AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Many family members of the Aurora theater shooting victims are angry with how slowly it’s taking to get money donated to help them, so 4 On Your Side Investigator Rick Sallinger wanted to get Gov. John Hickenlooper’s reaction to the families’ complaints.
Hickenlooper said he was heartsick over the controversy and felt the victims should have a voice, if not a vote, in the process.
Jarrell Brooks, 18, could be dead, or maybe he could have made it out of the theater without a scratch. He was shot in the leg while saving the life of a woman and her children he didn’t know. He said he doesn’t have any regrets.
“You never regret knowing that a life was saved because of actions you have done,” Brooks said.
On Tuesday Brooks’ family members and those of many other victims told reporters they are unhappy with the way the money from donations is being distributed.
“They have a good reason to be angry. You’d think they’ve been through this much, they would get what they deserve from it,” Brooks said. “But people are still trying to hinder them and the legal system is always trying to get on you, trying to get that much more.”
He expressed concern, not for himself, but for those who lost loved ones in the shooting.
On Wednesday Hickenlooper responded to the criticism from the victims’ families.
“I guess the lawyers felt there would be a conflict of interest by having the victims involved,” Hickenlooper said. “We suggested, and we don’t get to control this, but we suggested a couple weeks ago that there should be the victims’ voice on this.”
“To say to them that, ‘You don’t have a say, or that we’ll find someone to speak for you as to how we’ll use this money to help you’ … it’s victimizing, it’s belittling, and it’s a shame,” Jarrell Brooks’s family member Deidra Brooks said.
They have found the road to recovery to be a difficult one.
Deidra Brooks had words of thanks to the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance, which took a lot of abuse during Tuesday’s news conference from the victims’ families. She said her son has received a $5,000 check from COVA and the organization has paid one of their large outstanding bills.