Security increased at theatres following Colo. shootings, but many moviegoers undeterred | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions

9.7°C

Security increased at theatres following Colo. shootings, but many moviegoers undeterred

Police officers arrive at the Century 16 theatre east of the Aurora Mall in Aurora, Colo., on Friday, July 20, 2012. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into the crowded movie theater killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
July 20, 2012 - 12:47 PM

Some theatres and police around the U.S. stepped up security at daytime showings of the new Batman movie Friday after the massacre in Colorado, and while many fans were undeterred by the tragedy, others were nervous about going to see the film.

Two police officers were stationed outside the AMC theatre in New York's Times Square, which had showings of the "The Dark Knight Rises" beginning every 20 minutes. Later in the day, the officers gave way to a police cruiser that was parked out front with an officer in it.

Jimmy Baker, 40, of Harlem had been waiting since about 9:45 a.m. for the 12:50 p.m. show. "I just felt bad for the people that had to be traumatized by this entire event," he said. But "I didn't feel like it had any kind of effect on me. ... I'm just here to enjoy a good movie."

Stephanie Suriel, 21, of Brooklyn, waiting outside the same theatre, said her mother was slightly concerned about her going to see the film. But "I'm not nervous at all because I really want to see that movie."

Still, just to be safe, she said: "I'm going to sit in the back."

At the Regal Gallery Place multiplex in downtown Washington, moviegoers trickled into an 11 a.m. showing. Theater employees searched patrons' bags and purses while taking their tickets.

"I'm believing that it's not related so much to the movie," Steve Glaude, a 57-year-old federal employee, said of the shooting. "The movie may have been a trigger. It may not have been. We don't know. I don't think it was hero or villain emulation."

In Aurora, Colo., a gunman wearing a gas mask set off a gas canister and fired into a crowded theatre in the Denver suburb at a midnight opening of the movie, killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said.

Christine Cooley, who works for the University of Florida at a campus installation near Tampa, Fla., said she and her 15-year-old daughter were stunned to wake up to the news. Cooley said her daughter has sworn off going to the movies.

"It's tainted the movie completely for her," Cooley said. "It's summertime. That's a big movie time for teenagers. That movie is off the list now. Movie theatres in general are off her summer to-do list because of that."

Cooley said she tried to explain that the shooting was random and not an indication of security at theatres in general, "but I can see where she's coming from. Why put yourself in harm's way?"

At the United Artists Riverview Stadium 17 in Philadelphia, a steady stream of people headed in for morning showings of "The Dark Knight Rises." Staff members said that there was extra security, but that that was normal for big movies — and not because of the shooting in Colorado.

Neal Mates, 38, a professed "film geek," said: "Shootings can happen anywhere. ... I think it's silly to blame the film."

Executives of St. Louis-based Wehrenberg Theatres had discussions before dawn with managers of its 15 cinemas in Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota and Iowa, spokeswoman Kelly Hoskins said. She said the company feels comfortable with security already in place and plans no changes. She said she hopes other theatre chains don't panic and cancel showings.

"That just wouldn't be good," she said. "It's like a terrorist attack — you don't want them to think we're all scared."

The National Association of Theater Owners said in a statement that its members are "working closely with local law enforcement agencies and reviewing security procedures."

___

Associated Press writers Alex Katz and Christy Lemire in New York City, Ben Nuckols in Washington, Patrick Walters in Philadelphia and Jim Suhr in St. Louis contributed to this report.

News from © The Associated Press, 2012
The Associated Press

  • Popular vernon News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile