CINCINNATI | Movie fans in Ohio streamed into theaters Friday to see the latest installment in the Batman movie series, undeterred by a shooting at a midnight showing of the film in Colorado that left 12 dead and nearly 60 injured, including an Ohio teenager and a former Ohioan.
A neuroscience graduate student in a gas mask hurled a gas canister and then opened fire in the crowded Denver-area theater early Friday where moviegoers were gathered to see “The Dark Knight Rises,” authorities said. The Ohio teen, who was shot in the arm, and the former Ohio woman, who was shot in the leg, are both expected to recover, family members said.
Movie-goers who headed to an early Friday afternoon viewing at an AMC multiplex theater in Columbus said they’d heard of the Colorado shootings, but it wasn’t anything that would keep them away.
“I don’t want to live my life in fear and not go out to the movies and see something that I really want to see because something like that happens,” Mark Riggleman, 22, an Ohio State University philosophy major, said. “If everyone did that all the time, then no one would go out and do anything, and that’s not a world I want to live in.”
Theater security and the shootings were on the mind of Tuan Odom, 47, as he headed to see the first of 14 Friday screenings of the movie at the Tower City enclosed shopping mall in downtown Cleveland. But Odom said he felt better about the theater because of recent mall security upgrades.
Odom said he briefly considered skipping the movie in view of the shootings, but rejected the idea.
“It’s life. It’s like, you can’t stop your life from going because there are things people like to do” for entertainment, he said.
Meanwhile, other Ohioans were dealing with the injuries to their family members.
Dave Hankins of Forest in northwest Ohio said his 18-year-old son, Gage Hankins, was wounded in the forearm and had shrapnel around his wrist, but was expected to recover soon, The Courier in Findlay and WKTN-Radio in Kenton reported.
“Right now, he’s sitting up, eating, watching the national news,” he told the newspaper.
Gage Hankins was in Colorado to attend a convention and had gone to the screening with friends.
Hankins told WKTN that he and his wife received a call about 12:40 a.m. from a friend in Colorado telling them their son had been shot.
“At that time we didn’t know the extent of the shooting or the injury,” Hankins said.
He did not immediately return calls Friday from The Associated Press seeking additional comment.
Samantha Yowler was in fair condition at a hospital with her leg wound, said her father, Scott Massie, fire chief in St. Paris in western Ohio. Yowler moved to Colorado in November, Massie told WHIO-TV in Dayton and the Springfield News-Sun.
Messages were left for Massie at the fire department. His home telephone number was not immediately available.
Yowler’s boyfriend, Matt McQuinn, who had moved to Colorado from Springfield, Ohio, also was at the theater, but his condition and whereabouts were not immediately known Friday.
McQuinn’s stepmother, Stacie McQuinn, said her stepson’s mother was flying to Colorado.
“We just have to sit here and wait,” Stacie McQuinn told the newspaper.
Messages left Friday for McQuinn at her home by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.