Colorado Shooting Survivors Try to Heal
(AURORA, Colo.) — In the wake of a deadly shooting rampage that has devastated Aurora, Colo., and shocked the nation, the shooting’s survivors are starting to try to put the pieces of their lives back together.
At a small church in Commerce City, about 10 miles outside of Aurora, the family of Jarell Brooks invited the family of Patricia Legarreta to join them at the New Life Worship Center, where Brooks’ father is the pastor.
Legarreta was attending the sold-out midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises at a mall in Aurora on Friday with her fiance, 4-year-old daughter and infant son when suspected gunman James Holmes allegedly opened fire on the packed movie theater, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.
When Brooks, 19, saw Legarreta struggling to get herself and her children out of the theater, he helped guide them to the door and got shot in the leg in the process.
Brooks and Legarreta were reunited for the first time on Good Morning America Saturday and their families came together again at church on Sunday.
Legarreta attended the church service with her fiancé Jamie Rohrs, her children and her mother. Brooks did not attend because of his injured leg, but his parents, Pastor Jeffrey Brooks and Deidra Brooks, led the service.
“I don’t know how long it’ll take for the hurt and pain to end,” Jeffrey Brooks said to the congregation of about 40 people. “But what I do know is if you put your trust in God, everything will be alright.”
“I’m glad New Life is not planning a funeral this morning,” he said. “It could have been worse.”
The floor of the small church shook from the soulful music, jumping, cheering and dancing.
Legarreta and her family were brought to the front of the church to be introduced and Rohrs was overcome with emotion when Deidra Brooks gave him a tight hug.
“We’ll be here for you,” Pastor Brooks told the family. “You don’t get much closer than that.”
Deidra Brooks told that family and the congregation that they should disregard the online criticism about why the family took such young children to a movie showing and to believe that God had a plan for the family.
“It felt really good to just hear encouraging words from the pastor and it’s a blessing just to be able to praise God,” a choked up Rohrs told ABC News after the service.
Deidra Brooks said her son is in pain, both mentally and physically.
“Emotionally, he’s at a point where he tries to make jokes … but he’s not sleeping well,” she told ABC News. “He doesn’t want to watch any of the news stuff. He hasn’t watched TV at all.”
She said her son no longer wants to play his video games, especially games that involve combat.
“I’m still concerned about him. I want him to be able to come out of the house,” Brooks said. She is planning to set her son up with a counselor or therapist to help him.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio