One of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history hit close to home to many TCU students.
Several TCU students living in the greater Denver area awoke to the news that an armed graduate student had opened fire in a movie theater killing 12 people and injuring more than 50 others.
Zoey Murzyn, a sociology and religion major at TCU, is from Aurora, Colo where the shootings occurred.
Murzyn, who attended high school in Aurora, said she had friends in both the theater next door and the theater where the shooting took place. Murzyn said one of her friends was grazed by shrap metal but is doing okay.
Police arrested James Holmes, a 24-year-old recent drop out of a University of Colorado graduate program. According to reports, a gunman opened fire Friday morning on a full audience during the midnight premiere of “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.” He entered the theater from an emergency exit, fully clad in a bulletproof vest and leggings, a ballistics helmet and a gas mask and gloves, and then detonated multiple smoke bombs before firing an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington 12 gauge shotgun and a .40 Glock handgun.
“There’s been a lot of prayer and a lot of shock,” Murzyn said. “It’s just really made me think about the world.”
Murzyn has plans to visit Aurora next week and had promised her younger brother that she would take him to see the film. Murzyn said she doubts she will go to the theater in light of recent events.
“It’s shocking that something so devastating could happen at a place like a movie theater that seems so safe,” Kelsi Golinvaux, TCU strategic communication major said. Golinvaux works five miles away from where the shooting took place.
“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that with as much as Colorado has been through this summer that someone would do that,” Megan Williams, TCU nursing major from Centennial, Colo. said.
Centennial is about 15 minutes from Aurora, and Williams said her younger brother had attempted to see the movie in a theater near where the shootings took place, but that the premiere had sold out.
“We were just really lucky that he ended up not going to that one,” Williams said.
Recent TCU grad Joel Schiager watched the midnight premiere of the film, in a theater five miles away from Century 16, where the shooting took place.
Schiager and his friends said they didn’t even hear about the news until after they had already gotten home.
“I had a lot of stuff going through my mind at the time,” Schiager said. “It seems like it was handled very well, though, the police were there within a minute of the first 911 call.”
Schiager said that he thought the crime sounded very strange, and that many people will continue to be confused until the shooter’s motives are revealed.
“People are going to be scared of even going to the movie theatre now because of some crazy person,” Williams said. “It just kind of changes the safety of going to place.”
Although Williams, Golvinaux and Murzyn agreed that individuals in the Colorado area may have reservations about going out at night after Friday morning’s incident, Golinvaux said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said it best in his address to the people of the area this morning:
“Coloradans have a remarkable ability to support one another in times of crisis. This one of those times."
If you are a TCU student affected by the shooting in the Aurora, Colo. area please contact [email protected].