Locals feel ripples from Colorado shooting
July 24, 2012
Park City High School student Morgan Pitcher couldn’t wait to see the midnight premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises" at the Redstone Theaters last week.
He even designed some original T-shirts with acrylic paints for his friends and his younger brother Isaac.
The film, he said, lived up to their expectations.
But when he returned home after the movie and logged onto Facebook, he read about the theater rampage in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 dead and an additional 58 people injured.
"It was really sad," said Pitcher, 17, during an interview with The Park Record. "I couldn’t believe what I was reading."
The tragedy erased his initial elation.
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"Before I heard about what happened in Colorado, we all just stood speechless in the theater lobby because the move was so good," Pitcher said. "Now, another sad thing is, because of the shootings, the movie will have a different meaning for people."
Pitcher wasn’t the only one shaken up because of the shootings.
The Redstone Theaters at Kimball Junction, where Pitcher and his friends saw the film, asked the Summit County Sheriff’s Department increase their rounds.
David Corwin, president of the Metropolitan Theaters Corporation who owns the Redstone Theaters, said in a press release that the organization is thinking about the victims and their families, and is working with local law enforcement to ensure the safety of theater patrons and staff.
"We were contacted by Redstone Theaters and asked to conduct extra patrols through the area," said Detective Ron Bridge of the Summit County Sheriff’s Department. "We didn’t enter the facility, or post a man at each door. We just patrolled the area as often as we could by foot and by car."
Bridge said no one had threatened the theater or theater employees.
"The regional manager just wanted us around to make sure nothing happened," he said.
In Park City, the Cinemark Theaters on Park Avenue, although they weren’t showing "The Dark Knight Rises," also requested more patrols in the area and for a special watch during the early-morning hours, according to Park City Police reports.
The Kamas Theater, which is showing "The Dark Knight Rises," also asked someone to guard the back doors during the weekend screenings.
"He made sure no one was letting people in," said Sharee Harris, who, along with her husband Kevin, run the Kamas Theater. "He was just a friend and not a police officer."
Harris said she will continue to ask for volunteers to guard the door for the remainder of the film’s run.
"I would like someone there all the time," she said.
Although no incidents were reported at Redstone, sheriff’s deputies will still make their presence known at there, Bridge said.
"(The area) is a busy location within Summit County where deputies regularly conduct foot patrols 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Bridge said. "We also have a substation at one of the hotels in the area that allows us to interact with the community quite a bit."
Likewise the Park City Police will continue to keep an eye on the Cinemark Theaters, said Sgt. Lynn Nagel.
"We will do visual checks on the theaters," he said.
Pitcher said he hasn’t been able to think about the movie without thinking about the tragedy.
"It’s amazing how one guy can change the feeling of an entire movie," he said. "Before this happened, nobody would have thought a movie theater would be a place of danger, but now, it’s different. I went to an IMAX screening on Saturday, and I kept thinking about what that would be like if somebody did that in our theater. "