Aurora Won't Let Shooting Define City

Councilwoman Says Goal To Define Aurora By Response To Tragedy

Aurora City Councilwoman Molly Markert says there will always be some people who think of a mass shooting when they hear the word "Aurora."

“That’s natural,” she said. “New Orleans, Katrina. I mean, things are linked together, events and places.”

But Markert told 7NEWS that Aurora, which has worked long and hard to change its image, has a chance to move beyond “the place where a mass shooting occurred.”

“I think our goal isn’t to define Aurora by one event or one circumstance,” she said, “but how we evolve and how we deal with it. How we cope with it and what we do about it.”

She said police are working hard, with help from federal investigators to put a case together.

She also said that residents of the All American city are reaching out to help those affected by the tragedy.

On Tuesday, Aurora auto dealer Ed Bozarth donated $50,000 to the victims of the tragedy and to the first responders.

Mayor Steve Hogan called it the spirit of Aurora and the spirit of the west.

“When their neighbors need help, they help their neighbors. They don’t ask how or why, they just do it,” Hogan said.

Aurora resident C.J. Kleck said the tragedy doesn’t define the city.

Kleck moved to Aurora three days ago to take a job on the Anschutz campus at the University of Colorado.

“Coming from Tucson, it felt a little bit like déjà vu,” Kleck said. “I lived there when Gabrielle Giffords got shot.”

Kleck said Tucson residents pulled together following the Giffords shooting and he sees the same thing happening in Aurora.

When asked if the theater shootings will hurt Aurora long-term, Markert thought for a second, then said, “No. What Aurora will be is a model city for how you respond to tragedies like this.”

Markert said Aurora has reached out to Virginia Tech and to other communities touched by similar tragedies to find how best to deal with the hurt.

She said the city has had experience with tragedy before. In 1993, a 19-year old man who’d been laid off from his job at a Chuck E Cheese pizza parlor returned to the store and shot and killed three co-workers and their manager.

Nathan Dunlap was convicted of murder and is on death row.

Markert said the Chuck E Cheese shootings didn’t define Aurora then, and that the theater shootings won’t define Aurora now.

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