Stefan Moton, paralyzed in shooting at Aurora's Century 16, files lawsuit against theater owner

Stefan Moton, who was paralyzed from the chest down in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting, has filed a lawsuit against theater owner Century Theatres, Inc. Like other lawsuits filed by victims, Moton's claim alleges that the theater was lacking in security, allowing a gunman to prop open an emergency exit, leave the theater and return with "a virtual arsenal of weapons." It also states that while the gunman was shooting, no alarm was activated and no security personnel responded. Instead, the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises kept playing on the screen.

Moton was one of many people shot that night. In all, twelve people were killed and seventy more were wounded; suspect James Holmes was arrested for the crime and could face the death penalty if convicted. A bullet caused severe damage to Moton's cervical spine, leaving him paralyzed, according to the lawsuit.

Several other victims have filed lawsuits against theater owner Cinemark, which owns Century Theatres, Inc. The Century theater where the shooting took place reopened in January 2013, six months after the tragic shooting -- a move that angered some victims.

In his lawsuit, Moton notes that there had been previous violent incidents "near the theater" including "at least one shooting involving gang members." He states that the theater regularly hired security guards for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights but did not hire them for the Thursday night/Friday morning midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, 2012, even though it "was expecting large crowds of people to attend."

Moton's lawsuit further alleges that after the gunman stopped firing, theater personnel "took no action to assist the injured." It took law enforcement several minutes to arrive, the lawsuits notes, and "during the entirety of that time, the movie continued playing and the house lights remained very low or off."

Watch a 9News report about Moton and read his lawsuit below.

Stefan Moton v. Century Theatres Inc.

More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archives: "Aurora theater shooting trial postponed: Victim Marcus Weaver disappointed by delay."

Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com

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