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Brooklyn theaters take precautions post-Aurora shooting

Brooklyn movie theaters have been buckling down in wake of the deadly “Dark Knight” massacre at an Aurora, Col. multiplex on July 20 where shots rang out approximately 20 minutes into the midnight premiere, hitting 71 innocent moviegoers, 12 of whom perished.

Police presence has been heavy at theaters across the country in fear of copycat incidents and shooters trying to out-do the acts of accused perpetrator 24-year-old James Holmes, currently in custody and awaiting trial.

“They are here at 8:30 a.m. and leave when we leave at 1:45 a.m.,” said James Gerosavas, a manager at the Alpine Cinemas on Fifth Avenue at Bay Ridge Avenue, of the heavy police activity surrounding the local theater. “Periodically they come in and check everything out.”

According to a police source on the scene, the crowds have been normal and the movie has generated a typical turnout.

Employees at the Alpine theater weren’t so sure.

“Opening weekend wasn’t as busy as we expected,” said employee Chris Sahad. “But you never know if it’s because of the shooting or not.”

According to employee Justin Heredia, the police presence has definitely helped to comfort viewers, still shaken up.

Pierre Hechme said that the tragedy did not stop him from seeing the flick. “I just saw it Monday night,” he said. “I was good.”

The same went for 23-year-old Sean Greany who attended a showing of the third installment of the Batman trilogy in its opening weekend at the Alpine.

“I wasn’t freaked out at all,” he said. “But I couldn’t help but feel a vibe whenever someone in the movie opened fire.”

These unsettling feelings still remain with many moviegoers at other Brooklyn theaters, even in spite of the police protection.

“There were a lot of people talking about it [the shooting] while sitting in the theater,” said 21-year-old Laura Maguire, after a showing Monday afternoon at the U.A. Sheepshead Bay theater on Shore Parkway.

Warner Bros., the production company behind the film, released this statement regarding the tragedy: “Warner Bros. is deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time.”

City officials extended the same sympathies, and some are going even further.

“President Obama and Governor Romney have offered sympathy for the victims of the Aurora shooting spree, but no solutions for dealing with the 34 Americans who are murdered with guns every single day,” said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement.

Borough President Marty Markowitz agreed.

“The massacre in Aurora highlights once again the terrible consequences of our country’s love affair with guns,” he said in a statement. “All of Brooklyn joins the nation and the world in mourning the innocent lives lost, and we pray for the full recovery of the dozens of wounded victims in this senseless national tragedy.”

Brooklynite Christopher Rapoza of Prospect Heights/Crown Heights was one of those hospitalized in Aurora following the shooting.

While precautions are being taken close to home, according to a police source, larger theaters like the U.A. are more of a concern than a “small neighborhood theater in Bay Ridge.”

And the end of the day, some Brooklynites just aren’t scared.

“I think in the end, the movie served as a good escape from reality,” said Greany. “[With the police protection] I don’t think people have to be afraid to see the movie.”

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