Residents surveyed on future of Colorado theater massacre site

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 21, 2012 5:35 PM
Residents surveyed on future of Colorado theater massacre site

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - Residents in the Denver suburb where 12 moviegoers were shot to death and 58 others wounded during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" last month are being asked for ideas on what to do with the cinema, a city official said on Tuesday.

The City of Aurora posted a survey on its Facebook page, Twitter account and Web site on Monday after Texas-based Cinemark Holdings asked for input on what to do with its Century 16 site in Aurora, city spokeswoman Lori MacKenzie said.

The suggestions received so far range from re-opening the theater to razing the entire complex, as well as turning the theater where the shootings occurred into a memorial to the victims.

"Keep the theater, and let the victims' families have a say in what, if any, changes would help the victims become the Aurora; the dawn -- the new light with which to move forward," one resident wrote.

Another suggested building a memorial similar to that which commemorates victims of the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in nearby Littleton, Colorado, in which two students shot 12 students and a teacher to death before killing themselves.

The school turned the library where 10 of the students were murdered into an atrium, and a permanent memorial to the victims was built in an adjacent park.

Prosecutors have accused former University of Colorado neuroscience graduate student James Holmes, 24, of spraying gunfire into the Century 16 theater on July 20. Holmes is being held in solitary confinement in the Arapahoe County jail.

A Cinemark spokesman was not immediately available for comment. MacKenzie said any discussion about a future memorial "will come in time."

"Right now our focus is on meeting the needs of the victims," she said.

(Editing By Cynthia Johnston and Paul Simao)