EASLEY—An Easley movie theater is seeking to increase awareness of potential problems among employees at its location, but an official said last week’s mass shooting in an Aurora, CO cinema does not signal a greater risk at theater goers.
“I felt that this incident was isolated,” said Richar Rodd, President of REI Cinemas, which operates the Easley 8 Cinemas on Calhoun Memorial Highway “We have told them (employees) to do a few more rounds outside to make sure there’s nothing weird going on.”.
The Colorado shooting early last Friday morning left 12 dead and more than 50 inured. Colorado officials said James Holmes allegedly entered through an emergency exit during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” and opened fire on the audience.
Rodd said his employees are now taking necessary percussions at the Easley location.
“We’re making sure they are double checking exit doors, and making sure they are not propped open,” said Rodd. “We’re telling them to do their normal job, but we’re just refreshing them on it.”
Rodd says the situation was unique because it happened in a theater setting, but he says he believes it could have happened anywhere.
“I considered it a tragedy,” he said. “I definitely had some personal feelings because it was a cinema.”
Rodd says the Easley Cinemas already had security measures in place to protect customers.
“We’re one of the few cinema chains that actually patrol the auditoriums,” said Rodd. “It irritates customers to have somebody walk down the aisle every 20 minutes, but we make sure (they do that).”
The shooting spree was the first of its kind in the United States, but Rodd says it will make everyone a little more aware.
“It would be a lie for me to say that nothing could happen (in the theatre), but we will be paying attention” he said. “I know that the Easley Police Department, which we have a very good relationship with, drives through there regularly.
A good relationship with the local police is something that Rodd says he hopes his cinemas can maintain.
“When we have certain movies that we feel like can create more problems, we will generally have a policeman on duty there that we hire,” said Rodd. “I think people need to realize that this is an isolated case that is not related to movie theatres and could happen anywhere.”
While the tragedy has damaged the lives of so many innocent victims, Rodd says he only hopes it will only be a one-time occurrence
“We probably need society to go back to knowing their neighbors and paying more attention to people that need help,” said Rodd. “We’ve been in business for 30 years. We’ve never had an incident like this, and in all the years of the movie industry this is the only incident (like this one) that I am aware of.”