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Local Reaction to Colorado Movie Theater Shooting

NYPD to increase presence at theaters. Local theaters decline comment, instead referring to corporate office.

In the wake of an overnight shooting at a Colorado showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in which 12 were killed and at least 50 injured, local deputies said the decision to tighten security is that of the theaters.

According to the Associated Press, a gunman threw tear gas into a midnight showing of the new film "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo., before opening fire on the crowd.

In Greenville County, deputies are hired at local movie theaters as a means of secondary employment.

"With regard to staffing local movie theaters, Sheriff’s Office employees are currently privately employed as a means of secondary employment by local theaters in accordance with Sheriff’s Office policies," said Master Deputy Laura Campbell, a spokesperson for the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.

Campbell said the decision to heighten security after a shooting such as the one in Colorado Thursday night would be at the discretion of local theaters.

Calls to some local theaters in the Upstate went unanswered. Cherrydale Cinemas referred all media inquires regarding security to Regal Cinemas' media line.

"The security and safety of our guests and staff is always our number one priority," Regal Cinemas wrote Friday in a statement. "As is our custom, we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our security needs as necessary. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families."

The Camelot referred calls to the theater's owner, but could not disclose when he would be in the office and would not allow Patch to leave a message.

In Columbia, theaters are also referring members of the media to Regal and Consolidated headquarters.

In Charleston, Citadel Mall Stadium 16 General Manager Kyra Boucher told West Ashley Patch the movie theater would not change anything they do. The manager did state they already have a police presence weekends.

"We always have Charleston Police officers here on the weekends, and we try to think ahead of thing, not just react," Boucher said.

Boucher added that the theater does ask patrons to leave backpacks in their cars or at the customer service desk before allowing them to enter any of the theaters.

Mount Pleasant Police said they will step up enforcement this weekend.

"Mount Pleasant Police Department always has officers assigned to the Towne Centre area where Palmetto Grande is located as well as officers assigned specifically to the theater itself," said Capt. Amy McCarthy, a police spokeswoman. "In addition to this normal coverage, our patrol officers will be heavily saturating the areas where our theaters are located."

All showings of the movie are expected to go on as planned Friday.

Greenville deputies, however, are ready if needed, Campbell said.

"Uniformed Patrol deputies train on a platoon level throughout the year with simunitions on average 8 to 10 times a year," Campbell said. "The Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officers train on average one time each quarter and the SWAT team trains two times a month. Training can involve table top exercises, incident reviews as well as hands on training involving simunitions."

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley expressed her concern for the victims and the people of Aurora.

"Michael and I are saddened that this could happen in our country and our hearts go out to the people in Aurora," Haley said. "It reminds us that we have to careful wherever we are because life is not what it used to be."

In New York City, the NYPD will be increasing security at New York City movie theaters.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly issued the following statement Friday morning:

"As a precaution against copycats and to raise the comfort levels among movie patrons in the wake of the horrendous shooting in Colorado, the New York City Police Department is providing coverage at theaters where the 'The Dark Knight Rises' is playing in the five boroughs."

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