Colorado theater shooting hits home for area family

July 21, 2012 5:54:19 AM PDT
Moviegoers expected action on screen, not a life and death situation involving gunfire and tear gas.

An armed man opened fire in a suburban Denver movie theater Friday, creating mass chaos. A dozen families are mourning and countless others trying to heal loved ones as a nation asks, why?

Friday's shooting happened in a small Denver suburb, but the tragedy hit home for one Houston area family that came close to losing one of their own.

Margaret Fussell was in Colorado on Saturday. She traveled there to be with her sister, who survived the shooting. It was early Friday morning when she got the call that changed everything.

"The only thing that went through my mind is, 'Is she alive? Is she OK?'" she said.

Fussell woke up to a phone call she never imagined. Her younger sister, Patricia Lagretta, had been shot while at the movies with her two children, and her boyfriend.

"It's just hard, because I didn't know, if she was alive, or if she was badly, severely wounded like other people," Fussell said.

As Lagretta, her four-year-old daughter, newborn baby and boyfriend were trying to escape, she was hit in the leg and wondering if her family would survive.

"At that moment, I was just remember thinking, I'm not going to die in here, me and my kids are not going to die in here, I need to get them out," she said. "And then there was a moment when my daughter tripped and I was just dragging her out, just thinking we just got to get out. It was so horrible."

Amidst the chaos, Colorado teenager Jarell Brooks saw Lagretta, and went to help. He guided the family to safety, but not before being hit in the leg with a bullet.

"I don't want to say hero necessarily, I was just in the wrong place at the right time -- that's all I can say," Brooks said.

But Brooks' actions were heroic to Lagaretta, and especially her sister Fussell.

"It's one of those things where you don't think it's going to happen to you and then it happens," Fussell said.

Legarreta's two children and now fiance were amazingly not injured. We've learned her boyfriend proposed just hours after the shooting.

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