SPRINGFIELD. Mo. -- Springfield-area movie theaters continued with scheduled showings of "The Dark Knight Returns" on Friday, despite a deadly shooting rampage at the movie's premiere at a theater just after midnight Friday in Aurora, Colorado.
"It's definitely hard to hear and you can't help but feel sorry for those families," said Haley Cooper, a mother who went to an 11:30 a.m. showing of the film at Hollywood Theaters in downtown Springfield.
Cooper made plans days before the premier to bring her son, Jackson, 4, to see the newest Batman film. The Colorado tragedy that killed 12, as of Friday afternoon, did not change those plans.
"He (Jackson) doesn't usually get to watch too many movies in movie theaters, so he's really excited," Cooper said.
The Coopers are part of the millions of people heading to see the latest Batman installment nationwide, undeterred by the possibility of a copycat-style shooting happening. Forest Institute Psychologist Peter Jaberg said that possibility is unlikely.
"Sometimes these things happen, but we have to live our lives with the confidence we can achieve our goals and do what we need to do," said Jaberg.
Jaberg is one of the mental health experts looking for more information about James Holmes, the accused shooter in Colorado, whom neighbors have descried as a loner. Jaberg said that characteristic can serve as a warning sign.
"When I hear he was a medical student and recently dropped out, I really wonder what was going on in his life that he couldnt deal with reality in any other way," Jaberg said.
Springfield Police Department spokesman Cpl. Matt Brown said city patrol officers are on high alert. However, police have not confirmed whether they increased the number of patrols working near theaters.
"Things like that are completely unexpected. You can't exaclty know when something like that would occur," said William Toups, who attended a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" on Friday.
The bigger question for people is why the shooting happened and what possessed the shooter to do it.
"We might not ever have the answers, but I think to the extent we can answer those questions people will more readily resume their normal lifestyles," Jaberg said.
Spokespeople for police departments in Kansas City and St. Louis said they increased the number of patrols at and near theaters there.