lot of ways. I'm not so sure that we can blame the movie, but I think we need to be careful of what we're consumers of. Just what I heard of him becoming in-character of 'The Joker' lends me to believe there are people that cannot handle certain things. We also need to be careful of where our kids are. We lived in south Aurora from 1995 to 1997. It is a very great community, a very nice community. Just regular people are there -- a mix dynamic of different types of people. When we moved away is when the Columbine thing happened."

Her son Jacob Glenn added: "I have a lot of the same feelings about this as my mom. I just think that a guy that would do something like that just for the heck of it and take the name of 'The Joker' just has some mental illness and is probably an inspiration for people to not do something like this. I think I will watch out for certain things. I usually don't go alone to the movies and recommend that people don't go alone to the movies. If you can't get help, then you basically don't have help."

Now, moviegoers across southern California are asking for theaters to do more to stay safe. In addition, they are keeping their guard up for anyone who decides to copy what Holmes did.

"Of course, we always have security here at the theater taking care of our patrons," said Michael Frydrych, owner of the Fox Cineplex Theatres in Banning, Calif. "Today, we did have extra. We're watching people that are coming in, not allowing people to wear costumes and masks at the door. It won't be a policy that we're going to have forever. Both Banning and Beaumont Police have been here each show just to investigate the auditoriums, check exits, check the lines and keep popping back and forth. Everything is running smooth. Families are enjoying their movies. They're coming down still. We're just sad to hear what happened in Colorado today."

The Aurora, Colo. movie theater incident is being called the worst one-day shooting in America's history.

"It's very upsetting, I think about the families, the children that were hurt," said Joey Brown of Beaumont, Calif. "My heart grieves with the families. The loss and those who have been injured. First off, how did he get inside the theater the way he did? Thoughts come to my head, 'Why would he do what we did?' I would ask questions especially about the safety since I am a father. I would probably ask management about that. I do think that there's got to be more better than it was. You can't just walk in with a bag of who knows what. I am going to the movies with caution tonight. I know people who like to follow in footsteps with things like this. I am not really worried about it that much. You can't really expect something like that."

Witnesses say the suspect threw several smoke bombs into the crowd before he fired more than 40 rounds at the audience.

"It's horrible, I can't believe that somebody did that," said Rachel Warner, a moviegoer from Beaumont, Calif. "I don't think that you can get too paranoid because there was one person who did something crazy somewhere far away. It's unfortunate. I hope it doesn't happen here. You can't just change the way that you live because of somebody doing that. I think that the [theater] manager who was here had the right idea. They've got the police coming every so often. Like he said, there is a 'no-mask' policy. They at least will be able to identify somebody if they do something crazy. I'm here now and I heard about it today."

The ironic part of the story is before "The Dark Knight Rises" was shown, the trailer for the new Warner Bros. film "The Gangster Squad" was shown. In it, a group of mobsters opened fire on a movie theater audience.

"It's a terrible incident that happened," said Vanessa Medina of Yucaipa, Calif. "I think that people like that shouldn't deserve to die like that especially just going to hang out with family and friends. Stuff like that shouldn't happen. If I get shot, I get shot. I hope it doesn't happen. It's so unexpecting. They should definitely have security out front because that's something I noticed there's not really surveillance here. Other than that, I'm not really sure what else there is for something like that. I'll still go to the movies. Like I said, if something like that happens, it happens. You've got to be cautious now. There are things that happen unexpectedly. It's good to keep your guard up."

Although Holmes was living in Colorado, police say he had Tennessee license plates on his vehicle.

"It's pretty crazy, who would come shoot up a theater with a bunch of children in it?" said Jaz Smith, a moviegoer from Banning, Calif. "Imagine what it did to those kids, how traumatized they are. They won't be able to go to another movie without freaking out. It's Colorado, I'm in California, I'll take my chances. I don't think anyone should really too much freak out, but I do appreciate all of the cops being here and what not. That's a good idea just in case someone does want to be crazy. Yes, of course, I love the movies. That's what I'm saying, this is not Colorado. Just because one person was crazy, don't blame the whole world."

Some moviegoers believe that theaters should start using metal detectors and begin doing patdowns of each customer. It's better to be safe, than sorry.

Related Story: Complete coverage of Friday morning's mass movie theater shooting in Aurora, CO



Map data ©2012 Google, INEGI

Holmes' parents still reside in the suburban San Diego community of Rancho Peñasquitos.



A long line outside the Fox Cineplex Theatres in Banning, Calif.



"The Dark Knight Rises" movie poster



Moviegoers in line to see the 10:15 showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."



From left to right: Diana Dusky of Banning, Calif., Jaz Smith of Banning, Calif. and Viri Moreno of Beaumont, Calif.




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Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved.
Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Photos, Videos, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer.