DENVER: Relatives of those killed at a Colorado movie theater rejected an invitation Wednesday to attend its planned reopening, calling it a “disgusting offer” that came at a terrible time — right after the first Christmas without their loved ones.
The parents, grandparents, cousins and widow of nine of the 12 people killed in the July shooting said they were asked to attend an “evening of remembrance” followed by a movie when the Aurora theater reopens on Jan. 17. They released a letter sent to the theater’s owner, Cinemark, in which they criticized the company for not offering condolences and for refusing to meet with them without lawyers.
“Our family members will never be on this earth with us again and a movie ticket and some token words from people who didn’t care enough to reach out to us, nor respond when we reached out to them to talk, is appalling,” the letter said.
Cinemark had no immediate comment.
The company announced last month that it would reopen the theater on Jan. 17 and invite people affected by the attack and other guests, a move that Aurora officials said has strong support in the community. Gov. John Hickenlooper plans to attend.
The Aurora Sentinel reported that plans filed with the city call for turning the theater into one of the company’s “extreme digital cinema” sites that feature massive screens.
“It was a killing field,” said Sandy Phillips, the mother of Jessica Ghawi, one of the 12 people killed. “It was a place of carnage and they’ve not once told us what their plans are for the theater other than that they’re reopening it.”
She said she would like the theater where her daughter was killed to be demolished, though she acknowledged that it was unrealistic to expect Cinemark to give up the rest of the building.