Grievers Gather At Shooting Memorial

Trying To Make Sense Of Shooting That Killed 12

Aurora mother Jacqueline Arciniega sheltered her two daughters under an umbrella Saturday morning from the sun.

What she didn't want to shield them from was a memorial site set up across the street from Century 16 -- and more importantly what it meant.

She used the opportunity to teach her girls, ages 3 and 5 years, how to show compassion and to pray.

"She asked what happened here, why those guys did those things," Arciniega said, holding her oldest daughter to her side. "It's really bad what happened here."

Sitting in the grass and sand at South Sable Blvd. and Exposition Ave. they read Psalms 91 and 92 while others slowly joined them.

At the memorial was a sign saying those lost to Friday's gunman were "lost, but not forgotten." Below the cardboard sign was a menagerie of stuffed animals and bouquets of flowers. Dozens of religious candles of Mary, Jesus and different saints burned to the wick.

Throughout the morning people came to pay respect to the 12 who died Friday from gunshot wounds after a man entered the midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," tossed out a gas canister and began randomly shooting audience members. The gunman wore body armor, used an assault rifle, a shotgun and a Glock handgun, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said.

Police arrested a suspect shortly after the attack. A 24-year-old Aurora man identified as James Holmes told officers after his arrest about possible explosives in his apartment. Saturday federal and local officers found the living room littered with about 30 softball-sized improvised explosive devices, according to a bomb technician at the scene.

Witnesses described the scene, which broke out minutes after the movie began, as terrifying.

For friends and family, waiting to hear back from loved ones was also excruciating.

Sarah Fradkin, 13, said she woke up Friday to her brother crying. He was too distraught to say why at first.

"He was like an older brother," she said, one she's known her entire life.

When her family moved to the area Alex Sullivan was her brother's first friend, she said, and has been like family since. Sullivan was someone who didn't hesitate to play games with children - even Barbies with Fradkin's younger sister. She described him as someone who would leave a cone-shaped birthday hat on the entire party.

And he loved movies - especially ones with super heroes.

Sullivan would question what his purpose in life was, Fradkin said. It's obvious to her he was meant to save lives.

"When the bullets were shot, he got up and covered the girls around him," Fradkin said. "He took bullet in the back."

She's grateful for the outpouring of support from the entire community and said Sullivan's family has been getting supportive calls nonstop.

"Even saying 'I'm sorry and I hope everything gets better,'" Fradkin said. "That's one more prayer than we had."

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