Cross-country bike travelers experience horror in theater shooting

Facebook Twitter More...

Here’s a photo of a couple of college-age bicyclists who don’t appear to have a care in the world as they set out from Virginia Beach in early June on a cross-country bike adventure.

Cross-country cyclists start out in Virginia Beach

Six weeks later they’re sitting in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater where a man opens fire on the crowd with assault rifles, killing 12 and wounding 58 more.

Stephen Barton, left, a recent Syracuse University graduate, was among those injured by gunfire. The Washington Post reports that he was shot in the face and neck and was released after receiving four days of hospital treatment.

His traveling companion, Ethan Rodriguez-Torrent, a student at Yale, escaped the gunfire.

Petra Anderson, a friend they had invited to the movie for putting them up while visiting, was shot four times and is clinging to life.


Torrent kept a blog — That Stove With Gods — that tells about their meandering bike tour across southern states to Texas, then north to Colorado. Barton kept his friends apprised of his bike travels with Twitter updates, including an Instagram photo of the ticket to the “The Dark Knight Rises” that fateful night captioned, “#cycletrip goes to the movies.”

He didn’t write anything until Wednesday, when he Tweeted:

“The Rockies look much more beautiful when you suddenly don’t have to bicycle over them in a few days. Life is all about perspective, huh?”

Will to survive

Interviewed by the Washington Post, Barton said that he initially though the gunshots were firecrackers, until he was hit and crumpled to the floor in front of his seat. He thought he might die, but, he kept telling himself:

“There’s no way it’s going to end here. There’s no way I biked 3,000 miles to come to this theater and get killed in it.”

The bike tour helped give Barton the will to survive. Now he wrestles with why so many other didn’t.  “I’ll struggle with that. It was so arbitrary, the way people died.”

Photo above from That Strove with Gods blog.

Permanent link to this article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.