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."
French President Francois Hollande will issue a statement on Monday regarding French air strikes in Syria to combat ISIL
Finland's Prime Miniser Juha Sipila has opened his home to refugees and has suggested that the world call themselves to account over the refugee crisis
A fund that has been established by the IOC will open the way for submissions for projects to assist refugees
As more than 4,000 refugees cross into the Austrian border, the foreign minister for Hungary has said that it is the failed policy of the EU that has led to the current crisis.
Elections in Morocco will show if King Mohammed VI's plans for more regional autonomy are working.
Hundreds of refugees have disembarked from the first fleet of buses carrying them from Budapest.
The mandate of the House of Representatives, expires in October, and hoping to signing a deal by September.
Lawmakers declared a 'state of crisis caused by mass immigration'
Guterres will end his tenure as Europe grapples with a refugee crisis that some have described as the worst since World War Two
Ministers of Macedonia, Austria, Serbia and Hungary have signed an agreement to tackle the refugee crisis jointly
In search for better life refugee children forced to 'witness death of their loved ones, including parents, relatives and friends'
Special representative mediating negotiations in Geneva between rival factions aimed at establishing unity government
Country's tourism minister says series of terrorist attacks have brought situation to crisis point
'Britain will act with its head and heart,' Cameron says
Protests would be 'a message against the visit of war criminal and British government's position on this visit'
A Swedish prosecutor has said that there is sufficient evidence that shows that the Uzbek regime is behind the shooting of an outspoken cleric