Houstonian uninjured in Aurora shooting speaks out

July 23, 2012 8:49:33 PM PDT
A monster -- that's how a Houston man who was in the Aurora, Colorado theater that night describes the man who opened fire. He was sitting just two rows behind the shooter.

Omar Esparza, 20, says he is still in shock and has not fully processed what took place before his eyes. The night after the shooting, he woke up a pool of sweat, even screaming in his sleep and says he will never be the same.

"He shot everybody in the first row and he shot everybody in the second row. But the third row for some reason, he didn't shoot," Esparza said.

Esparza was sitting in the third row during the Batman premiere. The Houstonian was on a weeklong trip to visit in a friend in Colorado. Their big night out turned into a nightmare.

"The bullets were so loud and the smoke bomb was incredibly loud as well, and all the screaming and the pandemonium, ya know my heart was going," Esparza said.

Ten feet away as James Holmes unleashed his AR-15 shooting on more than 70 people, the college student couldn't believe what was happening.

"I could see all the bodies just sort of being dragged by the bullets and sort of being thrown every which way," Esparza said.

Esparza says he went into panic mode. He and his friend just got down on the floor, and began crawling through the aisle.

Finally the shooting stopped.

"I couldn't tell if it was jammed or if he was reloading but you could hear something clicking, but the bullets had stopped. That's when I told myself, that if I'm going to survive, this is the only chance that I have," Esparza said.

Unscathed physically, Esparza made it out. But his mind, he says, will forever be altered. A third row seat to the worst mass shooting in American history has opened his eyes to a new reality.

"But I know now first hand that anyone's fortune, anyone's luck, can change instantaneously and that we have to do what we can, but ultimately this illusion of control is ultimately that -- just an illusion," Esparza said.

Esparza also says he's not sure not sure he'll ever go to a theatre again. He says after what he witnessed it would bring to many visions, be believes his mind is already trying to suppress.


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