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.”
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.