After Escaping Aurora Shooting, Local Teens Find Relief in Colorado Rockies

After surviving the traumatic shooting at a Colorado movie theater, San Rafael residents Linnea and Melia Schurig are finding solace by enjoying the Colorado Rockies.

Two local teens who survived the rampage at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., that killed 12 people and wounded 58, are recovering from the incident by relaxing in the Colorado mountains, their mom said.

"This has been a pretty traumatic experience and we're taking a few days to heal and enjoy the beauty of the Colorado Rockies," Melanie Haiken said in a message.

Nineteen-year-old Melia Schurig and 16-year-old Linnea Schurig of San Rafael were sitting in a screening theater adjacent to the one where accused shooter James Holmes opened fire early Friday morning.

The Schurig sisters narrowly escaped injury in the shooting, and one of their friends suffered a gunshot wound in his arm, according to reports. The girls told KTVU that "everything they endured is still sinking in."

While their friend who was injured was released from the hospital, Haiken would not comment on the girls' emotional state.

"We are grateful that the girls and their friends were among the lucky ones who escaped, but at the same time we're mourning the lives lost and the terrible injuries others have suffered," Haiken said.

Haiken and the sisters were visiting Colorado for the annual convention FRIENDS: The National Association of Young People Who Stutter. Linnea, who has a stutter, has been attending the organziation's conventions since she was 7 years old.

On the night of the shooting, their theater shared a wall with Theater 9 where the shooter opened fire. Melia and Linnea told The Marin Independent Journal that, about a half-hour into the film, a bullet fragment came through the wall and struck their 18-year-old male friend, who was sitting one row behind them, in the arm.

"I heard him say 'oh my God'...we all turned around and he had a giant hole in his forearm and it was just pouring blood right off of him," Linnea Schurig told KTVU.

At that point the teens, along with 10 friends, ran out of the theater. Melia and Linnea ran into the parking lot and hid behind a parked car, but they had to help their friend who had been shot in the arm, as he kept blacking out from the loss of blood and had difficulty running.

As they ran, the sisters said they could hear people shouting everywhere around them, they told KTVU.

"There were a lot of people yelling, 'My husband's dead. My boyfriend's dead. Somebody call the cops! Somebody call my parents,'" Linnea Schurig said. "And people were yelling, ‘There's a shooter! There's a shooter!'"

Linnea told the Marin Independent Journal she saw a frantic mother running, carrying her baby who had been shot in the leg.

Melanie Haiken, the sisters' mother, was at their Aurora hotel and told the IJ she looked down at her phone one moment and noticed she had missed five calls in a period of a few moments from her daughters.

She called them back immediately and they told her they were on their way back to the hotel, but that their friend had been rushed to the hospital in an ambulance to have surgery on his arm.

Now that the terrible night is over, the sisters say they feel remorse for the victims and lucky to be alive.

View video interviews with the two sisters on KTVU's website here.


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