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.

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

    sick of this dude's blubbering! Why are these two on the news anyways besides to show how ignorant they are!!! I feel for the victims of this tragedy and for the poor kids these two have!

    July 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. richellelj

    PATRICIA, LISTEN TO ME. You are a good mother that put her own children's lives ahead of her own. You are a strong woman and a heroine in your own right. Do not marry this sorry excuse of a man. I know you feel that you have two children and feel vulnerable and alone without a ring and a husband, but there are PLENTY of other fish in the sea that would love to have a woman like you – and more importantly, DESERVE to have a woman like you. Do not settle for this piece of garbage just because you have a child together. You will regret it immensely.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. GarciaTX9


    July 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • MMR

      I dont think I could stay with a man that left me and his children- I never saw any other articles on this but good for the young man that helped the mother and 2 children. What a shame that the father throught to leave his child- men were shielding their girlfriends- friends shielding friends- and strangers taking bullets for strangers- and this man leaves his family-. He shouldnt be on the news. I dont care what his story is- Who says- OH well maybe he wont kill a 4 month old- yea beause the man who stormed in to kill people seems to have rationale! COWARD is what this father is!

      July 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      I know that was my first reaction too. Honestly, though, until you're in a dark, crowded, panicked room full of tear gas and flying bullets, you have know idea how you would handle that situation. I would like to think I could stand tall and save my family or friends too but without ever being in that situation, I can't confirm what my reaction would be. I've never been that terrified and disoriented and I never want to be. I'm just glad they are all safe.

      For the record, I have known Patricia since she was in the 8th grade and I was her soccer coach. I've stayed in contact with her and her older sister over the years. When I first heard the account it disturbed me deeply that he left her. When I put myself in his shoes, all I really knew was what I would like to have done.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy John

      He's a coward and she is too stupid/self absorbed to put her kids to bed.

      I suspect they will have many children.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Patty

    What a coward! You can't spin this story any other way! Mom didn't leave without her kids...why did he leave without his family!!!!!????

    July 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • cinna2011

      Maybe she should take a second look at the man who did help her and her kids.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      When you are that terrified and disoriented, then show us how it's supposed to be done. It is a situation I don't wish on anyone.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ed Baxter

    What an absolute coward! I am married with kids and I couldn't conceive the thought of leaving them alone in that scenario. He lost his baby on the floor and left the theater?! Are you kidding me? Complete slime! If this girl has a shred of intelligence or self-respect she'd kick this loser loser to the curb. Sickening.

    July 23, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mandypursley

    How much their story has changed since they first shared it! I noticed how he no longer mentioned how he was afraid the crying baby would attract too much attention and glossed over the fact that he drove away from the scene. I can understand panic...but to purposefully take your baby out of your arms and leave him to die, whether from bullets or trampling, is sickening to me. She is an idiot if she decides to marry him. I'm glad the mother was able to get her children out safely, but where is the mention of the 19 year old young man that was willing to take a bullet for these complete strangers and lead them to safety? They seem to have already forgotten this true HERO!

    July 24, 2012 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
    • g.r.r.

      I did not watch this interview. I have been going off what else I read from other sites. He purposely put his 4 month down? If so, that IS cowardly.

      And yes, I agree. Those that helped love ones and strangers deserve to be seen in the press.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. g.r.r.

    It is amazing how many ppl say what they would do, and yet, have never been under live fire. If he was separated from them, then the best thing that he can do is get out. And keep in mind, that many could not see the person more than an arms length away. That is what happens in a tear gas filled room and your eyes are nearly closed from it.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
    • June

      Yes, IF he was separated...NO he PUT THE BABY DOWN! that a heartless move. he didnt want the baby to attract attention to him so he LEFT him to die.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JMC

    I am frustrated with the stupidity of this family. I clicked on this story hoping for a silver lining to this horrific tragedy and have to be reminded of this jerk.
    How old are the parents? First, the movie would probaby do damage to the chidren's eardrums. They belong home and in bed after 9 p.m. Those of you who would write in to defend these parents bringing small kids to a grown-up violent film after bedtime, because you do it too, well I question your judgment as well. I have run errands to places like Target late at night with my own children safe and supervised at home and in bed– and I see all of you bad parents out with your exhausted miserable toddlers who are either half asleep in the cart or whining and crying from exhaustion– and you ignore them or yell at them when it is you being a selfish bad parent for having them out in the first place. You know who you are. You are ruining their lives failing to give them safety and structure– they will do poorly in school because of staying up too late waiting for you to finish doing your thing instead of reading to them and giving them a good night's sleep. You have no idea how bad a parent you are.
    Next, this guy is a pathetic coward for running out on his children to save himself. That is the core truth of his character he will leave and save himself any time the going is tough. Better the kids be dead than orphans is the logic he tries to rationalize his cowardice. Sure, he panicked. But that is his character, right there. He proposed because he is ashamed of himself, maybe someone in his family shamed him for being such a coward.
    And the mom, should take a long deep breath and ask herself how her life will be any better having this guy in it. Will he contribute and take care of the family or will he just be another grown-up kid for her to raise along with the little ones?

    July 24, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Althaloros

      I don't think there is any other way out for the woman she already is messed up and had a baby, so tell me who is going to want this lady, with a baby from another father, I don't anyone is looking for that baby mama drama between her and old man.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. Faye

    She should marry the guy who saved her life and he should marry Casey Anthony

    July 24, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. James Holmes

    killing Jamie Rohrs woulda justified my actions

    July 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Man are you sick. I'm a friend of Patricia and her sister. I thank God every day that she still has her family....her whole family.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mel

    What a stupid F! No. No one really knows what they'd do in that situation, but those who would follow this loser's path are would be losers. I'm so sorry that any woman thinks this is the best treatment she deserves.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Harte

    Honey, dump this loser and run! I saw him crying crocodile tears over his son on TV and thought it was a show. Now the truth has come out. Any coward like this guy will eventually run out and leave you with your children.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. Shelle

    Most people are appalled that this man would leave his family to die so he could save himself. But there are some who defend him, saying that none of us know what we would have done unless we were in that situation. I disagree with that – to display such cowardice is against human instinct. Even animals facing certain death still protect their young.

    July 25, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jwl

    She is smart to marry him, she can divorce him later & legally get half of what he owns + child support. I think it is a smart idea.

    July 25, 2012 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. Melbonk

    Wow good for her for getting both of her children out. That is amazing! Way to go mama bear! That being said I don't think children that age should not have been at that movie that late or ever really. Batman is not for young children. I wonder if it was the man's idea to take them... And yes it is easy to say what you would have done when u weren't there but I have 2 kids a 3 and a 1 year old and I'd never leave that theatre without them. I don't think any mom would as evidenced by this extremely brave young woman. My husband would never leave the theatre without us. Ever. I know for a fact he wouldn't leave without us. And if he got separated from us he would probably go towards the gunfire and try and take the guy out instead of leaving the theatre. Stupid I know. But everyone has a different character and a different fight or flight instinct. This James guy doesn't need to be beat up in the press or in comments. I'm sure he is beating himself up enough. Again so much respect and love sent to this mother!! And the young man that helped her I haven't read any articles about him, this is the first I heard of him and that's a shame. Any one who risked their lives to save others should get the recognition they deserve. Im just sad this whole thing even happened. 🙁

    July 25, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
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