Family members of nine of the victims from July's movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colo., are furious over what they call "ridiculously offensive" email invitations to a memorial event to re-open the theater, reports AFP. The theater's parent company, Cinemark, says it intends to re-open the Century Aurora 16 on Jan. 17 in a ceremony with Gov. John Hickenlooper and Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan designed to help heal the community. But with the emails arriving two days after Christmas, the families wrote in a letter to Cinemark that the invitations were badly timed and a "thinly veiled publicity ploy."
"None of us received a letter of condolence or any other communication from Cinemark, but now they want us to step foot in that theater," the mother of one victim tells the Denver Post. "It's like people going back to a slaughterhouse, as far as I am concerned." Cinemark says it will have counselors on hand the night of the re-opening, and families of the victims are invited to come to the theater on Jan. 15 and 16 prior to the public event. "I don't care what they do with that theater, it doesn't impact us at all," says another parent. "This is not a celebration. We've lost everything."