Some Aurora victims' families outraged over theater reopening
(CBS News) A movie multiplex in Aurora, Colo., reopens Thursday night six months after a gunman murdered 12 people and wounded 58 others during a midnight show.
Thursday night's reopening will include a ceremony attended by Colorado's governor. The company that owns the theater also invited survivors and families of victims, and got a very mixed reaction.
Some who were caught in the gunfire inside Aurora's Century Theater in the early morning hours of July, 20, 2012, are still recovering. And now, outraged victims and their families say the theater's owners are rubbing salt into wounds that have yet to heal.
Jessica Watts, whose cousin Jonathan Blunk died in the shooting, is angry at the theater and its plan to not only re-open, but invite survivors to a special screening. She said, "Cinemark has never offered their condolences to our family."
Nine families sent a letter saying an invitation to the event was "disgusting and offensive" and called the theater, the "killing field of our children."
Watts said, "they want to use us as a stepping stones to boost ticket sales for the grand reopening to the public."
This is not the first time a community has debated what to do with a building associated with horrific violence. Many wanted to tear down the school at Columbine. Others argued that would signify the student shooters had won. In the end, a memorial overlooking the school was built, and the library, the site of most of the killings, was converted to an atrium. And in Tucson, a small memorial was constructed outside the grocery store where Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot, and six were killed.
For some, it's important that the Aurora theater remain open.
Pierce O'Farrill has shotgun pellets in his chest, but he wants to go and face his memories. He said, "I might even start shaking and break down as I go into that theater. I don't know what to expect. But in my heart it's important to go back to that place."
"It's important for me for my healing to go back to that place. I was very close to death. For me, I just think it'll be therapeutic."
It's taken six months for the Aurora theater to re-open, but sometimes these decisions happen much more quickly. A public meeting is expected to draw hundreds in Newtown, Conn., on Friday to help determine the fate of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
For Barry Petersen's full report, watch the video above.
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