Jul 19, 2013 8:53 PM by Andy Koen

Opposing events mark anniversary of theater shooting

AURORA - Two simultaneous events were held at Cherry Creek State Park Friday on the anniversary of the Aurora theater shooting, each calling different outcomes related to the issue of gun control.

Survivors and family members of victims from the Aurora theater shooting spoke alongside family members from the Newtown and Columbine school shootings at a remembrance called No More Names. The event is part of a nationwide bus tour to reduce gun violence and is paid for by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Stephen Barton was cycling across country with a friend from Connecticut when they arrived in Denver a day ahead of schedule. They met up with a friend in Aurora decided to go see the Batman movie premier as a way of saying thank you for letting them stay at her house.
"Before I even realized what was going on I was shot with a shotgun in face, neck, chest; basically my upper body was hit with buckshot."

Both of his friends were hit as well, but the weapon gunman James Holmes was using had jammed and they were able to escape.

Tom Sullivan who lost his son Alex in the massacre says over the last year he has kept track of time in terms of Fridays.

"It's another Friday since my son Alex was murdered in the Aurora theater celebrating his 27th birthday, watching a movie of one of his favorite superheroes with his friends," Sullivan said.

Some of the speakers, including Sullivan, called for stricter gun control laws.

"At what point are our leaders in Washington going to make a meaningful action to stop the blood shed of the 33 Americans that are killed everyday to gun violence," said Carlee Soto who lost her sister Victoria in the Newtown shooting.

A counter-demonstration organized by members of Gun Rights Across America to say their right to self defense shouldn't be sacrificed because of the evil acts of a few disturbed individuals.

"I'm totally opposed to Bloomberg spending money in Colorado to convince us that we don't need firearms for protection," said Rob Blancken.

Members of the group questioned whether Holmes could have been stopped sooner if there had been someone in the theater carrying a concealed handgun.

"We you know care about the fact that people lost loved ones, but we also want the truth to be stated that guns didn't kill their loved ones, a person did," said Alicia Perez.

Following statements at the news conference, members of the No More Names event began reading a list of names of Americans who died from shooting since the Newtown massacre in December. They plan to read the names continuously until stopping for a moment of silence at 12:38 a.m. Saturday, the exact time when Holmes opened fired inside the Century 16 Theater.



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