A year after shootings, Colorado looks for healing

MayorsRelatives of victims of gun violence listen at an event, sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, marking the one-year anniversary of the Aurora theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado July 19, 2013. (Reuters)

Some recited the names of the dead. Some are doing good deeds for their neighbors. And some will practice yoga, take a nature walk or simply talk.

Coloradans looked for ways to heal as they mark the anniversary of the Aurora movie theater massacre with a city-sponsored "Day of Remembrance."

It was one year ago Saturday that a gunman opened fire early into a packed midnight screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises." The rampage lasted less than two minutes but left deep wounds that still ache today in Aurora, Colorado's third-largest city which spreads out across the rolling plains on Denver's eastern side.

Twelve people died, including a 6-year-old girl. Seventy were hurt, some of them paralyzed. Countless others inside the theater and out bear the invisible wounds of emotional trauma.

"There's no script for something like this," said Nancy Sheffield, who helped plan the Day of Remembrance. What the city wants, she said, is "the ultimate way to remember the victims, the families, the survivors, in a healing way and going forward for our community."

Democratic state Rep. Rhonda Fields, whose district includes the renamed Cinemark theater, said she is still numb and in mourning.

"It hasn't fully mended after a year," she said. Fields said she isn't surprised by that. Her son, Javad Marshall-Fields, and his fiancee were shot to death in 2005 to keep Marshall-Fields from testifying in a murder trial. "I'm all too familiar to losing someone to gun violence," Fields said. "I know someone's missing that used to be part of the unit."

At about noon on Friday, Fields and other volunteers began reading the names of the more than 2,500 people who have been died in gun-related violence in the U.S. since the Newtown, Conn., massacre in December. The last volunteer to read names was Stephen Barton, who was wounded last year in the theater shooting.

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