Batman star Christian Bale has made a personal visit to see seven victims of the Aurora movie theatre shooting to express his condolences to them and their families.
The 38-year-old British actor, spent two-and-a-half hours at the Medical Center of Aurora this afternoon with five patients admitted to the Colorado hospital and two others who had traveled from Denver’s Swedish Medical Center to meet Bale
The Oscar winning star of the ‘Dark Knight Rises’ made the visit to the hospital to talk to patients injured by James Holmes’ massacre last Friday, in which 12 people lost their lives and 58 others were injured.
‘The patients were really happy to meet Bale,’ said Bill Voloch, interim president of Medical Center of Aurora to the Denver Post.
‘They are obviously big fans of his movies. They wanted to see Batman and were really pleased to see Bale.’
Bale traveled with his wife, Sibi Blazic and met with a number of emergency doctors, police officers and paramedics who were the first responders to the shooting at the Century 16 cinema theater in Aurora.
‘It was good for the patients,’ Voloch said about Bale, who spent around 10 minutes with each person. ‘We hope it was therapeutic for them, and all the staff really appreciated him coming.’
The Medical Center of Aurora took 18 patients from the mass shooting and seven were admitted.
Four patients were taken to the Swedish Medical Center.
Warner Brothers confirmed that Bale had traveled to Aurora in a personal capacity and that this was not an official trip made on behalf of the studio or other cast and production members of the third Batman film.
‘Mr Bale is there as himself, not representing Warner Brothers,’ said an assistant for Susan Fleishman, executive vice-president for Warner Brothers corporate communications.
The actor posed for pictures with one of the victims, Carey Rottman, 27, who was shot in the leg during the attack and is recovering in the hospital.
‘Wow!!! Thank you so much for the visit Christian!! What a great guy! Still in shock!,’ wrote Rottman soon afterwards.
According to Denver station, KDVR, Bale arrived at Aurora Medical Center around 2 p.m. and entered the building in secret.
Members of staff at Aurora Medical Center said that Bale was very friendly and very positive.
Janie Bowman-Hayes, assistant vice president of surgical services at sister hospital Swedish Medical Center, said she and co-workers were attending a luncheon at The Medical Center of Aurora to thank staff who tended to victims. ‘When we got there, then we found out he was there,’ she said.
Bale, humble and dressed casually in a black T-shirt and jeans, thanked the staff, shook hands and agreed to have his photo taken with employees, Bowman-Hayes said.
‘He just said he wanted to come to thank all of us because he has been thinking about this. He knows the whole world has been thinking about this,’ she said. ‘He took it upon himself to come and thank us.’
It was reported by Natalie Tysdal of KDVR in Denver that Bale paid a special tribute to the staff of the hospital’s ER.
Online petitions on Change.org had requested that Bale come to Aurora to see the bereaved and injured and prior to his tour of the town in Colorado, he had issued a statement on the mass-shooting.
‘Words cannot express the horror that I feel,’ said Bale from Paris, where he had been preparing for the French premier of the ‘Dark Knight Rises’ last week.
‘I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them.’
The multi-billion dollar film franchise’s director Christopher Nolan had paid a heartfelt tribute to the victims of the shooting last Friday also.
The British director called the attack by Holmes a ‘senseless tragedy’, and called the gunman’s actions ‘unbearably savage.’
Calling the movie theater his ‘home’, the 41-year-old director said he was devastated that someone would ‘violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way.’
The visit comes after questions were raised about what James Holmes’ mother, Arlene knew about the mental state of her son in the days and months prior to Friday’s shooting.
Arlene Holmes, who lives in San Diego, California and was only made aware of the shootings when a reporter called her for a comment, is said to have urged her son to seek counselling before the attack.
The claim in the Washington Post about Mrs Holmes, a nurse, is the first sign raises questions over what else she knew.
When she was called about the shootings on Friday, she told an ABC reporter ‘you have the right person’ – in an apparent indication that her son was the likely gunman.
But on Monday, her lawyer spoke out to claim Mrs Holmes’s statement had been mischaracterised, and she had in fact been confirming that she was the ‘right person’.
According to reports, the neuroscience graduate was adopted and Mrs Holmes, 58, and husband Robert, 61, a software developer, raised him as their own.
These reports came just one day after Holmes’s startling first appearance in court on Monday, where he rolled his eyes, stared directly ahead and swayed from side to side.