AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– The Century Aurora theater reopened to shooting survivors and victims’ families with a special remembrance ceremony on Thursday evening.
A gunman stormed Theater 9 in what was then the Century 16 Theater in Aurora on July 20, 2012 and shot and killed 12 people and left 58 others injured during a midnight showing of “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.”
James Holmes has been charged with more than 160 counts of murder and attempted murder.
Thursday evening the theater’s owner, Cinemark, planned a remembrance ceremony which will be attended by Gov. John Hickenlooper, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan and the CEO of Cinemark.
Also among those attending will be the first responders.
“We have incidents throughout the city that have special memories for us so each firefighter has feelings on how it would be to come back here or many other places,” said Aurora Fire Department Capt. Allen Robnett.
The theater has been renamed Century Aurora and much of the interior has been altered in a $1 million renovation. However, some remark that no amount of restoration can undo the tragedy that took place last summer.
The event has been a source of controversy with some family members of those who died claiming Cinemark has not shown compassion.
“Cinemark has never offered their condolences to our family to any of the victims. It seems they want to use us as a stepping stone to boost ticket sales for the grand reopening to the public,” said Jessica Watts, who lost a cousin in the shooting.
A number of lawsuits have been filed in federal court against Cinemark claiming that a lack of security played a role in the shooting.
The company has called what happened “unpredictable.”
Some of those deeply impacted said they will attend the remembrance ceremony on Thursday, including Tom Sullivan who lost his son, Alex.
“We’re not going to allow people to take things away from us. This is our community. We’re not going to allow you to take it away. These are things that Alex and I enjoyed doing that he enjoyed doing with us,” said Sullivan.
The theater will offer free admission to the movies this weekend, Friday through Sunday, and will permanently reopen on Jan. 25.