Steamboat police increase patrols in wake of Aurora shooting | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat police increase patrols in wake of Aurora shooting

Boulder resident David Elrod thanks Steamboat Springs Police Department officer Evan Driscoll as he leaves the 1 p.m. Friday showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas. Officers are conducting walk-throughs at local movie theaters in the wake of the shooting at the new Batman movie Friday morning in Aurora.

— The previews finished and the lights dimmed inside the 1 p.m. showing of the "Dark Knight Rises" at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas on Friday afternoon.

It was then that David Elrod, a Boulder resident visiting Steamboat Springs, noticed a police officer walking through the theater.

Elrod said he and several other moviegoers thanked the police officer, and a few even clapped.

"The whole thing kind of choked me up," Elrod said after the film ended. "I was just touched by how our world has changed because of this."

In the wake of the movie theater shooting early Friday in Aurora, which The Associated Press reported left 12 dead and 59 wounded, Elrod wasn't deterred from attending the finale in the Batman series, the same film at which a shooter opened fire the night before.

He said he was grateful for the police presence at the theater and crossed the parking lot after the movie to shake Steamboat Springs Police Department officer Evan Driscoll's hand.

Driscoll explained that he was at the theater to help the public feel more comfortable.

"Given the shootings in Aurora, we have stepped up enforcement by conducting extra patrol at the movie theater," he said Friday.

He said that police do not perceive any local threat.

"We want people to feel safe in Steamboat and at the movie theaters," he said. "We'll be making sure we're walking into theaters, checking doors, checking the outside of the theater."

He said officers will be stopping by both theaters intermittently, similar to the way they conduct bar checks in the evenings.

The manager at Wildhorse, where the "Dark Knight Rises" is showing locally, referred questions to Metropolitan Theaters President David Corwin.

On Friday, Corwin issued a news release that expressed the company's sadness about the Aurora shooting.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families," Corwin wrote in the release. "Guests and staff safety is a top priority, and we are reviewing security procedures and working with local law enforcement to ensure a safe environment at our theaters."

When reached Friday for additional comment, Corwin said local managers were asked to reach out to local law enforcement.

Metropolitan Theatres operates 18 theaters in the Western United States and Canada.

He said that the theater's schedule will not change in the wake of the shooting but that every film is assessed each week and times are adjusted based on how the movie is doing.

"To be honest, I don't know if anyone knows the impact this will have," he said. "I hope people will recognize this was an isolated incident by a deranged individual. We feel deeply sorry for everyone affected.

"It provides an incident in which we can point out to our people and say, 'Hey, you never know; you have to be mindful of what's going on.'"

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com