MIAMI (CBS4) – For one South Florida man, news of Friday morning’s shooting was especially frightening. Some of his loved ones were inside theater number nine.
AJ Billapando’s brother, sister-in-law, and friends are all in Colorado, and last night, they went to the midnight showing of the new Batman movie.
It’s been a rollercoast of emotions.
“It’s like terror, anger, I was really, really mad,”
Billapando got the call from his mother in Denver Friday.
“I started crying right away. I hadn’t cried in years, and that was the first time I really broke down, and I was just like really scared,” he said.
His brother, Bryson, was okay, but Bryson’s wife, Toni, was hit by something in the mouth.
CBS4 News spoke with Bryson on the phone.
“I remember her like grabbing on to me, shaking, and I look over and she’s bleeding, and like right after that was the second gunshot and we hit the floor,” said Bryson Billapando.
When AJ in Miami found out, he immediately turned to social media. He posted a message on Facebook asking people to donate blood.
“There’s a lot of blood loss, they need blood donated,” he said.
Then he set up a website to raise money for the victims.
People have been turning to social media since the shooting. One person inside the theater wrote, “oh God, I don’t know what to do.” Another person wrote, “a bit shaken up at the moment, not gonna lie, that was extremely terrifying.”
But there was at least one Twitter user who couldn’t post a message after the shooting: Jessica Redfield. Her last post was, “movie doesn’t start for 20 minutes.” She was killed in the shooting.
But for those who survived, AJ hopes people will step up to help.
“You know, we’ve gotta put our differences aside and stuff like that, and really just get together and help each other out,” he said.
AJ has two friends who were also there. They were both shot. One had his kidney removed, the other friend had her spleen removed.
If you wish to donate to AJ’s fundraiser for the victims, click here: http://www.giveforward.com/billapandofundraiser