With New Yorkers feeling the aftereffects of Wednesday's horrible massacre in Aurora, Colorado, it turns out at least two area residents were among the survivors. Christopher Rapoza, a musician from Brooklyn, and Stephen Barton, a Southbury, Connecticut native and recent Syracuse University graduate, were both at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises when suspected gunman James Holmes began shooting; both were shot, but are recovering.
Rapoza, who plays bass for local punk band The Toothaches and was in Colorado on a trip with his girlfriend, received a grazing wound on his back during the shooting and was treated at an area hospital. He linked to photos of his wound and bloodied t-shirt on Reddit (and as the photos show, he's lucky!), "I'm doing all right just a little shook up," he wrote on the site. "Me and my girlfriend waited until it seemed the shooting was finished so we were some of the last people out of the theatre and there was a lot of blood." He had also posted on Facebook, "Perry and I were just at a midnight showing of Batman in Colorado when some f***ing psycho decided to open fire on the crowd. "I was grazed in the back with a bullet but am fine. Perry is unscathed, but unfortunately has lost her shoes. A lot of other people weren't so lucky."
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz mentioned Rapoza in his statement on the shooting yesterday, saying, "The Colorado shooting hits very close to home in Brooklyn, because reportedly one of the more than 70 people shot is a Brooklynite...All of Brooklyn joins the nation and the world in mourning the innocent lives lost, and we pray for the full recovery of the dozens of wounded victims in this senseless national tragedy.”
Barton, who graduated from Syracuse in May, was in Denver a post-grad cross-country cycling tour and was hit in the neck and chest by pellets from Holmes' shotgun. "I don't really remember people starting to scream until I got hit," Barton told a Colorado news station from his hospital bed at the Medical Center of Aurora. "Then, it was like mass mayhem." His surgeon expects him to make a strong recovery, and his brother, David Barton, says he's in "high spirits".
Rapoza and Barton weren't the only people in that theater with ties to New York, though they were among the luckiest. The parents of Alex Sullivan, who was one of the massacre's 12 victims, are natives of Rochester, NY, and many of Sullivan's relatives still live there. Sullivan died on his 27th birthday, one week before his first anniversary with wife Cassandra.