AKRON, Ohio -- An honorably discharged U.S. Navy Seaman from Northeast Ohio was one of the victims from Friday’s movie massacre in Aurora, Colorado.
Carli Richards, 22, spent 4 years in the Navy travelling to some of the most threatening locations in the world.
She worked as an aircraft mechanic on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, but a simple trip to the movies nearly claimed her life.
Carli’s mother Gail Richards said, “She came through being in these dangerous places and then goes to have fun at a movie and that’s what happened.”
Richards was at home in Akron getting dressed for a doctor’s appointment when a social worker from a Denver hospital called her.
"My heart fell to my feet," said Richards, “And the more she tells me the more anxious I get.”
Carli has been living in Denver while attending school for fashion design.
She and her boyfriend Chris Townson, who also served in the Navy, went together to the midnight showing of the “Dark Night Rises” in Aurora.
Carli told her mother that the movie had just begun when James Holmes, 24, began his attack.
“She and her boyfriend had just gotten out of the Navy and when the guy threw the tear gas can it almost hit her in the head. She slapped it down and they both realized right away that's tear gas,” said Richards.
The two tried to exit the theater but she says Holmes shot at them.
Gail says a “buckshot” struck Carli in several locations including her back and buttocks.
Townson suffered only cuts and bruises, but Gail says they are both emotionally traumatized.
As a recently laid off Nurse of 30 years Gail says she too felt helpless.
A family friend purchased an airline ticket so that Gail could see her daughter, but she says they can’t afford right now for her husband to make the trip.
Both parents have strong feelings about the shooter.
They don’t think Holmes is crazy. They believe, “He's evil and mean and horrible, and knew exactly what he was doing.
Twelve people were killed and 59 injured in the onslaught.
Gail says her daughter and her daughters’ boyfriend know they're very lucky to be alive.
Carli’s physical wounds should heal with time, but she says their hearts break for the other victims.