World Bulletin/News Desk
Three Colorado moviegoers who were wounded when a gunman opened fire at a July screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" on Friday sued the owner of the theater, Cinemark USA, accusing it of failing to provide adequate security, their lawyers said.
The action marks the first known civil lawsuits filed over the July 20 shootings at a suburban Denver screening of the Batman movie that killed 12 people and wounded 58 others.
James Holmes, a 24-year-old former neuroscience graduate student at the University of Colorado, has been charged with murder and attempted murder in the case.
"Readily available security procedures, security equipment and security personnel would likely have prevented or deterred the gunman from accomplishing his planned assault on the theater's patrons," the law firm of Keating, Wagner, Polidori and Free said in a written statement.
Representatives of Cinemark could not immediately be reached for comment.
On the day of the shooting, prosecutors allege Holmes bought a ticket to the movie, left the theater through an exit door, propping it open on his way out. He then returned to the theater clad in ballistic protective gear and armed with multiple weapons, opening fire on the crowd, prosecutors say.
Public defender Daniel King has said his client suffers from mental illness and sought help before the shootings.
In the lawsuit filed in Denver federal court, victims Joshua Nowlan, Denise Traynom and Brandon Axelrod claim the theater chain was aware of previous criminal activity at or near the cinema including "assaults and robberies" and at least one other shooting involving gang members.
"Although the theater was showing a midnight premiere of the movie and was expecting large crowds of people to attend the midnight showing, no security personnel were present for that showing," the lawsuit said.
Nowlan suffered disabling injuries to his left leg and his right arm, which was nearly severed from the gunshots, the lawsuit said. Traynom was shot in the buttocks and Axelrod was shot in the right knee and ankle.
The lawsuit also states "there was no action taken by theater employees to safely evacuate the many people" in the theater once the shooting spree got underway.
The judge presiding over the criminal case ruled on Friday that some documents in the court file can be publicly released, but arrest and search warrants that detail the specifics of the crime will remain sealed because of the ongoing investigation.
Also on Friday, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said that Cinemark sometime next year will reopen the theater, which has been closed since the shooting.
"The theater has been a valued part of our community for many years," Hogan said in a statement. "I am confident Cinemark will continue to remain sensitive to victims, their families, their employees and our community throughout their process of remodeling and reopening."
Turkish President Erdogan has for years strengthened his relationship with the masses and with people's trust in him enabled the coup to be around in only a few hours
Two knife-wielding attackers are killed by police after taking hostages in northern French church
President Salva Kiir sacks VP when he fails to heed 48-hour ulimatum to return to capital Juba
Iraq stands in 'full cooperation' with Turkey, parliament speaker says
Defense lawyer says ISIL not designated terror group when Adam Dandach planned 2013 Syria trip
Calling failed putsch in Turkey 'dangerous,' movement leader also looks to formation of new Tunisian unity govt
Demonstrators wave flags, chant slogans against broadcaster's coverage of overthrow attempt
In New York Times Op-Ed, FETO leader accused of coup plotting asks US not to extradite him to Turkey to face charges
Amid email leak controversy, Sanders tells Democrats 'Hillary Clinton must become the next president'
Ugandan police chief to face trial for violating citizens' rights, says prosecutor
Britain plans to send 500 soldiers ahead of offensive to retake Mosul from ISIL
The last member of an extremist cell threatening to prepare attacks in Rio has been arrested
Claiming that the WTO is a disaster, White House nominee Donald Trump said that if there was no renegotiation then the US could pull out of the WTO
A new law that raises the pension age has been the subject of much contention with thousands rallying in Morocco
Democratic Party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has resigned following a leak of emails suggesting an insider attempt to hobble the campaign of Hillary Clinton’s rival in the White House primaries Bernie Sanders.