Colo. theater reopens, months after mass shooting

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 18, 2013 at 2:58 am •  Published: January 18, 2013
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"Some wanted this theater to reopen. Some didn't. Certainly both answers are correct," Hickenlooper said.

The governor credited Cinemark CEO Tim Warner for flying to Colorado after hearing about the shooting to see what he could do.

Warner told attendees that the caring response to the tragedy by first responders, the community and the world was a testament that good triumphs over evil.

Samuel Aquila, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Denver, concluded the ceremony with a prayer for the dead and the living.

"All of us in some small way suffered in your suffering," Aquila told the crowd. "The way of peace means rejecting the violence of that night."

Cinemark planned to offer free movies at the multiplex to the public over the weekend, then permanently reopen it Jan. 25. Throughout the evening, police officers and security guards turned away people who drove up asking how they could get tickets to the upcoming free shows.

The decision to reopen even divided at least one victim's family.

Tom Sullivan, whose son, Alex, was killed, attended the event.

"The community wants the theater back and by God, it's back," Sullivan said. "Nobody is going to stop us from living our lives the way that we lived our lives before. This is where I live."

Alex's widow, Cassandra Sullivan, joined the boycott. So did Tom Teves, whose own son, Alex, also was killed.

"They can do whatever they want. I think it was pretty callous," Teves said.

Adam Witt, who was grazed in the shoulder during the attack, was expecting flashbacks when he walked into the theater Thursday night. He and his wife Tiffany were pleasantly surprised at how unfamiliar the renovated space seemed.

"It was strange but oddly reassuring," said Tiffany Witt, 24. "The way it looks different -- it gives us the feeling that we're moving on from what happened."

Marcus Weaver struggled to keep his emotions under control as he walked through the multiplex lobby. On July 20 he was shot in the arm and his friend Rebecca Wingo was killed. Thursday night he had to stop and pray before entering the theater.

He was glad he did. Inside he saw the woman with whom he had shared a terrifying ambulance ride on July 20, and another woman from his church whom he hadn't even realized had been in the auditorium that night.

"There was so much love in that room, it conquered all the ill feeling I had," said Weaver, 42, who wore a shirt bearing Wingo's name and image. "The shooter, he can't win. This community is way stronger."

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Associated Press writers Nicholas Riccardi and Colleen Slevin contributed to this report.

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