The Century Aurora 16 lights are seen Sept. 10 near Sable Boulevard and Centrepoint Drive. Theater owners announced recently they will reopen the theater by early next year. (Aaron Cole/Staff)

AURORA | The bright neon lights of the Century Aurora 16 theater have shined on Aurora every night since a gunman there opened fire July 20, killing 12 and wounding 58.

For some, the lights — which are visible for several blocks around the theater — are an unwelcome reminder about what happened there.

The Century Aurora 16 lights are seen Sept. 10 near Sable Boulevard and Centrepoint Drive. Weeks after the shooting that killed 12 and wounded 58 more, the lights still go on every night. (Aaron Cole/Staff)

But whether the lights will ever be turned off is a question without an answer, even six weeks after the shootings.

“Why can’t they turn the light out, why do we have to see that light?” Deidra Brooks, whose son, Jarell, was shot inside the theater, said last month.

Brooks said the families have been told the lights will stay on unless all of the victims’ families agree that they should be shut down.

A spokesman for Cinemark, which owns the theater, has not returned several calls in recent days about the lights.

The theater has been closed and fenced off since the shooting, but the brightly colored “Century” sign as well as other lights have remained on.

Brooks isn’t the only person frustrated by the sign. In several emails, Aurora residents have said they would like to see the sign shut off.

Still, Aurora City Councilwoman Marsha Berzins, whose council ward includes the theater, said she hasn’t heard any complaints.

“Nope, not one,” she said.

Berzins, who said she supports tearing the theater down and replacing it with a new one, said constituents have called her about what they would like to see happen to the theater in the long run, but none have called specifically about the lights.

Mayor Steve Hogan said he, too, hadn’t heard complaints about the lights. But, Hogan said, he imagines area residents are split about what to do with the lights just as they are about what to do with the theater in general.

“Some people are going to say, ‘If you shut off the lights, the shooter won,’” he said.

6 replies on “Weeks after shooting, theater lights still on every night”

  1. The bright lights, seem to me, are a symbol of hope, an indication that the community may once again have an opportunity to go to this theater, that this theater will be part of the recovery process, that the memory for the victims is shared by the community, that no matter how bad things were or seem to be there is a future; thank goodness for the theater lights.

  2. I think the lights should stay on. For the survivors and to remember the lives lost. We can’t let this sick individual win. I love seeing the lights everyday…reminds me that our community is strong!

  3. I dont live in Aurora but I did lose a loved on in that town 3yrs ago. My opinion about the lights on the theatre should stay on because of the memorials from the community in the area. A light should always be shinning on them whether its the sun or the bright neon lights they need to always be seen.

    1. If we kill the lights and the building, the shooter will just go to jail. The lights and the building are not responsible for the shooting. Somehow this seems backwards.

  4. I agree. This is like the widow sitting in the window crying. We need to build community, not grief. Start having block parties, build basketball courts that local adults monitor; look each other in the eye in greeting when you leave your homes. Send out welcome vibes to newcomers from everywhere, since we have the gift in Aurora of being a destination for people looking for a safe haven. We can stop being afraid to tell kids who are 6 years old to stop cussing. We can show our kids how to behave by being kind to them and each other. None of this is easy, but it is simple

  5. I meant I agree with the lights going off. Maybe they can do that when something positive is done to change things.

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