Mother of 6-year-old killed in Aurora theater massacre files federal lawsuit against theater

DENVER - The mother of the youngest victim in the Aurora movie theater shooting last year has filed suit against the Century Aurora 16 in Federal Court.

Ashley Moser's 6-year-old daughter Veronica Moser-Sullivan was killed in the July 20 attack and Ashley was wounded.

Ten other lawsuits have been filed against the theater previously.  What is significant in the Moser lawsuit is that it cites previous incidents of crime that the lawsuit contends should have prompted the theater and owner Cinemark to beef up security.

The gunman in the theater attack was able to prop open an outside exit door from the theater without any security alarm going off or closed circuit television seeing his actions.

Moser's lawsuit cites 26 previous incidents including shootings, armed robberies and stabbings at movie theaters.  It also cites an FBI statement that al Qaeda terrorists had considered targeting movie theaters for attacks.

The "defendants knew or should have known there was a danger that a customer or customers at the Century 16 theater complex might be subjected to a violent act on the premises," Moser's suit states.

"A mass assault is not an event that a commercial enterprise should have to plan for as one that is likely to occur," Cinemark attorney John Roach said when a previous lawsuit was filed. "Prior ordinary crimes (at the theater) cannot put Cinemark on notice that mass murder is likely to occur."

Moser's lawsuit said the theater had previously hired security but failed to do so for the midnight premier of the latest Batman movie.

"Prior to July 20, 2012, in response to the foreseeable danger of criminal activity at the Century 16 theater complex, the Defendants would regularly hire security personnel, including armed, uniformed, off-duty Aurora police officers, on weekend nights. But, for the midnight premier of 'The Dark Knight Rises,'  the Defendants hired no security personnel at all, even though the Defendants knew that a very large crowd was expected for the well-publicized midnight premier," the suit states.

"The gunman would not have gone forward with his attack on the Century 16 theater complex if he had seen armed security personnel at the theater complex that night," Moser's suit continues.

The suit also alleges the theater placed an alarm on a door leading from the back parking lot to a projection booth in a different theater but didn't alarm the door leading from the backing parking lot to the theater where the shooting took place, "therefore, the gunman was able to use the back door to Auditorium 9 to commit his attack, without being detected."

Moser's lawsuit alleges that "one of the reasons the gunman chose this particular theater complex as the place for his attack was that he could use the back door to leave and re-enter Auditorium 9 carrying an arsenal of weapons, without being detected."

Twelve people died in the attack and 70 others were either wounded or injured.  The injuries ranged from serious gunshot wounds causing brain injuries and paralysis to minor gunshot and shotgun pellet wounds .  Other injuries included chemical irritation from tear gas grenades and injuries suffered as fleeing people fell.

Moser was paralyzed in the hail of gunfire and lost her unborn child as a result of being shot.

Previous court testimony indicated the alleged gunman actually had a ticket for Theater 8, rather than Theater 9 but the only thing preventing him from going to the theater he targeted was a ticket taker.