And though he got shot in the thigh, Jarell kept himself between the family and the gunman as they made it out of the theater.
"The whole time I was thinking 'if I just leave them there what is my conscience going to think afterwards?' Knowing there was a mother trying to protect her two children and then later I find out they were seriously injured or worse," Jarell tells the station. "I wouldn't be able to deal with that."
Jarell continues his recovery. He was expected to be released from a Denver area hospital later today.
The woman Jarell helped, by the way, is Patricia Legarreta — who had come to the movie with her then-boyfriend and their two children; a four-year-old girl and an infant son. She suffered a relatively minor injury. The boyfriend, Jamie Rohrs, got separated from them in the confusion. After they were reunited, he proposed to her and Legarreta said yes.
"In interviews, Jamie Rohrs has described hurdling over a row of seats and running for his life, disoriented and unable to find his family.
" 'I don't blame him for that at all,' said Jarell, who graduated from Overland High School this year and will begin studies at Metropolitan State University in Denver this fall. 'Someone is shooting in a closed space. His life is on the line. You're in a panic situation.' "
KUSA-TV has begun a series called "Colorado Strong" to tell stories like Jarell's.