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January 4th, 2013
07:39 AM ET

Jessica Watts, cousin of Aurora shooting victim, boycotts theater opening: the invitation is 'almost unspeakable'

Five months after the tragic shooting massacre at a movie theater in Colorado, families of victims are outraged over a plan to reopen the theatre. Twelve people died and 58 people were injured when a gunman opened fire inside the Century 16 movie theater Aurora, Colorado on July 20 of last year. Cinemark, the owner, plans to reopen the theater in two weeks. The opening reception will feature a special "remembrance ceremony", followed by a movie screening. Families were invited but several family members are furious that such an event is happening in the first place. Jessica Watts is the cousin of Jonathan Blunk, a victim of the shooting at Aurora who died using his body to shield his girlfriend from the bullets. Watts is disgusted by the gesture.

She didn’t personally receive the invitation, which was forwarded from a victim’s assistance group to some of the families, but she read it. “It was very painful to read,” Watts says, “because there are twelve people, and one of those being my cousin, who absolutely paid the final ticket price with their lives.” She also says survivors have difficulty being anywhere near the theater. “It was almost unspeakable that they would give us this invitation, like it was a Hollywood premier.”

Her main issue with Cinemark is that they had never reached out to the victims before this “to offer sympathies, condolences or support,” she says. “And we have never had communication with them. But they went ahead and gave us this invitation.” She and eight other families have since written to Cinemark and decided to “boycott, not only the Aurora Cinemark, but all Cinemarks.”

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