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San Rafael Sisters Narrowly Escape Death in Theater Shooting

Melia Schurig and 16-year-old Linnea Schurig were sitting in a screening theater adjacent to the one where accused shooter James Holmes opened fire late Thir

Nineteen-year-old Melia Schurig and 16-year-old Linnea Schurig of San Rafael were sitting in a screening theater adjacent to the one where accused shooter James Holmes opened fire early Friday morning, killing 12 and injuring nearly 60 people, multiple news outlets are reporting.

The Schurig sisters narrowly escaped injury in the shooting and told KTVU that "everything they endured is still sinking in."

Since their theater shared a wall with Theater 9 where the shooter opened fire, Melia and Linnea told The Marin Independent Journal that, about a half-hour into the film, a bullet fragment came through the wall and struck their 18-year-old male friend, who was sitting one row behind them, in the arm.

"I heard him say 'oh my God'...we all turned around and he had a giant hole in his forearm and it was just pouring blood right off of him," Linnea Schurig told KTVU.

At that point the teens, along with 10 friends with whom they had been attending an Aurora convention, ran out of the theater. Melia and Linnea ran into the parking lot and hid behind a parked car, but they had to help their friend who had been shot in the arm, as he kept blacking out from the loss of blood and couldn't run very well.

As they ran, the sisters said they could hear people shouting everywhere around them, they told KTVU.

"There were a lot of people yelling, 'My husband's dead. My boyfriend's dead. Somebody call the cops! Somebody call my parents,'" Linnea Schurig said. "And people were yelling, ‘There's a shooter! There's a shooter!'"

Linnea told the Marin Independent Journal she saw a frantic mother running, carrying her baby who had been shot in the leg.

Melanie Haiken, the sisters' mother, was at their Aurora hotel and told the IJ she looked down at her phone one moment and noticed she had missed five calls in a period of a few moments from her daughters.

She called them back immediately and they told her they were on their way back to the hotel, but that their friend had been rushed to the hospital in an ambulance to have surgery on his arm.

"I feel like I'm so lucky that my daughters are fine," Haiken told the IJ. "On the other hand, it's hard to have that feeling when you know that other people are not."

Now that the terrible night is over, the sisters say they feel remorse for the victims and lucky to be alive.

"This is horrible and we're so lucky," said Melia.

Fortunately for the girls, their friend who was shot in the arm will be alright, and has been released from the hospital.

View video interviews with the two sisters on KTVU's website here.


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