Aurora Theater shooting: Victims suing Cinemark

Aurora Theater shooting: Victims suing Cinemark
Posted at 6:44 PM, Apr 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-23 01:18:52-04

The governor has followed through on a promise that could help victims of the Aurora Theater shooting sue the theater company.

Victims of the Aurora Theater Shooting are suing Cinemark in civil court, claiming that the owner of the Century 16 Theater had a lack of security on July 20, 2012. As part of the case, attorneys for the victims tried to interview the shooter, but he was transferred to an undisclosed prison after being attacked in prison.

RELATED: Aurora Theater shooter, security officer attacked in prison

Last week, Denver7 asked Gov. John Hickenlooper if he knew where the shooter was located, so that the attorneys could depose him. He said he hadn't asked, but would find out. 

This week, we asked him again.

"They made it very clear that issues around that individual's safety, just like anybody in our custody, they don't want that publicized," said Hickenlooper.

He said the root of the original question was about helping the attorneys find him to interview him. To that point, he said it could happen.

"I did ask and wanted to make sure that he will be available to be interviewed in terms of that trial," said Hickenlooper. "Yes, he will be available. The plaintiffs' lawyers will be able to sit down and ask him every question they want."

"Well, I think unfortunately, that [it] is a little late," said Marc Bern, one of the attorneys representing the victims suing Cinemark. The trial starts on May 9.

"We had his deposition set up three times, it was canceled three times," said Bern. "The last time, we were told it would be impossible because he was out of state in a, basically, undercover position through the penal system."

Bern said he likely won't need to interview the shooter after all, and that he likely wouldn't have said anything if they had met.

"To be very frank, we didn't expect him to testify," said Bern. "Clearly, a man with 12 life sentences and 3,000-plus years has nothing to lose."

Victims of the shooting are suing Cinemark over "lack of security," on the night of The Dark Knight Rises premiere. The movie was interrupted by gunfire, as 12 people were killed and 70 others injured.

"On Thursday night, the night of the shooting, the night of a blockbuster premiere, when at least 1,000 people were expected at that theater, there was no additional security," said Bern. "Cinemark is responsible for having the knowledge of protecting each and every one, not specifically from this person, but from what might or might not happen."

The theater has maintained that the shooter is solely responsible for the actions that night.

"We are looking for money damages. Nobody goes to jail here. The theater will not be shut down. Nothing of that sort."

The anniversary of the criminal trial will be next week. Evidence from that trial will be used in the civil case. Attorneys plan to use the shooter's infamous notebook. The notebook includes pages detailing where to avoid and where to attack. There's one part that has an 'X' next to the word 'Airport.'

"One of the things that he says is, 'airport security is substantial,'" said Bern.

Then there are pages of handwritten diagrams of different theaters within the Century 16 complex. There are also pros and cons based on exits and escapes.

"This shooter had scoped out the theater on numerous occasions before that night," said Bern. "He knew that there were no door alarms. He knew that there were no guards patrolling. He knew that there was no security that night."

"Should I be going through a metal detector when I go into the movies?" asked Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger.

"Absolutely. What's the big deal? We do it all over today because of 9/11," said Bern. "He was prepared for this night and sadly Cinemark was not."

An email to an attorney representing Cinemark did not get a reply as of Friday night.


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