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.

Photo by John F. Russell

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.

Steamboat police increase patrols in wake of Aurora shooting

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— 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

Comments

Brian Kotowski 2 years, 4 months ago

Better safe than sorry, I suppose, but I wonder how meaningful it really is. One isolated whackjob hundreds of miles away, and we pull a cop off the streets to walk the aisles at a theater. I'm confident we're much more likely to get t-boned by a drunk than we are to be shot by a lunatic.

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rhys jones 2 years, 4 months ago

I dunno, Sep, this could be the PERFECT opportunity to dust off the nylon and leather, call out SWAT, go burn some gunpowder at the range with the boys, and play cops-and-robbers for a while. (never mind that the cops in the real town didn't get there 'til after everybody was dead.)

Because as we all know, the seeds of discontent can foment in even the smallest town or ville. You never can be too careful. I would venture to say this country is more divided than it ever has been in its history. More than in the '60's; even more than during the Civil War itself, where at least most regions knew which side they were on. Not now. Crazies can be anywhere.

We could have copycats, the Islamic Jihad might jump at the opportunity. Thank God our Boys in Blue are watching out for us. Boy, are they watching.

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rhys jones 2 years, 4 months ago

As is so often the case, James Holmes -- our shooter in Aurora -- is described as "shy" and "intelligent" having had no previous contact with the law. Klebold and Harris were also nerdish outcasts.

Still waters run deep.

And maybe the law is focusing on the wrong folks. The good-time crowd isn't going to shoot up groups of people -- that is more likely to originate in the Honor Roll or Eagle Scouts. Kinda scary, huh, not knowing who is going to flip out when.

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Aaron Murphy 2 years, 4 months ago

Rhys-

It's no secret that you have your disagreements with local law enforcement there in Steamboat. You make that perfectly clear on just about every article that has anything to do with them.

But you are being unfair to the first responders, the victims, their families, and those who are grieving in the Aurora area to say, "never mind that the cops in the real town didn't get there 'til after everybody was dead." Everything I've read and heard indicates the first officers arrived on scene between 60 and 90 SECONDS after the first 911 call. Short of being at the theater when the shooter started his rampage (exactly what the SSPD is now doing), they couldn't have done anything more. Your statement is ignorant, hurtful, and disrespectful to those who have lost someone.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 4 months ago

Aaron Rhys and I agree on a few things and disagree on a few things. I am 100% with you on this.

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Rob Douglas 2 years, 4 months ago

Aaron, In my opinion, you are 100% correct. Additionally, the police saved numerous lives by immediately transporting the most critical victims to area hospitals instead of waiting for ambulances. They recognized that time was of the essence and made the right call. And, as the communications tapes reveal, it was a deliberate decision to use their vehicles to get victims to area hospitals when minutes were the difference between life and death. Also, the immediate apprehension of the killer probably saved far more lives. Had he escaped, many more lives would have been at risk. Aaron, thank you for speaking up. As someone with several dear friends in law enforcement, I can tell you they rarely receive the thanks they deserve. Especially in these times of dwindling municipal resources, we need to let these men and women know that we are thankful for the dangerous work they do.

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rhys jones 2 years, 4 months ago

I hereby apologize; you both are absolutely correct -- that was an ill-considered comment.

I was just trying to poke a little fun at the knee-jerk reaction locally. Like people are going to take guns to Batman shows now. I'll be watching the exits now; I used to work in a theater. Nobody in a theater exit is up to any good. Not during showtime. That's the emergency exit, down front, not the public exits in back. Usually it's just kids letting their friends in. But not always, I guess.

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Brian Kotowski 2 years, 4 months ago

Given the number of people I know with concealed carry privileges, I'm a tad surprised no one was legally armed in Aurora the other night.

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