VIDEO Dad leaves 4-month-old son and family behind in Colorado theater shooting, later proposes at the hospital after 19-year-old stranger helped them to safety

Patricia Legarreta and Jamie Rohrs couple at Colorado Batman shooting who brought their 4-month-old son

Patricia Legarreta and Jamie Rohrs were in attendance at the midnight showing of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado early Friday morning when a gunman opened fire, killing 12. The couple caught the attention of the media after it was revealed they were at the movie with their 4-month-old son and Legarreta’s 4-year-old daughter.

Patricia suffered a minor bullet wound, but both children and Jamie were unharmed – Jamie due in part to the fact that he bolted from the theater, leaving Patricia to fend for herself and their two children.

The couple appeared on Piers Morgan Tonight where an emotional Jamie Rohrs described what happened:

In the interview, Jamie Rohrs reveals he was on the balcony with his family when the shooting began, and it was during a break in the gunfire that he looked over the balcony and contemplated whether or not he could make the jump with his son in his arms. He says when he turned around, because of the darkness, the gunfire, and the smoke, he couldn’t find 4-month-old Ethan and was faced with the decision to either search for his son or jump and escape. He chose to jump.

“Just pray that he won’t kill your 4-month-old,” Rohrs remembers thinking as he fled the theater.

Once outside Rohrs says he was thinking, “Go back in! Just go back! You can’t leave them in there!” But then he reconsidered and thought, “Well, if you go back then you’re dead too, and what if our kids live and they’re orphans with no parents?” Rohr added, “I just kept thinking, ‘I don’t want to live if they all die, I don’t want to live if they all die.'”

UPDATE: Meanwhile, a 19-year-old named Jarell Brooks was helping Jamie’s family escape, and he got shot in the leg in the process. Jarell told ABC News “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. I made sure they got in the aisle and pushed behind her to make sure she got out of there.”

Colorado shooting survivors Jamie Rohrs Patricia Legarreta daughter and son  Batman theater shooting survivors Patricia Legarreta Jamie Rohrs' son Ethan and daughter
^ Photos of Patricia Legarreta and Jamie Rohrs’ son Ethan and his sister

Before revealing he ran out on his wife and kids at the theater, the couple was already the subject of numerous online debates for having a 4-month-old and a 4-year-old at a midnight movie in the first place. “I take my kids to the movies all the time,” Legarreta said. “My 4-year-old daughter loves Batman. We were excited.”

CNN did a piece about it titled “Infants too young for late-night movies?” that talked about how difficult it is trying to have any sort of “normal” schedule with an infant. They also addressed whether this was the proper time to even be discussing the matter at all:

“Judging parents at a time like this is unbelievable to me,” says parenting expert Laura Markham, a psychologist and founding editor of AhaParenting.com. “We are always so quick to judge other parents when their child gets hurt, because if we can make ourselves different — if we would never have done that — then our child is safe.

“If the baby drops off to sleep while you’re walking him outside, but you know he will be up in two hours, and he can still sleep through anything, I can certainly understand why a parent might decide to catch a movie.”

The video clip ends with the news that Jamie Rohrs proposed to Patricia Legarreta at the hospital after the shooting. “He said, ‘I know this isn’t the time or the place, but will you marry me,’ and I said, ‘yes,'” Legarreta said.

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  • Diana

    My knee jerk reaction is to call him a coward…mainly because I have my own children and I can never fathom putting my own safety before theirs…however, I think it’s something we can’t truly know what our reaction would be unless we were put in that situation.

    Regardless, my prayers are with all those that were affected by this horrible tragedy.

    • don

      The guy also drove off. The girl friend had to borrow a cell phone to get ahold of him to drive back to the theater.

      • Ajax

        how are you sure?

        • Liz

          He says so in other interviews he got in his truck and drove to the other side of the mall. She called him to come pick her, her daughter, and their son up.

  • Bailey

    Its human instinct to protect your loved ones in the event of chaos and danger, its animal instinct to protect yourself.

    And it is severely innapropriate to be discussing the parent’s decision to take their young children to a late showing of a movie, when the obvious problem here is the MASS SHOOTING MASACRE that just happened that left 12 dead, dozens injured…
    Also, you can’t just shut an infant off. As for the 4 year old, its summer time and she is a little kid, lack of a strict 9pm-7pm sleep schedual for one night is not doing her any harm.

    • http://starcasm.net stuart

      bailey….all i have to say is your kids are your life…if your not prepared to lay down your life for your kids then what kind of parent are you? ( and if your thinking i don’t know what im saying and i have never been in that situation and have no clue what i would do, well your wrong…i was a recon scout sniper, have two purple hearts, after getting med boarded out of the army because i had my hand blown off and reattached i became a fire fighter for riverside fire and rescue, then became a diplomatic security agent for a company called black water. You want true bravery look up the guy who was in the front rows and dove on his girlfriend and sheilded her from the bullets…hes dead shes alive…and that was just his girlfriend..you should be willing to put a gun in your mouth and pull the trigger for your kids).

    • tab

      are you forgetting that this movies is COMPLETELY inappropriate for a 4 year old to be at?

  • CiCi

    This might not be the case here, but…. Sometimes one action tells you the true nature of a person. I’d probably hesitate before marrying someone who’d abandon my kids & me like that.

    That said, thank God they all made it through OK. Can’t imagine how terrified they all must have been. So much love & prayers to the victims and their families.

    • oh dear

      i would have to agree. i mean, what if theres a fire in their house, will he run out of the house without looking for his children first, too?

  • Anon

    This whole article is a total lie all I could do was laugh. How about you actually watch their interview. And do you really think if he actually abandon his family he’ll want all of America to know?! Come on now.

    Anywho….
    What’s important here is keeping the families and victims in your prayers and coming together so that such tragedy does not happen again

    • Carmen

      He SAYS in the first interview that he took off running. I agree with CiCi. I would not be marrying this self centered coward! I know some low life men, and some good ones, but can’t picture ANY of them ever doing this. My son in law would have made sure their child was safe, then would have been trying to help others. There is NO way to justify this!

  • mickey

    I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t marry any man who could say “I couldn’t find you in the chaos, so instead of searching for you I ran.” His child was there and he fled like a coward. I could never leave my baby. She’s my whole world! I’d die before I’d let anyone OR thing harm her.

  • Jenn

    How could she say yes? This is a boy, not a man. A man would make sure his wife and two children are okay before himself. If someone did that to me I sure as hell would have a lot of thinking to do before I married him.

  • Alexis

    If someone only thought of themselves in a situation like this I would have a hard time marrying them. It would make me wonder, if something else were to happen, if he would just run then, as well (in a house fire, car accident, etc.)

  • coco

    I already questioned their judgement because they took 2 small children to a midnight showing, not that anyone expects to go to the movies and be shot but midnight is not the appropriate time to have small children out, period. Now that I am reading that this jerk left them in the theatre and tried to come up with some lame excuse why he did it, I am really wondering what is wrong with them? She is dumb for accepting his proposal. As a man his job was to stay there and protect his family even if his life was on the line. He was supposed to risk himself to either ensure their safety or to make sure they were not alone in such a chaotic situation. Sorry there is no justification for running out.

  • ER

    I guess I can’t judge until I’ve been in that sort of situation, but I have to say, if my husband bailed on me and our 2 young children under open fire I would most likely not be saying yes to his marriage proposal. Let’s hope he doesn’t work “I would take a bullet for you” into his vows.
    She deserves better.

  • BBT

    He looks like a douche, and how the hell can you run out of somewhere when your kids are in danger? I think I can perfectly fine say that I wouldn’t leave my s/o who is the parent of my children and those children in harm’s way while I flee.

    Especially a four month old infant.

  • pla

    This guy is a joke. I have no idea why he is in so many interviews. He left his 4-month-old infant son on the floor of the movie theater, and not only left the auditorium, but he drove away in their car, leaving his family behind in the gunfire! I don’t know what came over him, some people may say it was shock or whatever, but my God, my first instinct would be to take my kids with me if I was leaving!!! Especially since he was holding the infant in his arms… he just put him down on the floor in all that chaos… the baby could’ve been trampled on. WTH? And now he is in all these interviews like some sort of hero because his family survived. His girlfriend saved their family! Hell, some random guy even helped her after she screamed, “My kids!” and got shot doing so.

  • Kait

    His story is so…strange. I read that he had the 4 month old in his arms, and then all of a sudden he didn’t? What did he do, drop the kid? I dont know why he put the baby down in the first place, other than to ditch his “baggage” and make it out safely himself. He is no doubt a coward. I wish the news would stop giving this fool attention, and focus on the heroic actions of others, like Matt McQuinn, who died shielding his girlfriend.

  • Todd

    Of all the wrong things about this story, let’s start at the beginning…why did he have these two small children at the movie theater at midnight to begin with? And to see Batman for goodness sakes. Now…why the hell didn’t Morgan bitch slap him and ask him why he abandoned his family to fend for themselves against a crazed gunman? Sorry excuse for a man. Everyone take the time to read about Jarrell Brooks who took a bullet while saving his family.

  • Pam

    Would he have been able to live with himself if his son was trampled on or shot and killed? That is the question he should be asking himself. I also heard the mothers account as to what happened. She was thinking of protecting her daughter by laying in front of her while also thinking about the safety of her baby, HOPING he was being kept safe by his father. While the mother was thinking about the safety of her children, the father was thinking about his own safety. He didn’t even stick around to see if they were safe. He left the theater in his car! He had to turn around to pick them up!

  • connic

    Let’s not forget the REAL HERO here – Jarrell Brooks, the MAN who actually helped this girl and her kids get out AND got shot in the process.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/dark-knight-rises-shooting-victim-stopped-young-mom/story?id=16822336#.UArVZGEeNIH

  • Cindy

    The true nature of a person is definitely revealed in moments of chaos. While this guy was out saving his own ass, a 19-year-old man stayed behind to make sure his “fiancee” and children were going to make it out safe. That man got shot in the thigh saving these strangers’ lives. If I was Patricia, I would decline the proposal when I come to my senses.

  • J

    its beyond me that she said yes so quickly. I would really have to question whether to say yes to a man who just ran out so quickly. I have a son of my own and i can not even think about running outside without my son i would search to no end making sure he was in my arms before i tried to make it out. I know no man in my family would just bail out, you fight for your children and love ones and put them first. I myself just cant imagine leaving my kids behind.

  • tab

    what a couple of losers. you can bet you a$$ i’ll judge them as parents. you don’t take your infant and 4 year old to a movie at midnight. i don’t care if they love batman and don’t have a “normal” schedule. that’s not a movie for children.

    and this guy is a total schmuck for leaving. if i were her, i’d have kicked him in the balls when he asked me to marry him. a real man stays and protects his family at ALL costs.

  • hihi90

    HOW do you abandon your family? Your babies?

    Awful. I’m crying just thinking of that poor family being abandoned that way by their father/fiance.

  • guest

    Thank goodness that Jarell Brooks, a stranger who was also shot, stopped to help Patricia and her two children.

    I know we will read more about the other Jarell Brooks, and people who protected their girlfriend, wives, their children from gunfire. Some may have died in doing so.

    But this Jamie Rohrs. Patricia, if you have any sense, common sense, let this one go. He bolted, left you and your children for dead. What kind of man or father would do that? He has no honor. He’s a coward.

  • Allison

    This dude left his family! He even drove away from the theater in their car!!!!! Don’t give this loser any more publicity!

  • sanoga

    These “parents” are BOTH despicable human scum. They don’t deserve to have those two beautiful babies.

  • Kelly

    What a coward. How could someone leave their family to die?

  • mama2agirl

    I don’t see a problem taking a small baby to a midnight movie. Under 6 months old, babies are quite portable and easy to feed. Odds are they will sleep through the movie, even with the loud sound.

    My 6 month old daughter slept through a demolition derby and stock car race, woke up to nurse and then went back to sleep.

    As for the 4 year old, that would not be my choice, but then I like my kids to sleep in the evening so I can get some quiet time.

    The dad is a tool, no way in hell I would marry that idiot now.

  • http://yahoo LyndaS

    WOW! Maybe, I can buy the argument that bringing small children to a midnight feature would work out if they slept through it. However, ditching the family to save your own skin is unacceptable! If it was me, and my man proposed to me after doing the ditch, I would have had a different answer than “yes”. Good luck to that naive young wife-to-be. She’s going to need much luck and many good samaritans while married to that coward.

  • Michelle

    This story just keeps getting worse and worse…

  • guest

    Beautiful children. Glad they were alright.

    Patricia looks uncomfortable sitting there. he’s trying really hard to explain the situation. I’m sure everyone was terrified for their life as they were.

    However, he did not explain is he had the baby, but the baby started crying. That’s when he put his son down to avoid attention on him from the gunman.

    Poor excuse of a father, boyfriend, forget husband material. A real man would not left his own flesh and blood.

  • Michelle

    I would have said no…Hope ya’ll don’t get killed see ya! That’s a father right there…not

  • Courtney

    I would die before I would ever leave my child alone in a hostile situation like that. “Faced with the decision to look for his kid or jump and save himself” are you kidding me?!?! I know in these types situations you never know what you would do but I can tell you I would save my son or die trying!!! As a parent you always put your children first Ughhh.

  • nomatter

    No matter how he tells the story, he’s going to look like a douche.

    There isn’t any way that you can tell a “I ditched them, hope they got out” story without looking like a douche.

    I saw a bear coming and I thought, if I run while I hold my kid, that bear is definitely going to catch me, so I left the kid behind.

    Yeah. You sound like a douche.

  • Jules

    who brings a 4month old to see batman at midnight? seriously why are there even any kids at this movie its not something kids 4 years old should even be seeing.
    I really hope childrens aid steps in cause theres something seriously wrong with these people.
    The theater shouldnt be letting kids in even! if I got stuck sitting next to them I would have been pissed!

  • Kait

    I agree with most people about having the 4 year old out so late (mom did say she was sleeping though,not actually watching)…but there is nothing wrong with having an infant/toddler at the theater. When I was a toddler, my parents brought me to Jurassic Park, and I slept through the entire movie. But really, why are we judging someones parenting, when we should be focusing on the victims of this heinous crime.

  • Kayla

    You guys keep judging them that they brought their kids to a midnight showing. There was also a six year old girl there and she died. Why don’t you judge those parents too? I mean you guys are judging the victims here.

  • chelsea

    Maybe its just maternal instinct but I coiuld never imagine leaving my child in an area where someone is shooting. My first reaction would be to protect him. And to leave you’re girlfriend with two small children in a room full of panic is not very smart. They could have been trampled. Thank God a stranger stepped up to help

    Second…. are they seriously judging people? It is not their kid so why do they care what time they have them out? Maybe its a one time thing. Maybe the babysitter backed out last minute. Being a yound mom my self I get so tired of people questioning my parenting and judging. Get over yourselves, the issue here is not why people had their young children out but that some crazy person opened fire in a theatre.

  • Gwyn

    I don’t care what is happening, you look after your own. You don’t leave until you find them. Some other guy had to protect this woman and her children. I don’t want to sound judgemental, because we don’t know the situation in full, but I would hope that if something like this happens in the future, he will protect them.

  • FAMILY man

    Where is the real Hero? The guy who helped her with the kids, and took a bullet in the leg to help her. I don’t see him on any TV shows doing interviews about how he saved this woman and her kids. And this waste of skin is on every news channel like he is some sort of a celebrity now. I can see it now, there will be a book deal soon, and he will be rewarded for being a Coward! And she needs to get her head examined, who in their right mind would marry someone like him, that thinks of himself, and Not his family first! How SAD!

  • 80zHD

    I have never personally been in a position like that, so I will not be ignorant enough to judge this family.

    God saw fit to save this man and his family, when so many others didn’t survive.

    R.I.P. to all the victims of this tragedy.

    • Kelly

      I’m sorry but I have to disagree about the whole judging thing. Any person who is not willing to sacrifice their life to save their children doesn’t deserve to have them.

  • chacha

    These 2 parents seem pretty shady to me, the father more than the mother. His interview seemed very unconvincing. Yes, I know he was there and it was a terrible thing. However, the tears and sadness he was trying to produce and portray to show how bad he felt about leaving his family behind seemed so forced. I think he has dollar signs on his mind at this point, not regret.

  • Emily

    I just got done reading an article on another site about those who did die. 3 of the male victims were shot and died while protecting and saving the lives of their girlfriends. This guy takes off running, leaving his girlfriend, son and another child behind. WTF? This guy looks like a complete tool so I guess I’m not surprised.

  • Jackie

    this guy is a phucking coward

  • shea

    How do we know about what happened to Jamie Rohrs? Two words: Jamie Rohrs. He has sought out every TV camera he could find to tell his sorry story as if he performed a heroic deed in the face of extreme crisis. He is essentially a narcissist exhibiting typical narcissistic behavior, which is, “me first,” “all glory must come to me,” and last but not least, a complete lack of authentic empathy for others.

    He demonstrated his “character” by putting his infant down on the floor because HE felt the baby’s crying would attract attention of the shooter. How do we know this? Jamie told us. Jamie didn’t want to be the bigger target. So he put the baby down. Did he then lay on top of his kid or use his body as a shield as he crawled to what he would hoped would be safety? No. Jamie says (and says and says – he was everywhere on the tube with various stories) that he “lost his child” once he put the baby down. It was “too dark” to find the baby. You mean the crying baby, Jamie? The one you put down because you feared you would be a shooter’s target – the baby making NOISE? You couldn’t find your crying baby in the dark of only a foot or two from where you put him? Um, more like, “I must get as far away from this crying baby as possible or else I could be shot.”

    He thought of himself – me, first! – and jumped over the balcony, ran out the door, ran to his truck, started it up, and drove across the mall in the opposite direction of not only his infant, but also, his girlfriend and her four year old daughter. He only came back to the theater after his girlfriend called him on a borrowed cell phone. She made it out even though she protected both children and someone else protected them on their flight out of the theatre.

    Now, any fairly normal human being, understanding that what they had done was cowardly and almost unforgivable, would have kept their mouth shut, apologized profusely to their baby mama, and prayed that no one else in the world world would know this pathetic story. But a narcissist cannot help himself (or herself). This obviously horrible event caused by a mentally unstable shooter was seen by Jamie as the perfect opportunity to tell the world about the most important person in Jamie’s life: Jamie. And tell us he did.

    This is why we know who he is; this is why we can comment on his behavior. But since the rest of us have functioning empathic brains we know a coward when we see one, and Jamie Rohrs is a coward. Within the next few days he will attempt to revise his story, to make Jamie look like a “hero,” because this terrible tragedy, this insane murderous event by a mentally unstable shooter, is really All About Jamie.

    • m

      AGREE with everything you wrote!! And on top of this Syria, as of this week, has been declared a civil war zone. Apparently one that rivals Bosnia but this is taking over (aka hiding the fact that no one is helping Syrians.)

    • Mike

      You are correct. And thank you, American Media for making the fame-wishes of these cretins come true. It seems there is no human scum low enough that the American Media will not give 15 minutes (and then some) of fame to. This guy has an even chance of getting his own TV series.

      Shame on Legarretta. First, for having this turd’s baby, and then agreeing to marry him. That movie theater won’t be the last time he runs out on them.

    • Rb

      The guy is such a coward its unbelievable he would leave his child, his fiance and her child. What do u have if they all perish? I couldnt believe what i was reading when i first saw an article about him. The most innocent, defenseless one in that theater, an infant,
      and you leave him just so you can escape. I am still in shock. He can never justify it or
      explain enough to make what he did right.

    • Yolanda

      Oh, shea, I too have spent days feeling like Jamie Rohrs is a coward and this girl should run, but since she will most likely marry him, maybe we should all back off so he can focus on what’s really important – choosing his bridal gown for his big day. Whether he goes with white or ivory, I’m sure he will be a vision. Sadly, he will probably not choose yellow, the perfect color for him.

  • Anthony

    I want to see her dads response to this or even her mothers. In the face of death he parted from his girlfriend and children. ’till death do us part’ is something he proved he wasn’t ready for. If I would never allow this guy to marry my daughter. Oh…and the family….I have GOT to see a response from them. I know they are maaad.

  • http://twitter.com lala

    SO A 19 yr old stranger helped his family to safety while he ditched.them? COWARD! shes dumb for accepting his proposal, there were many stories about ppl saving their loved ones and he is NO hero, feel bad for his family.

  • http://starcasim.net Helloooo

    She should merry Jarell, a real hero. Not the man who pull’s a “George Castanza”!

  • that chick

    he sounds like hes forcing himself to cry and be upset. im sorry it just doesnt sound genuine to me. hes not a hero hes not even close he RAN OUT on his girlfriend and his children..defenseless children who im pretty sure had no idea what was really even going on hes a f**king chickenshit he needs to go somewhere and put his head in the sand because the media giving him all this tv time is just feeding into whatever he beleives he has done great and then hus dumb girlfriend says yes to his proposal…SMDH….wow some poeple

  • Shocked

    what a dbag!!

  • Crys

    While I would never take my 4 month old or 4 year old (& I have a 4 year old daughter) to a12:00a movie, I am no one to judge. I guess I can understand why they would take them. I mean a 4 month old could sleep through a movie and idk what they thought taking a 4 year old to a movie is a good idea…I mean maybe their daughter really loves batman, sure why not? But aside from all that, I could never, in a million years, leave my children in a theater in the face of danger like that. I am sorry what a coward, I would’ve rather died looking for my child or shielding my child than leave my daughter. I would never forgive myself. And a child is so helpless, you on the other hand are an adult. While I don’t really care what his girlfriend said to his proposal, sharing his story and making it seem like he did something heroic is annoying. Oh whoop de doo he proposed after, what a great guy! (note the sarcasm) I am happy to hear the children are ok, NO THANKS to their father.

    • Rb

      Agree with you. Guy needs to go back to his corner and at least man up for what he did. Pure and simple, he abandoned his family in extremely dangerous situation. Thank God none of them were killed.

    • aw

      A midnight showing is something you NORMALLY NOT bring a 4yr and a 4-month old (a 4-month usually will sleep through). What they have said in other interviews… that they just moved to Colorado. New town, no friends. Needed to get out and do something on a Friday night.

  • Whitney

    What a sorry excuse of a man! Stop giving him the attention he craves & give it to the three heroes who died protecting their girlfriends!

  • what?!

    What I hear is, due to the poisonous gas James Holmes dispensed, this man could not readily ‘locate’ his son. OK! But he chose to ‘escape’, leaving his son in the midst of this poisonous gas. Not a single parental protective urge kicked in apparently. Granted, the terror must have been great, but not once did this man, man up and think to protect his family. Instead he chose to save himself. Wife to be, he has told you who he is.
    beware.

  • tammy

    this reminds me of all the housing project fires were the Parents are interviewed welling up with fake tears and not a scratch on them after escaping from a raging fire that takes their childrens lives.

    • tammy

      i would be interveiwed from my hospital bed burnt and hairless.

  • kate

    You’d think after him showing his family that they aren’t worth his life she’d say no to marrying him…

  • Lynn

    He says he couldn’t find a crying baby because it was too dark…well…his girlfriend says she looked over and saw the baby near the isle/stairs and pulled him toward her. Guess it wasn’t too dark for her to find her baby..just for Jamie.

  • Ways2BWicked

    This guy is such a jerk. Why didn’t he at least try to get his family out when the shooting began? His gf should’ve said a big fat ‘NO’! Unbelievable.

  • aw

    Patricia and Jamie have a history together. Went to the same university. They have two beautiful children together.

    A midnight showing is something you NORMALLY NOT bring a 4yr and a 4-month old (a 4-month usually will sleep through). What they have said in other interviews… that they just moved to Colorado. New town, no friends. Needed to get out and do something on a Friday night.

    I don’t agree on his actions. He flat out fended for himself. For heavens sake, these were his children, and the mother of his children. I can’t imagine any father doing that.

    Patricia probably WOULD NOT have accepted his proposal if she had a few weeks to let all this harrowing drama died down first. But he asked her at the hospital. It’s only so much stuff you could take in.

    She probably knows it too. Hopefully she’ll reconsider his proposal — don’t marry him.