STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Next week marks the five year anniversary of the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., that killed 12 people. Today from StoryCorps, Tom and Terry Sullivan remember one of the victims, their son Alex, who was celebrating a birthday at the movies that night, something he'd done since he was a kid. Alex and a group of friends planned to see a midnight showing of the latest "Batman" film just as he turned 27.
TOM SULLIVAN: They got there at like 5 o'clock in the afternoon to save seats for everybody. And Alex had bought himself a Batman hat, and he was in line palling around with this little boy who I think was, like, 12. And before they went into the movie, Alex gave him the Batman hat.
TERRY SULLIVAN: He just wanted everybody to be happy.
TOM SULLIVAN: That was Alex. That night, one of the previews was for the new "Superman" movie.
TERRY SULLIVAN: Yeah.
TOM SULLIVAN: When that preview came on, Alex stood up out of his seat and started cheering, and a lot of people laughed. You know, we can take some comfort in the fact that Alex was the one who gave these people their last laughs.
I remember when I called my mom. And I told her there's been a shooting and Alex was in the theater. That was the first time I ever heard her cry.
The day he was born, I told her from the hospital that she had a grandson. And then 27 years to the day, I had to call her again and tell her that her grandson had been murdered.
You know, when the theater reopened, we were there and have gone back several times.
TERRY SULLIVAN: I knew you had to go - and especially on his birthday.
TOM SULLIVAN: I remember saying, we're going to celebrate Alex's birthday the way that we always have. So we'll go and sit in Alex's seat that he was murdered in, you know, row 12, seat 12. That's where he was, and that's where we will always be. So that'll never stop.
(SOUNDBITE OF YANN TIERSEN'S "LE MATIN")
INSKEEP: Tom and Terry Sullivan recalling their son Alex, killed in the Aurora movie theater shooting, July 20, 2012. Their interview will be archived in the Library of Congress and featured on the StoryCorps podcast.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.