AKRON -- An Akron native who is a four-year Navy veteran is among the dozens of people injured in a shooting at a movie theater last week.
Carli Richards, 22, was hit with buckshot as she ran for safety from the Aurora, Colorado theater during a midnight screening of the "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20.
Her mother, Gail Richards, tells Channel 3 News Carli's military training may have saved her life.
According to her mother, Carli and her boyfriend Chris Townson, also a Navy veteran, recognized earlier than others in the theater that gas canisters had been released and began running for cover.
Gail Richards first learned about the shooting inside a Colorado movie theater when she heard it in her daughter's voice Friday morning.
"You could tell that she was so mentally traumatized as well, just so much pain," said Gail Richards.
Carli Richards went to see the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Returns with her boyfriend, Chris Townson.
"Since she and her boyfriend had both been in the Navy, they recognized the smell before anybody else probably did," said Gail. "She literally jumped over him and they ran."
Covered in blood, they made it outside to an ambulance. Gail says the paramedics asked Carli what they could do for her, "She said, 'Well my mom has been a nurse for 30 years, and I wish she was here to hold my hand. So will you hold my hand?'"
Buckshot wounds from a shotgun shell was scattered across her right side. While the physical scars are bad, it's the emotional scars that hurt the most.
"The guns, the screaming, and the terror," said Gail, "she's going through that."
But she'll survive, says her mom. "She's a really strong person. Very strong."
Richards left Akron in 2008, joining the Navy after she graduated from Garfield High School. Her mother says Carli was an aircraft mechanic on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan.
As for the suspected gunman James Holmes, the Richards don't think he's crazy.
"I think he's just evil and mean," said Gail. "All I can feel for him is anger."
Gail Richards says she'll be anxious until she sees her daughter in person and knows she's okay.