The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Area moviegoers watchful after Colorado theater shooting, but many turn out for latest Batman film
BY LINDLEY ESTES
Fredericksburg-area movie theaters went ahead with showings of the Christopher Nolan film, “The Dark Knight Rises,” Friday after the mass shooting at a Colorado theater’s premier of the film that left at least 12 dead and dozens injured.
The film, shown locally at Paragon Village 12, Marquee Southpoint 9 and Regal Aquia 10 is the conclusion to Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
Kris Knox, general manager of Paragon theater in Spotsylvania Towne Centre, said his employees went over all security procedures already in place. He told the staff to be watchful of bags in the theater.
“Nobody needs a backpack in a movie theater,” he said.
Employees also took steps to tighten security at entrances and exits.
Knox said one particular area they were spending more attention to was watching the exit doors since the shooter used such an exit in the Colorado attack.
“There is someone designated to check each one,” Knox said.
The Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office has not received any request for additional support from theater operators. Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Harvey said, “There is no reason to belive there is any threat to our theaters.”
However, the Sheriff’s Office offers off-duty deputies to the theater on a regular basis, he said.
“It’s a very scary incident,” Knox said. “You can’t dream that someone would do this. It’s not really anything you can prepare for.”
Knox said he still expected large crowds for the film’s opening week.
“Sure, it will deter some understandably but I do think the crowd is going to come out,” he said.
Debbie Nance of Fredericksburg bought her tickets for the 7:40 p.m. show Friday at Paragon as news of the shooting unfolded.
“My husband was really not wanting to come, but we decided that one crazy act was not going to stop us from coming,” she said.
Adam Merzlak of Fredericksburg also plans to see “The Dark Knight Rises” and said theaters should not be punished for someone’s actions.
“Without the facts, it seemed like a wacko who wanted to shoot a lot of people,” he said.
Bonnie and Jim Dixon of Stafford watched the film on Friday with their two sons and a nephew.
“We’re excited to see the movie,” Jim Dixon said. “We’re just a little more aware of other customers. It’s on the news and they’re talking about it at work. Walking in we did talk about watching others. But most of what we said was joking in manner.”
Louisa Rucker of Orange said she received a call from a close friend saying no one should see the movie and that it wasn’t safe. The call did not stop her from attending.
“A shooting does not define our activities,” she said. “There are nut cases but our life doesn’t change. If you did let everything like that affect you then you wouldn’t drive because of accidents that happened” Wednesday in Orange. Two people died in a two-car crash there.
Unlike Rucker, Jerry Cocher of Fredericksburg said that the news coverage of the shooting affected him a lot and he almost did not attend the film.
“I feel a little funny,” he said. “Especially after reading what I read, it definitely makes you think. You can’t go anywhere.”
Jasmine Larimer of Fredericksburg watched the film with her family and said she was never deterred from going to the theater.
“I’m thinking it was an isolated instance,” she said.
Her son Chris, 17, said, “I was definitely going to see it. I’ve wanted to see this movie since I saw the commercial for it.”
Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976