The shooting spree this morning in a Colorado movie theater quickly sent shockwaves, affecting security and moviegoers across the country including Orange County.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will be on heightened alert, and at least one movie chain has issued a partial ban on costumes.
“Although the tragic incident in Aurora, Colorado this morning appears to be isolated, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department is on heightened alert. Our deputies will have an increased presence at local entertainment venues and other large gathering places,” said Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. “We are actively reaching out to local movie theaters to review their safety protocol, as well as ensuring our first responders are properly equipped with necessary resources should a similar incident occur.”
In light of the shooting spree in a Colorado movie theater during the premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises," the large movie chain AMC Theaters has issued a ban on certain costumes and props on their property.
"We will not admit guests with face-concealing masks and we will not allow fake weapons in the buildings," said an official announcement on the AMC Theaters Facebook page. "We want all our guests to feel comfortable at our theatres and we will be closely monitoring.
One of the villains in the latest Batman movie wears a partially-concealing facemask, as do many of the heroes in the film. According to media reports, alleged Colorado gunman James Holmes was wearing a gasmask that hid his face during the massacre. Reports that Holmes had dyed his hair to resemble Batman villain The Joker were not confirmed by Aurora, CO police.
Regal Cinemas, which owns the Edwards Theaters and is one of the most prominent theater groups in Orange County, issued a statement on its Facebook site on Friday morning, which at 9:50 p.m. was its most recent comment: "We are profoundly saddened by the tragedy that occurred at a Denver area theatre and are concerned for the victims and their families. The security and safety of our guests and staff is always our number one priority. As is our custom, we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our security needs as necessary. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families."
Patch stopped by the Edwards Aliso Viejo Stadium 20 & IMAX to gauge reaction.
Anthony Gutierrez, 20, brought his two nephews to the noon showing and said he thought about not going when he heard the news.
“You never know what could happen. I feel responsible for these guys," said Gutierrez of his nephews. "It's kind of crazy but there were no problems and the movie was awesome."
Chuck Ballister said he wasn't about to let one incident ruin his movie-going experience, but it also pays to be aware.
"If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. You can't let something like that dictate your life," he said. "You just have to be smart and alert."