For El Pasoans watching the first screenings of "The Dark Knight Rises," the excitement of seeing this highly anticipated film was overshadowed by the shocking news that a gunman walked into an Aurora, Colo. theater and shot dozens of people.
An ABC-7 photographer was at the Tinseltown movie theater in East El Paso around 2:45 a.m. Friday as the first screening ended to get moviegoers' reaction and reviews of the latest in the Batman trilogy.
It was when our photographer was there that news broke about the mass deadly shooting outside Denver.
Police in Aurora, Colo., say at least 12 people were killed and about 50 wounded when a gunman walked to the front of a theater, threw a tear gas canister into the crowd and opened fire 30 minutes into the movie.
"Honestly, it was really nice here. I didn't really see any problems," said one El Paso man. "There were a couple of cops here that I saw go into the theater, but you never really thought about it because it was structured well."
Another man was clearly disturbed by the news.
"If it can happen in Denver, it can happen anywhere," he said. "Hopefully, something like that doesn't happen. It ... truly is not right that did happen."
Cinemark, which owns the Century 16 theater where the massacre happened and two theaters in El Paso, released a statement in response to the incident.
"Cinemark is deeply saddened about this tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and loved ones, our employees, and the Aurora community. We are grateful for the quick and professional reaction of all local law enforcement and emergency responders. Cinemark is working closely with the Aurora Police Department and local law enforcement," the statement read.
El Paso Police officials and moviegoers told ABC-7 officers were in theaters prior to and during the screening, but it was for crowd control.
All regional commanders made aware of the incident
El Paso Police officials said most, if not all El Paso area theaters hire off-duty officers for security and police will not be dedicating any resources to theaters.