A 19-year-old man stepped up when he saw a young mother and her children in danger the night of the Batman premier theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Jarell Brooks is by all accounts a hero, but he doesn’t want you to think of him that way. However, he very possibly saved three lives early Friday morning, and for that, he deserves the highest praise one can get.
Brooks and Patricia Legarreta, the woman whose life he saved, reunited on Good Morning America yesterday to talk about their experiences. Legarreta said she doesn’t remember everything that happened but is aware that without Brooks, she and her children would not be alive today.
Brooks said that he didn’t know that James Eagan Holmes had entered the theater until he saw and heard the gunshots because he was just six rows from back of the theater. He obviously didn’t realize that Legarreta’s boyfriend (now fiancé), Jamie Rohrs, had run out after leaving four-month-old Ethan on the floor after panicking. All he saw during the chaos and the smoke was a woman struggling to get her scared children out of harm’s way.
Legarreta’s four-year-old daughter, Azeria, was asleep when the shooting began, so when she woke up, she was disoriented. She fell in the process of trying to escape because of that, and Legarreta described tearfully how she did what she could to get her out. “Just blocking her, shoving her, just making sure she’s not getting hurt,” she said, obviously distraught and shaken at the thought of how close she came to losing her children that night.
Brooks was on his way out the door and was at the end of the aisle when he saw her. “My kids!” she yelled, and the teenager knew what he had to do. “My goal was to get this family out, without getting hit myself. I managed to do one.” Both he and Legarreta were hit by the gunman’s bullets.
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