For one South Florida man, news of Friday morning’s shooting was especially frightening. Some of his loved ones were inside theater number nine.
AJ Billapando’s brother, sister-in-law and friends are all in Colorado, and early Friday, they went to the midnight showing of the new Batman movie.
“It’s like terror, anger, I was really, really mad,” he said.
He got the call from his mother in Denver Friday.
“I started crying right away,” he said. “I hadn’t cried in years, and that was the first time I really broke down, and I was just like really scared.”
His brother, Bryson Billapando, was okay, but Bryson’s wife, Toni, was hit by something in the mouth.
“I remember her like grabbing on to me, shaking, and I look over and she’s bleeding, and like right after that was the second gunshot and we hit the floor,” Bryson Billapando said in a phone interview.
When his brother found out, he immediately turned to social media. He posted a message on Facebook asking people to donate blood.
“There’s a lot of blood loss, they need blood donated,” he said.
Then, he set up a website to raise money for the victims.
“You know, we’ve got to put our differences aside and stuff like that, and really just get together and help each other out,” he said.
AJ Billapando also has two friends who were also there. They were both shot. One had his kidney removed, the other friend had her spleen removed.