Stories are now emerging of heroism and courage from inside the Century 16 theaters in Aurora, Colo., where a gunman opened fire during a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises."
Eric Hunter, a 23-year-old from Aurora, was inside Theater 8, adjacent to the scene of the shootings. When he heard the gunshots, he ran to open an exit door and found two teenage girls, one of whom was wounded in the face, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Hunter, who is a radiology technician, pulled the girls into the theater. But before he could shut the door, he found himself momentarily face to face with the shooter -- 24-year-old James Holmes. However, Hunter managed to slam the door shut, even as he could hear the gunman pounding on it. Hunter's actions possibly saved dozens of lives as the shooter never managed to come through to Theater 8.
"He's coming my way so I shut the door. So I hold the door for a little bit. He's banging on the door for about 10 seconds," Hunter told the Associated Press.
Hunter then called 911, before going over to help the two girls. He was helped by an off-duty paramedic.
Hunter isn't the only hero: ABC News has the story of 19-year-old Jarrell Brooks, who helped a mother, Patricia Legarreta, and her two young children escape even as he was injured himself.
"At the end of the aisle, I ran into a woman. She yelled, 'My kids!' and I saw she had two young kids with her," Brooks told ABC News. "I made sure they got in the aisle and pushed behind her to make sure she got out of there." The teen crawled on top of Legarreta in an attempt to push them out the door.
Unfortunately, while the children escaped unhurt, both Legarreta and Brooks were injured in the gunfire. Still, Legarreta is glad that teens like Brooks are out there.
"It makes me feel glad because I felt helpless," she told ABC News. "Everybody at that moment was going through it, and to know that someone had that mindset, it makes me feel happy to know that in times of trial, there are good people out there."
Others, like 19-year-old Emma Goos (pictured above), rushed to help the injured. Goos, who was sitting in the third row of the theater when the shooter entered, told the Associated Press that she helped apply pressure to an injured man's head.
Moved by the magnitude of the tragedy, people from across the country are attempting to reach out to victims too. A user on social news site Reddit wants to start a Facebook campaign to have Christian Bale dress up in a Batman outfit and visit kids injured in the shooting.
Elsewhere, heroism came in the form of a victim's simple refusal to give in to fear -- like Colorado State football recruit Zach Golditch. Golditch was hit by a bullet on the left side of his neck as he sat in a theater adjacent to the one that Holmes opened fire in, the Canon City Daily Record reports. Despite his injury, the football player was eager to go for a morning workout.
Perhaps the last word in the tragedy belongs to Eric Hunter. “He (the shooter) is not going to keep me from going to my movies,” he told the L.A. Times
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that the shooting took place at a Century 21 theater. It has since been changed to Century 16.
Check out our slideshow of Twitter reactions that show how Americans banded together during this tragedy:
More:Batman Shooting Hero Theater Shooting Aurora Shooting Hero Batman Shooting Theater Shooting Colorado
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more