As reported this week by AP, victims of the Aurora Colorado theater shooting are returning to court hoping to hold the theater accountable for the bloody rampage that occurred. Victims say Century 16 Theater should have had adequate security in place, with armed guards, and more. James Holmes slipped into the opening of the film “The Dark Knight Rises” through an emergency exit, and opened fire – killing 12.
In Denver, the civil trail is starting in State Court, where the 28 victims’
families argue Cinemark knew the blockbuster would attract a large crowd and should have had security personnel patrolling; which may have allowed for Holmes to be detected and stopped prior to entering the theater. The lawsuit also states theater employees failed to check doors, lacked CCTV Surveillance, and more.
Though the theater had weekend security, they had none for the premier, which occurred on a Thursday night. “We believe if these precautions had been in place, the shooting would have been deterred and prevented,” said Marc Brown, Attorney representing the victims’ families. Kevin Taylor, Attorney for Century, declined to comment regarding the lawsuit. The trial is the first to come from several civil lawsuits stemming from the attack, in which Holmes was also convicted of injuring 70 people. At least 40 other victims have signed onto a similar suit against Cinemark that’s slated for trial in federal court in July.
In the civil case, plaintiff’s attorneys twice scheduled depositions of Holmes, hoping to interview him about his plans for the shooting and why he targeted the theater. But the depositions were canceled because Holmes was transferred to different prisons, first to another location within Colorado and then to an out-of-state prison that officials have repeatedly refused to reveal.
Without Holmes’ testimony, attorneys will rely on the spiral notebook in which he detailed elaborate plans for the killings, including lists of weapons to buy and diagrams showing which auditoriums in the theater complex would allow for the most casualties. Holmes marked exit doors, evaluated his own visibility and even located the best parking spots and determined how quickly police would arrive.
“He scoped out the theater and took photos on at least three occasions,” Bern said. “He picked this location because of lack of security.”
Holmes entered the theater and sat in the front by himself. About 15 minutes into the film, he left through an emergency exit that he had propped open using tablecloth clips. Holmes soon re-entered, stood before the crowd of more than 400, threw gas canisters and opened fire with a shotgun, rifle and pistol.