Teacher from Chicago suburbs who escaped Colorado movie theater massacre talks to ABC7
July 23, 2012 (CARY, Ill.) (WLS) -- Special education teacher Steve Ostergaard was in Aurora, Colorado, for a conference last week when he chaperoned a group of 11 youth to the midnight screening of the latest ''Batman'' movie.
Ostergaard's group was in Theater 8, next door to where the actual shootings took place, when smoke and a hissing noise interrupted the screening.
"I really thought it was stupid special effects or kids acting dumb, throwing firecrackers," said Ostergaard. "One of my 18-year olds sitting behind me shouted out that he was hit with something and he was bleeding."
Ostergaard says he rushed the teenager out of the theater to the concession stand to get help, but was still unaware of what was happening until a minute later when people started coming out of Theater 9, bleeding and in a panic.
"First thought on my mind is I'm in charge of not only the kid that was hurt, but the 10 other 14-22 year olds...I had to get these kids to safety," said Ostergaard.
Also back home from Colorado Monday is survivor Julia Vojtsek. She says her boyfriend, 27-year-old Navy sailor and Crystal Lake native John Larimer, died to save her.
While Vojtsek did not wish to speak on camera, outside her home in Algonquin Monday, she handed out a statement which reads in part:
"John immediately and instinctively covered me and brought me to the ground in order to protect me from danger. He knowingly shielded me from a spray of gunshots. It was then, I believe, John was hit with a bullet that would have very possibly struck me. I feel very strongly that I was saved by John and his ultimate kindness."
local, michelle gallardo
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