Extra patrols this weekend at theaters in wake of Colorado tragedy

In the wake of Friday’s massacre at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater that left 12 dead and 58 others injured, Southold Police and North Fork movie house personnel are taking precautions this weekend.

Both the Greenport and Mattituck cinemas are showing the latest Batman film, “The Dark Knight Rises,” this weekend.

Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said he doesn’t have the personnel that large city departments have to patrol, but that his officers will be keeping an eye on the crowds going into both theaters and have spoken with employees at both to ask them to be attentive and report anything out of the ordinary.

“It gets everybody excited,” Chief Flatley said about the shootings. “I don’t blame them,” he said. But he also predicted there would be no problems at either venue this weekend.

The stepped-up patrols, nonetheless, will remain throughout the weekend, the chief said.

A spokesman at the Greenport Cinema declined comment. In Mattituck, no one could be reached about the effort to better watch crowds entering the theater.

National media are reporting that James Holmes, the 24-year-old arrested in connection with the Colorado shootings, was in a doctoral program in neuroscience at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Those who knew him described him as “a loner.” A neighbor said he had difficulty finding work after graduating with highest honors in the spring of 2010 with a neuroscience degree from the University of California at Riverside.

Police said he painted his hair red and called himself “The Joker,” the green-haired villain from the Batman movies.

He reportedly brought tear gas and multiple weapons — including a Glock pistol, a Remington shotgun and a .223 caliber Smith & Wesson rifle — to the theater. He is alleged to have entered the theater after the movie had begun, tossed the tear gas canisters into the audience and then began shooting people who were hustling to get out of his range.

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