Las Vegas Sun

June 2, 2015

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Colorado shooting hits close to home for Sun reporter

Richard N. Velotta

Richard N. Velotta

AURORA, Colo. — My wife and I are not huge movie fans, but we’ll occasionally take in a film, especially when we’re on vacation.

Today, we’re counting our blessings that we didn’t go to last night’s midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” where a lone gunman shot and killed 12 people in the Century 16 Theater complex at the Aurora Mall.

My wife and I were at that very theater the afternoon before the tragedy, watching Woody Allen’s new comedy, “To Rome with Love.”

The theater complex is less than a mile from my mother’s Aurora home and it’s the place where she usually goes to the movies.

This morning, my wife and I were recollecting the film we had seen the day before and pondering Woody Allen’s obsession with death.

But when we went to the kitchen for breakfast and turned on the television, images of death were unfolding before our eyes.

At first, I thought it was a national broadcast from some other place, because these kinds of tragedies aren’t supposed to happen where you grew up. But as the pictures of the theater complex and the parking lot where we had been less than 24 hours earlier flashed on the TV screen, we knew this was something that was a far more personal experience.

Police helicopters are buzzing overhead this morning and we hear occasional sirens. There’s a nearby police substation, one of the reasons why officers reached the theater so quickly after the shootings.

Local television commentators inevitably are making comparisons to the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999 in another Denver suburb, another tragedy for which I felt a personal connection because it was in Colorado and my son was in high school at the time.

The stories are unfolding about the victims, the suspect, the witnesses.

It’s all too close for comfort and we’ll be forever changed when we come home from this place where my wife and I grew up.

And I’m sure we’ll never feel the same way about going to a movie at the Century 16.

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