The shooting tragedy at Aurora's Century 16 movie theater has just attracted its first lawsuit, according to a TMZ report.
The website reports that Torrence Brown, Jr., who was in the theater when suspected shooter James Eagen Holmes threw gas canisters and open fired into the crowd during "The Dark Knight Rises," lost one of his best friends in the shooting. Alexander J. Boik, known as A.J., was one of the 10 who died in the theater. Two more victims died later at the hospital with 58 wounded and 7 who are still in critical condition.
Brown escaped unharmed but is claiming extreme trauma and has hired an attorney who is targeting three defendants for negligence: the theater, Holmes' doctors and Warner Bros., the studio behind the "Dark Knight" trilogy.
TMZ says the theater is being targeted for having an emergency door that was neither alarmed or guarded. The attorney is also targeting Holmes' doctors for failing to properly monitor medications he appears to have been on, and also Warner Bros. for the violence shown in film.
"Somebody has to be responsible for the rampant violence that is shown today," attorney Donald Karpel told TMZ.
It has been widely reported that Holmes told detectives he'd taken 100mg of the painkiller Vicodin before the shooting, one of the prescription drugs that was also found in actor Heath Ledger's system when it was concluded that he had accidentally overdosed.
Shooting survivor Stephanie Davies, 21, who escaped with her 19-year-old friend Allie Young said the experience in the theater was terrifying, claiming that Holmes was shouting at people to "stand up" so he could shoot them while the movie was still playing.
"We were laying there in the mouth of hell — there's smoke and explosions and guns, bats flying across the screen because the movie's still playing. It's dark. It's every child's worst nightmare," Davies told the Associated Press.
But in his widely-discussed New York Times Op-Ed, film critic Roger Ebert wrote:
I’m not sure there is an easy link between movies and gun violence. I think the link is between the violence and the publicity. Those like James Holmes, who feel the need to arm themselves, may also feel a deep, inchoate insecurity and a need for validation. Whenever a tragedy like this takes place, it is assigned catchphrases and theme music, and the same fragmentary TV footage of the shooter is cycled again and again. Somewhere in the night, among those watching, will be another angry, aggrieved loner who is uncoiling toward action. The cinematic prototype is Travis Bickle of “Taxi Driver.” I don’t know if James Holmes cared deeply about Batman. I suspect he cared deeply about seeing himself on the news.
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