Gunman in black entered, opened fire
James Wilburn was sitting in the second row of Theater 9 after midnight, when the emergency door to his right opened and a man entered.
“He was dressed in black,” Wilburn said, “Wearing a flack jacket and a gas mask.”
The man was carrying a shotgun and had a rifle strapped to his back, Wilburn said. Then the man dropped a canister to the floor and a noxious gas spewed out. He raised the shotgun and repeatedly fired toward the back of the theater.
Wilburn and three friends dove to the floor, hiding behind the seatbacks in front of them. The gunman was only five or six feet away, the Aurora resident said. Everyone was running while the movie, which had only started a few minutes before, played on.
Once the shotgun was empty, the gunman calmly dropped it to the floor, took the rifle and went on firing. Wilburn heard 30-some shots.
Meanwhile, 21-year-old Naya Thompson and her 22-year-old boyfriend Derrick Poage were running for their lives.
“It was like a tear gas,” Thompson said. “I was coughing and choking and I couldn’t breathe.”
Hours afterward, Poage had blood splashed on his pants.
He was in his stocking feet because he had lost his shoes as he fled the theater.
-Kurtis A. Lee
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