Grief gives way to excitement as Aurora memorial nears completion

Updated April 2, 2018 - 9:55 am

AURORA, Colo. — Living in the shadow of a mass shooting is hard to shake.

“We’re all pretty tight — I mean, just the city itself,” Theresa Hoover, whose son AJ Boik was killed in the shooting, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “You can talk to any stranger and say, ‘Do you remember the Aurora theater shooting?’ And they’ll go, ‘Yeah.’ And I’m sure it’s the same way in Vegas, too.”

But now, with a memorial due for completion in just a few short months, excitement in Aurora is gradually beginning to stifle the somber lingering of grief.

The journey was not easy. But the city helped.

In the wake of the tragedy, officials created a nonprofit organization solely to collect funds for a future memorial. The organization sat dormant for some time. But when the victims’ families and survivors were ready, the city handed over the reins.

“For us to raise the money by ourselves and go to the different city of Aurora events and connect with people in the way that we did, it was so healing for us,” said Heather Dearman, whose cousin Ashley Moser was left paralyzed and lost her 6-year-old daughter, Veronica, and unborn baby in the shooting.

Right now, the spot where the memorial will stand doesn’t look like much. There is a paved sidewalk that weaves through it and a series of 12 boulders — one for each family who experienced loss. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

But come July, each boulder will be surrounded by flowers, handpicked by the victims’ families. And in the center of the lot, a sweeping public art piece will feature 83 paper-crane sculptures — 12 for the people killed, one for the unborn baby lost and 70 for those injured.

The city of Aurora will maintain the landscaping.

“I think I always thought — and I think my family thought, too — that there needs to be some place other than the theater, and other than across the street from the theater,” Hoover said. “Because that is the last place I ever want to go — ever.”

Instead, the final result is something everyone involved — and the city of Aurora — can be proud of.

“I think it’s a place that we’ll be able to come and have peace and just have some tranquility,” said Heather Bailey, whose young daughter — Veronica’s baby sitter — was wounded in the shooting. “And know that our loved ones are finally at peace.”

Contact Rachel Crosby at or 702-387-5290. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter.

Family members of murder victims talk about their loss
Family members of murder victims talk about their loss. Susan Nash, 52, was killed in a shooting along with her daughter and one of her three sons on Sunday night. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Sayegh Cold Case Turns 40
Cary Sayegh was abducted from the playground of the Albert Einstein Hebrew Day School in Las Vegas in 1978. His body has never been found. (File Photo)
Review held in death of man after encounter with Las Vegas police
The mother of Tashii Brown, who died after an encounter with Las Vegas police on the Strip, not satisfied after public review of evidence. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vehicle of Interest in January Homicide
Las Vegas police released footage Friday of a “vehicle of interest” from a deadly shooting in January. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Hostage escapes clutches of robber before shooting
Metropolitan Police Department footage shows a man wearing a motorcycle helmet, identified by police as 27-year-old Mario B. Trejo, with one arm wrapped around a woman’s neck and held a handgun to her head.
Sunset Park Vigil
A small group of people gathered in Sunset Park to remember the three children recently killed in the area.
Henderson police bodycam footage of officer-involved shooting
Henderson police released body-worn camera footage of an officer-involved shooting in a grocery store parking lot at 2667 Windmill Parkway on Aug. 12, 2018. (Henderson Police Department)
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like