Colorado Continues Healing After Shooting

Aurora theater remodeled and given a new name after shooting killed 12

 

 
 
 

DAN ELLIOTT and THOMAS PEIPERT, Associated Press | | Saturday, July 20, 2013

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Colorado Theater Shooting

As many as a dozen killed and 50 wounded at Aurora movie theater.
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Audio: Aurora Theater Shooting Police Dispatch

Police audio after gunman opens fire in theater.
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Audio: Colorado Theater Shooting

Fire and EMS audio from Aurora mass shooting.
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AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Some recited the names of the dead. Some are doing good deeds for their neighbors. And some will practice yoga, take a nature walk or simply talk.

Coloradans looked for ways to heal as they mark the anniversary of the Aurora movie theater massacre with a city-sponsored "Day of Remembrance."

It was one year ago Saturday that a gunman opened fire early into a packed midnight screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises." The rampage lasted less than two minutes but left deep wounds that still ache today in Aurora, Colorado's third-largest city which spreads out across the rolling plains on Denver's eastern side.

JEMS Colorado Theater Shooting Coverage

Twelve people died, including a 6-year-old girl. Seventy were hurt, some of them paralyzed. Countless others inside the theater and out bear the invisible wounds of emotional trauma.

"There's no script for something like this," said Nancy Sheffield, who helped plan the Day of Remembrance. What the city wants, she said, is "the ultimate way to remember the victims, the families, the survivors, in a healing way and going forward for our community."

Democratic state Rep. Rhonda Fields, whose district includes the renamed Cinemark theater, said she is still numb and in mourning.

"It hasn't fully mended after a year," she said.

Fields said she isn't surprised by that. Her son, Javad Marshall-Fields, and his fiancee were shot to death in 2005 to keep Marshall-Fields from testifying in a murder trial.

"I'm all too familiar to losing someone to gun violence," Fields said. "I know someone's missing that used to be part of the unit."

At about noon on Friday, Fields and other volunteers began reading the names of the more than 2,500 people who have been died in gun-related violence in the U.S. since the Newtown, Conn., massacre in December. The last volunteer to read names was Stephen Barton, who was wounded last year in the theater shooting.

Immediately after Barton was finished, the group of about 40 volunteers held a moment of silence at 12:38 a.m. Saturday, the time the shooting began one year earlier. The silence lasted for 82 seconds to represent the 12 people killed and the 70 who were wounded in the theater.

The ceremony under temporary flood lights at Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora was sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, not the city of Aurora. A gun rights group, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, contended that the ceremony wrongly politicized a tragedy to promote gun control, so it staged a counter-rally nearby.

Saturday starts with an early-morning ceremony on the lawn outside Aurora's city hall with music, a poem and remarks from Mayor Steve Hogan and a pastor.

For the rest of the day, residents were encouraged to volunteer for community projects ranging from painting at a church to tending a community garden, from sorting food bank donations to donating blood.

Spiritual and mental health counselors will be available, along with art therapy projects, yoga, a nature walk and poetry readings.

Anniversary observances of tragedies can help victims heal, said Charles Figley, a professor at Tulane University in New Orleans and director of the university's Traumatology Institute.

"They bring people together and they recognize that they're not alone, that they are part of something bigger than they are, and that's protection. It's a sense of safety," he said.

People who endure a trauma commonly face five questions, Figley said: What happened; why did it happen; why did I act the way I did at the time, and since; what if it happens again?

"So when you have a gathering, they're able to more completely answer those questions for themselves, and communities can answer those questions for themselves," Figley said.

Saturday's events were well chosen, Fields said.

"Basically the focus is on the victims and their loss and the way to get the community together around a common purpose," she said

___

Follow Dan Elliott at http://twitter.com/DanElliottAP

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Audio: Aurora Theater Shooting Police Dispatch



Audio: Colorado Theater Shooting

Colorado Theater Shooting

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Colorado Theater Shooting

Police are pictured outside of a Century 16 movie theatre where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting during the showing of a movie at the in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)


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Colorado Theater Shooting

Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates talks to media at Aurora Mall where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)


Gallery 1

Colorado Theater Shooting

Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates talks to media at Aurora Mall where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)


Gallery 1

Colorado Theater Shooting

Police are pictured outside of a Century 16 movie theatre where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting during the showing of a movie at the in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)


Gallery 1

Colorado Theater Shooting

Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates talks to media at the Aurora Mall where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)


Gallery 1

Colorado Theater Shooting

An Aurora Police Department detective takes a witness statement following a shooting Friday morning July 20, 2012. Aurora Police responded to the Century 16 movie theatre early Friday morning where police confirm at least 14 people are dead and 50 others injured. (AP Photo/Karl Gehring, The Denver Post)


Gallery 1

Colorado Theater Shooting

Police officers took witness statements outside a move theatre in Aurora, Colorado following an early morning shooting. Aurora Police responded to the Century 16 movie theatre early Friday morning, July 20, 2012. Scanner traffic indicates that dozens of people were hurt in an incident inside the theatre. (AP Photo/Karl Gehring/The Denver Post)



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