Washington, Sept. 23: Three Colorado moviegoers, who were wounded when a gunman opened fire during the screening of The Dark Knight Rises, have sued the owner of the theater, Cinemark USA, accusing it of failing to provide adequate security, their lawyers have said.
The move is the first known civil lawsuits filed in connection with the 20 July shootings at a suburban Denver screening of the Batman movie that killed 12 people and wounded 58 others.
“Readily available security procedures, security equipment and security personnel would likely have prevented or deterred the gunman from accomplishing his planned assault on the theater’s patrons,” the law firm of Keating, Wagner, Polidori and Free said in a written statement.
According to The Guardian, James Holmes, a 24-year-old former neuroscience graduate student at the University of Colorado, has been charged with murder and attempted murder in the case.
On the day of the shooting, prosecutors allege Holmes bought a ticket to the movie, and then left the theater through an exit door, propping it open on his way out.
He then returned to the theater dressed in ballistic protective gear and armed with multiple weapons, opening fire on the crowd, prosecutors said.
In the lawsuit filed in Denver federal court, victims Joshua Nowlan, Denise Traynom and Brandon Axelrod claim the theater chain was aware of previous criminal activity at or near the cinema including ‘assaults and robberies’ and at least one other shooting involving gang members.
“Although the theater was showing a midnight premiere of the movie and was expecting large crowds of people to attend the midnight showing, no security personnel were present for that showing,” the lawsuit said.
Nowlan suffered disabling injuries to his left leg and his right arm, which was nearly severed from the gunshots, the lawsuit said.
According to the report, Traynom was shot in the buttocks and Axelrod was shot in the right knee and ankle.
The lawsuit also states “there was no action taken by theater employees to safely evacuate the many people” in the theater once the shooting spree got underway, the report added. (ANI)