North Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- The son of a pastor at North Syracuse Christian Church and a recent SU grad were among those injured in the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater overnight.
26-year-old Lucas Smith lived in Central New York for several years before moving to Colorado with his new wife. Smith spoke to NewsChannel 9 Friday afternoon, describing what happened inside the theater when the shots were fired.
“The theater was completely sold out. There were as many bodies in there as you could possibly fit. So every row was full completely,” Smith said.
Smith developed a love of acting growing up in North Syracuse. A self-proclaimed movie buff, he says he couldn't resist the latest Batman premiere near his new home in Colorado. Lucas was seated front-and-center in stadium seating with his wife, when a man entered swiftly through a door nearby.
“He threw the gas canister across the room, kind of up in the stadium seating," Smith explained. “Took a shotgun out and shot into the ceiling to start a stampede or get people to stand up. He took his first shot into the audience in my direction and, and shot me.”
Eight pellets hit Lucas from the hip to his knee. As they watched others struggle to get out, Lucas and his wife Heather, crawled to an aisle and got down on the floor, waiting.
“The shooting stopped and I took that as, he is re-loading…we just all ran out as fast as we could. I personally stepped over two bodies that were laying in the aisle,” he continued.
Now home, with bullets in his legs that will never be removed and horrifying memories, Lucas says he forgives the shooter.
“I feel a bit of compassion for him. He had to have been living a very disturbed and sad life. I was convinced we were going to die. By just the mercy of God....we survived.”
Smith is now home recovering with family by his side. His parents flew to Colorado Friday morning. The Smiths are asking friends to keep the other victims in their thoughts.
A second man with ties to Syracuse was also shot during the massacre. Stephen Barton, a recent Syracuse University graduate, was hit in the chest and neck. We’re told Barton was on a cross-country bike trip and stopped in Colorado to visit a friend. We spoke to his brother by phone a short time ago, who tells us Barton successfully made it through surgery.
“It’s been a stressful morning as we tried to learn more about what was going on, but once I spoke with him it calmed my nerves; once I found out he's doing okay and it looks like he's through the worse of it, said ???
Barton is expected to be released from the hospital next week.