Authors: Ashley Milano
looked back to see my brother covering his mouth and noise with his
shirt, looking past the ramp out to the lobby with a stoic expression
plastered on his face, watching as people huddled together near the
entrance crying and screaming.
was one guy in front of me, in front of me by inches at the most when
his leg started bleeding, Alex asked what happened to him, he said he
got hit by a firework. It made me calm down a bit, though there was
to much blood for it to be a firework. I didn't think about that at
the time. I can't say if he got hit while we were running or if the
wound just caught up with his adrenaline but he didn't start bleeding
till after we were about halfway down the staircase.
ran ahead of him dragging me along. We stopped at the lobby front
reassuring everyone that looked to be having a mental break down that
it was just an idiot with fireworks when a cop came in and said
"Everyone get out now,
looked around to try and find everyone we talked to before hand when
I noticed the guy that was shot from before was stopped on the bottom
of the staircase panting heavily, I tried to go back to help him
outside, but Alex grabbed my shirt and pulled me out of the building.
was pure chaos at its finest, watching the people come out was a
thousand times worse then getting shot at.
besides this one evil, there was so much good. People were taking off
their belts and shirts wrapping people up and trying to stop the
blood, one woman you could just tell she had a fear of blood, as she
was looking away from the chaos, but she held her hand to another
woman's wound anyway.
girl in her teens was covered in blood sitting on the curb just
staring in to thin air, wide-eyed as if it was the most interesting
thing in the world. She wouldn't even reply when multiple people
would ask her if she was hurt, a man just watched her, waiting. Then
picked her up and carried her to a ambulance since she wouldn't talk.
were coming out caked in blood, some were limping, people were
collapsing. But nothing. I REPEAT. NOTHING. Was worse then seeing
that cop come out with the little girl I talked to moments before
getting in line. I didn't see her face. but I would know that hair
anywhere. He said she wasn't breathing and rushed her to some other
cops who then took her. Some woman was crying on the phone saying she
saw holes in her back. It broke me. I would have fallen to the ground
if it wasn't for my brother holding my waist.
stuck like glue to Devin and Larry from theater 8 when we found them
again, as we watched and mourned over those being taken from the
crowd in blankets more and more cops and SWAT went to the building,
at the very least a hundred altogether.
they had brought out dogs and a helicopter and surrounded the whole
place. Almost 3 hospitals sent out all their ambulances and there
still wasn't enough. Cops took it upon themselves to take the wounded
in their cars.
made the ones from theater 8 and theater 9 that weren't badly harmed
go to the left side of the building as some of us wandered slightly
towards the back to speak to the cops. We were unaware the shooter
was at the back of the building watching us the whole time.
of the cops speakers went off saying there was 7 bodies in theater 9
and they needed help ASAP! You could hear the crying of what sounded
to be a young women in the background. I had to close my eyes to stop
the tears from flowing once again. Somehow during the chaos we found
almost everyone we talked to in the theater..Almost.
brother, Devin, Larry and I all gave our statements to the cops and
they let us go saying that we could not take our cars if they had
caution tape on them, which would be most of them including ours and
theirs, so we walked towards the bus stop across the street as I took
in the scenery.
was loads of police cars and ambulances that took over the street,
not a normal car was in sight. The police had what I would guess
would be over 6 blocks in every direction blocked off. This man had
made an impact and all I could think about was if that little girl
really was hurt and if Noemi and Josh made it out safely.
two months after it happened I was having trouble breathing, most
mornings I would wake up not being able to breathe and thought it
might have been due to the gas I inhaled, I was diagnosed with Panic
attacks but they want do to further tests. The same evening we went
to a memorial at the Kaiser Medical Center near the theater and found
out that Noemi and Josh got out without any physical injuries,
luckily they made it to their car and left before they saw the worst
and I were basically inseparable for the first few weeks, we barely
went anywhere without each other. We must be pretty lucky to have one
another to look towards when we're feeling sad or alone, we always
had someone who would understand when we thought others didn't.
I feel guilty that I survived and so many didn't. I didn't go a day
without crying for the first few weeks, I know that whether it was a
good way to go or not, and that no matter ones religion, it was their
time to move on to better things.
mean, people died. And I got out with a bruise near my shoulder. I'm
not even sure when it happened, I didn't feel it. Heck, I didn't even
notice it till my dad pointed it out a day or two later. It was in
the shape of a Bullet. Small, Round. I figure a piece of debris hit
me back in the theater.
spend most of the time keeping myself busy, just going and doing
anything that came up, from going to the gas station to staying at
friends houses' though they kept telling me that I wasn't acting
myself I kind of figured, but they understood, doing anything and
everything in they're power to cheer me up.
still keep in contact with Noemi, Josh and Devin. We see and meet
others from the theater often too, whether it being by gatherings or
just running into each other.
following Monday July 23rd; Alex called Harkins Theatres and spoke
with the manager, he honored our movie tickets and let Noemi, Josh,
Alex and I finish watching the movie for free, the rest of my family
came with us to watch the movie but they paid for their tickets. We
told the other survivors that came in contact with us that Harkins
would honor their tickets too when they're ready to finish the movie,
I'm not sure whether Devin and her father Larry have seen it yet.
often meet-up with a group of survivors from the theater and the
Columbine High school shooting that took place here in Colorado, it's
really helpful just to talk with people who know what your going
through, even when we aren't talking about the tragedies. They are
truly amazing people, I just wished we met on better circumstances.
visited the memorial across the street from the movie theater often,
just to gather thoughts or when we're feeling upset. We've dropped
flowers, lit candles, and just went cause we felt we needed too, for
me it has helped a lot.
the second month anniversary (September 20th, 2012) The city took
down the memorial and they plan to put everything in the Aurora
History Museum, currently there is a sign where the site use to be
saying, "Thank you for your love and support for the victims and
families." They also have said they are planning on reopening
the theater by early 2013.
has been in contact with the city and they wanted him and I on the
memorial committee for making a permanent one, we've accepted the
offer and keep in touch.
many of the victims and witnesses would give anything to forget, and
though it brings many tears. I feel like if I forget, in a way it
will disgrace those who didn't make it out that night. And it has
shown me that life really is precious and not to take a moment for
granted. My names Ashley Milano and I'm a survivor.