Shooting survivors recount Colorado movie theater horror

By the CNN Wire Staff

AURORA, Colorado (CNN) -- A few reflections from survivors of the massacre at an Aurora, Colorado, theater from CNN interviews:

'There were kids, mothers and fathers'

Josh Nowlan survived the bloodbath in Aurora, and his friends hail him as a hero for shielding them with his body. Nowlan was shot in the left calf and right arm in the process.

"Of course I'm glad it's over with, and I'm glad I'm alive and I get to see my kids," Nowlan, whose sons are 7 and 9, said as his voice cracked with emotion. "But I also think about, you know, the other people that weren't as lucky as I was. There were kids, mothers and fathers that were there, and they're dead. I'm still alive."

Nowlan said he wants to go back into the screening room where the killings took place, "look down at that same seat and say 'I beat you. You did not take this life.' "

'You don't want to leave knowing that you said something'

Corbin Dates says he's not sure how he survived the killings. He and a friend both escaped unhurt, and he said he has "a blank feeling inside" when he looks back at the building.

But the experience left him sounding somewhat philosophical.

"Certain circumstances can happen at any time," he said. "Try to make the most of what you can with your family, your friends, colleagues, people that you probably had bad past relationships with. Because you don't want to leave knowing that you said something, or didn't say enough."

'Who expects to be shot in a movie theater?'

Christina Blache was also wounded in the early Friday massacre. Her friend and co-worker, Alex "Sully" Sullivan, was shot in the head, and Blache found out Saturday morning that he didn't survive.

"He was the whole reason we all went," Blache said from her hospital bed.

Blache served in the Air Force until four years ago, and her service included a stint in the Iraqi capital Baghdad. But at home, in a moviehouse, "nobody was prepared" for the violence that was unleashed, she said.

"If you're going over to a war zone, you know there's the potential that you're going to be shot at. Potential that mortars are going to come over the wall. Potential that somebody is going to throw a grenade at you. Where if you're sitting in a movie theater trying to watch a movie with your friends, who expects to be shot in a movie theater? None of us did."

'I'm going to live my life a little bit better'

Eric Hunter caught a glimpse of the killer's eyes during the rampage. They "looked pretty intense," but betrayed no emotion, he said.

Like others, Hunter said he thought the first three shots were a stunt, "part of the moviegoing experience." Then he heard nine more. He helped two teenage girls to safety as they fled the theater.

He says the killings have changed his life: "I'm going to be more cautious. I'm going to live my life a little bit better and just enjoy myself."


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