Monday marked the first time Sam Soudani saw the Aurora theater shooting suspect in person.
His daughter, 23-year-old Farrah Soudani, was seriously injured by a
device police say the shooting suspect threw into theater 9 on July 20.
Sam did not want to go to the preliminary hearing on Monday, but he
felt that he had to. However, he described seeing the shooting suspect
in court as well as hearing from various victims' families as "agony."
"[Farrah] remembers everything that happened, from the moment she
fell to the moment she was in the car [of Officer Gomez,] to the time
she got to the hospital, and they put her in the bed to start working on
her," he said. "She remembers everything. She remembers every single
thing. She even remembers his face before the entire shooting happened.
She does not want to see him."
Farrah is doing much better. She has a long road ahead of her in her
recovery, but her spirit is up. Even with all the good news from her,
Sam still feels lucky after hearing from other victims' families.
"Honest to God, when I found out about the other victims, I felt good
about my own," Sam said. "It's really hard to say it that way, but it's
really the truth. My daughter came through, and she's OK now, but those
people ... my heart goes out to them."
Sam says it was exceptionally hard to watch the shooter sit in court.
"You look at a person, and when you see no more humanity left
anymore, you don't look at them as a person," Sam said. "You really
don't. I took a glimpse at him there. I don't feel hate or anger toward
him. I don't feel anything toward him. I really don't. It's hard to
explain. I mean, part of me wanted to rip his head off and part of me
just couldn't care less for him."
Sam says the shooter was just sitting there, staring into space.
"He has no emotion," he said. "He's like a robot. The best I can
explain is he's just sitting there like a robot ... absolutely no
Sam said the experience has understandably been incredibly difficult
for Farrah. She remembered seeing him in the alley before the shooting,
staring at her. She, obviously, did not want to see him again. Sam said
hearing the testimony of the officers who responded to the tragedy was
"It's really hard, talking about that pretty girl, just 7 years old," Sam said.
Sam started to talk about what he would consider justice in this case.
"I'm going to leave it up to the court," Sam said. "Let's let the due
process take its course. It's the only way I can think of."
Sam blamed television for making mass shooters famous.
"If you somehow don't mention their names anymore, I mean, ignore
them," he said. "And that's what I think. They should be ignored."
Sam worries that American society has lost their value of human life.
"People's lives don't matter anymore, and that's the problem," he
said. "They don't care about life like they used to anymore. We send our
soldiers to fight overseas, you don't even know how many people passed
away. A lot of people have guns and never think of anything close to
what he did. There are sick people. You can't control everybody. I
believe in a little big tougher gun control. With what [the shooter]
did, he set up some type of explosive device. How did he get it? I mean,
that's another point to look at. It's not just guns, it's everything
else around it. It's our culture. It really is."