First Lady Michelle Obama brought some of her charm and compassion to the Aurora shooting victims yesterday, making a surprise visit to victims and family members in Colorado.
The first lady slipped into Medical Center of Aurora and made the rounds, thanking victims, families and hospital staff for the strength they have showed through this ordeal.
President Obama also visited Aurora last month, several days after the shooting, and met with victims at a different facility, the University of Colorado Hospital.
The Medical Center of Aurora saw about 18 patients from the shooting, who came in with wounds to the head, neck, torso and legs.
According to the Denver Post,the first lady addressed about 50 people who gathered in the hospital conference room. She also listened as they recounted stories from that day when accused shooter James Holmes killed 12 and injured 58 at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises.
Emergency room nurse Justin Mast, 35, who treated many of the injured after the shooting, told the Post that he received a phone call this morning telling him the first lady was visiting. He said the group got a laugh with Mrs. Obama when she asked how many in the room hadn’t been to bed in the past 24 hours and, when a nurse raised her hand, the first lady immediately gave her a hug.
“It felt like everybody in the room was able to connect with her,” Mast said.
President Obama said that when gunmen burst into the theater and threw the canister containing the gas, it landed just a few feet away from Allie and Stephanie, who were sitting and watching the movie. Allie stood up—and was immediately shot in the neck.
“It punctured a vein, and immediately she started spurting blood,” said the president, who appeared to be getting emotional as he recounted the story. “As she dropped down on the floor, Stephanie had the presence of mind to drop down to the floor with her, to pull her out of the aisle, place her fingers over where Allie had been wounded, and apply pressure the whole time while the gunman was still shooting.”
When Allie told Stephanie she needed to run away, Stephanie refused—and used her other hand to call 911, the president said. When the shooting stopped and the SWAT team came in, Stephanie helped them carry Allie across two parking lots to the ambulance.
“Because of Stephanie’s timely actions, I just had a conversation with Allie downstairs and she’s going to be fine,” he said. “I don’t know many people at any age would have had the presence of mind to do what Stephanie did, and also the courage Allie showed… They represent what’s best in us and assure us that out of this darkness, a brighter day will come.”
The president quoted scripture from Revelation 21:4, which talks about how God comforts the mourning.
“Scripture says He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,” the president said. “Neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more for the former things have passed away.”
“When you have an opportunity to visit with families who have lost their loved ones, as I describe to them I come to them not so much as a president as I do a father and a husband,” he said. “I think the reason stories like this have such an impact on us is because we can all understand what it would be like to have somebody we love taken from us in this fashion.”