© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Colorado Shooting Stories: Teen Shielded Woman And Her Kids; He Got Shot

Jarell Brooks.
Jarell Brooks.

As they're being told, we're pointing to some of the stories about the 12 people who died and the 58 who were wounded when a gunman opened fire on July 20 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Click here to see more. As you see others, please share the links in the comment threads.

Eighteen-year-old Jarell Brooks, reports Denver's KUSA-TV, "could have left the theater and saved himself."

But when he saw that the woman who had been sitting next to him and her two young children were trying to crawl to safety, he did his best to shield them from the gunfire.

And though he got shot in the thigh, Jarell kept himself between the family and the gunman as they made it out of the theater.

"The whole time I was thinking 'if I just leave them there what is my conscience going to think afterwards?' Knowing there was a mother trying to protect her two children and then later I find out they were seriously injured or worse," Jarell tells the station. "I wouldn't be able to deal with that."

Jarell continues his recovery. He was expected to be released from a Denver area hospital later today.

Given his heroics, perhaps Jarell could tweak the spelling of his name to Jor-El. (Superman fans will know who we're referring to.)

The woman Jarell helped, by the way, is Patricia Legarreta — who had come to the movie with her then-boyfriend and their two children; a four-year-old girl and an infant son. She suffered a relatively minor injury. The boyfriend, Jamie Rohrs, got separated from them in the confusion. After they were reunited, he proposed to her and Legarreta said yes.

The Denver Post, which has previously written about Jarell's heroics, reported that:

"In interviews, Jamie Rohrs has described hurdling over a row of seats and running for his life, disoriented and unable to find his family.

" 'I don't blame him for that at all,' said Jarell, who graduated from Overland High School this year and will begin studies at Metropolitan State University in Denver this fall. 'Someone is shooting in a closed space. His life is on the line. You're in a panic situation.' "

KUSA-TV has begun a series called "Colorado Strong" to tell stories like Jarell's.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.