One of the survivors of the Colorado shooting has returned to his home in Southbury, and he spoke exclusively with NBCConnecticut.
A Connecticut man is moving forward after an unspeakable tragedy. He just returned home to Southbury after getting wounded in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting.
He spoke exclusively with NBC Connecticut about recovering here on the east coast. “I woke up today with a huge smile on my face,” said Stephen Barton.
On Friday night he told NBC Connecticut he was relieved to be back at home with his family in Southbury.
“I don't think I could adequately describe how lucky I feel,” Barton explained. He felt lucky because he was part of a horrific scene last week at a Colorado movie theater.
Police said James Holmes opened fire inside the Batman premiere, where he killed 12 people and injured more than 50 others.
“There was a time I thought I was going to die and the shooter was going to come through all the aisles and kill everyone,” Barton said.
He was struck in the neck, but that was just the beginning. When that shotgun went off, pellets pierced through his arms and chest, and almost hit his heart.
“Yeah it's a miracle I guess that's the most appropriate word for it,” he added.
Barton told NBC Connecticut he ended up on the theater floor underneath his seat and waited there for several minutes until it was safe enough to run for help.
“As soon as I realized he had stopped shooting, I thought it's not my time to die,” Barton explained.
That thought has pushed this Connecticut native to find a positive in all of this.
He stopped at the theater during a cross-country cycling trip, and since it was cut short by this tragedy, he wants to do it again next year and raise money for the shooting victims.
“I've experienced so many small and big acts of kindness I need to pay it forward,” Barton said.
For now he is focused on healing, and his new appreciation for life.
“It's unfortunate that it takes horrible tragedies like this to realize that,” Barton admitted.
Barton said he was still in a lot of pain. He has to go through a lot of physical therapy and it could take a year to make a full recovery.
The suspect James Holmes is scheduled to be in court on Monday. Court documents showed he was being treated by a psychiatrist. Legal analysts expected he would use insanity as a defense.