July 20th, 2012
10:50 PM ET

Couple who saw movie with baby to marry

A couple who were in the Aurora, Colorado, theater when a gunman opened fire early Friday told CNN's Piers Morgan that their day ended on a happy note with a marriage proposal.

Patricia Legarreta said Jamie Rohrs popped the question at the hospital after the shooting.

"He said, 'I know this isn’t the time or the place, but will you marry me,' and I said, 'yes,'" Legarreta said.

The couple gained attention in the immediate aftermath of the shootings that left 12 dead and 58 injured because they went to the midnight show of "The Dark Knight Rises" with Legarreta's 4-year-old daughter and their 4-month-old son.

Morgan opened his interview with the couple, saying CNN viewers wanted to know why they would take such young children to a midnight movie.

“I take my kids to the movies all the time,” Legarreta said. "My 4-year-old daughter loves Batman. We were excited."

It was to be a night out for the family that had just moved to the area from New Mexico, she said.

"We decided last-minute to go and get tickets and go as a family to the movies," Legarreta said.

What ensued was a nightmare.

Rohrs described how he lost 4-month-old Ethan in the darkness, gunfire and smoke in the theater and how he had to decide whether to search for the baby or escape the theater himself. He chose the latter.

"Just pray that he won’t kill your 4-month-old," an emotional and shaken Rohrs said he thought as he fled the theater.

Once outside, he debated going back in to find the rest of his family, but then he thought they may be out and he could leave the children orphans if they did get out and he went back in and was killed.

"Just please let them get out alive. I don’t want to live if they all die," Rohrs said he thought to himself.

He later found out Legaretta was able to gather both kids as she escaped the theater, suffering a minor bullet wound in the process.

Legaretta said she feared the worst for Rohrs.

"Going through 10 minutes of thinking he was dead and I’d never see him again, you don’t want that feeling again," she said as to why she welcomed the marriage proposal.

Are infants too young for late-night movies?

How to talk to your kids about shootings

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Filed under: Colorado • Crime
soundoff (324 Responses)
  1. klm

    on another note- I read an article recently about whether the well known maxim of "women and children fist" is actually followed aboard sinking ships. It generally is NOT followed. Every individual have there own survival instinct but not everyone has a martyr instinct that kicks in for some act of heroism. I think most are judging too harshly on this.

    July 28, 2012 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jim

    I suppose it's easy to stand back and throw stones at people. He did the right thing. The stupid thing would have been to go back in and continue looking. It doesn't make him a coward. He's a survivor. They got separated and it would have served no purpose for him to look for them and put his life at risk. He was unarmed and in a chaotic situation. Shame on you for judging others. You don't have the right to judge him.

    July 28, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. annie

    Parents are charged with child endangerment for doing less.

    July 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. pgcounty

    This man actually displayed cowardice behavior. How can he be memoralized in the news in this manner? This man left his own 4 month old child in the theater, not knowing that the mother had actually saved the kids. But, not knowing, he abandoned his own family. The fact that he proposed to his girfriend after it was all over was a rouse to escape the embarrassment of what he had done. What's going to happen next time he abandons his family?

    July 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jackie

    Wow....people are acting like he intentionally put his children and girlfriend in harms way. How callous can you be? no one could have known this would have happend. It's easy to say the guy left his children there, but the panic in that moment is something that most people don't have to experience...it's easy to say what you would do if you never been in that situation before. I have a daughter and I can't imagine what that guy must have felt.

    July 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leila

      Hmmmmmmm.....but you see the mother did NOT leave that theater without her children. A real parents instinct is to PROTECT their children even at the cost of their own lives. I couldnt imagin leaving my family to escape danger. NO WAY

      July 30, 2012 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Violet Weed

      Who'd want a husband who would run away from his baby? He's not worth 2 cents. As others have said, he is a coward and he proved it clearly. Sad that it happened during such a terrible event but if the mother of his child actually marries him, she better be prepared to 'run the family' because HE has proven he will RUN AWAY. I wouldn't take him on a bet.

      July 30, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. Patrick

    Wow... what a piece of human garbage. This COWARD ran out and left his defenseless children in the theater? I can't believe she was idiotic enough to say yes! Good luck with your cowardly husband ma'am.

    July 28, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jessy

    It's really not a big deal that he took his kids to the movie...People are making way too much of that...Seriously, parents have made worse decisions...

    But what really gets me is that he LEFT them behind to be slaughtered...inexcusable...

    July 29, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. DP

    So was everyone who got separated from their families on the way out supposed to go back in and mill about like carnival ducks?

    July 29, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. man up!

    As a husband and a father of 2 girls, THIS MANS ACTIONS SICKENS ME!

    July 30, 2012 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kevin Nivek

    Let's hope nobody ever breaks into their house – Ol' Nerves of Steel there will just use the wife and kids as human shields while he flees for the nearest exit. You have to hear the audio of this pansy trying to justify his cowardice. He is pathetic. And so is she for marrying him. But then, maybe she's doing it because now she holds all the cards – what kind of power could this loser ever have over her in an argument. She wins every time she responds with "You ditched us in a theater in the middle of a shooting, you loser."

    July 30, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ahmed

    This guy will spend the rest of his life wishing he had not ran out without his kids and for that I pity him. Regardless of this moment of cowardice, lets just hope he proves to be a better man moving forward and wish them luck.

    July 30, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. rob breisch

    if ever there was not a reason to marry someone-this is it! He abandons her and the kids to save himself-thats not a parent or a person I'd marry! To love,honor,protect-but he ran!
    Good lord lady-use your common sense!

    July 30, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  13. rob breisch

    I have to honestly say that as a Army vet-I would have shielded as many from harm risking my own life before running out the door-if I was unable to stop this man to begin with.It sickens me what reasons young adults use to get married!

    July 30, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. Confused

    If my boyfriend left me and my children in the movies with a guy shooting, he would not by any means become my husband! The fact that he left them, speaks volumes. She should "run" away from this guy and never marry him, Its shameful to even think he left his family.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. thomas


    July 30, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
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