A FORRES woman now back at her home in Aurora, USA is still in shock after the ‘cinema shootings’ that occurred there.
Ellen Shonieczny (70) has also given an exclusive interview to the ‘Gazette’ after it emerged that her son could have been one of the victims as he had planned to go to the film theatre the night the atrocity occurred.
Worse still, the mass murder occurred a mere ten minutes from her house and she has since been to see the tributes that have been laid near the scene.
The retired nurse, who was in Forres for a family wedding at the time of the incident, was distressed to hear that a masked gunman had shot 12 people dead and injured 59 others in the cinema complex that her son had planned to attend for the film premier that night.
As soon as the news was broadcast Ellen (nee Sharp) was contacted by her son Matthew and relieved to discover he had cancelled his plans.
"I was devastated when the news came through on the internet at my brother’s house in Forres," said Ellen. "It was too close to home. We are so happy that he didn’t go. God must have been with him that night."
Matthew (44) told the ‘Gazette’ how lucky he was on that fateful evening.
"I had planned to attend the movie that night, however I fell asleep on the couch with the TV on," he said. "I was awakened by my wife, Kaye, to see the horrific events on the TV."
Ellen has since returned home to her family in Aurora, a town that is still grieving for those who were killed or injured.
Matthew described the aftermath of a senseless incident that has shocked the world.
"I did not know anyone at the movie and I feel a great sadness for all involved, the victims, the police, and the medical teams," he said. "Aurora is a safe city and my wife and I attended the vigil at Aurora City Center on July 22. We watched as thousands of people assembled. Many came with flowers, candles, and members of our military were in full dress uniform. The citizens of Aurora are closer now, as we all try to make sense of the events on July 20."
Read the full story in this week’s Gazette.