Thursday marks five years since tragedy struck a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. On that day, 12 people were killed and 70 were injured, when James Holmes walked into the theater and started shooting, during a movie showing.
Holmes was sentenced to life in prison, and since that fateful night, survivors like Nick Gallup have come a long way in piecing their lives back together.
"It's all over the board," said Gallup. "Sometimes it feels like yesterday. Sometimes it feels like another lifetime ago. I'm glad to be here and call it an anniversary."
Gallup said his mom is his rock, and has helped him get through. His journey since that horrific night has been a bumpy one, but for him, happiness is a choice that he now chooses, on a daily basis.
On that night five years ago, Gallup met his then girlfriend and three friends to see the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. They sat in the far back row, and 15 minutes into the movie, Gallup heard a hissing noise.
"I thought it was a prank or theatrics from the movie, but quickly realized that it was actually gun fire," said Gallup. He saw people being targeted, as they tried to escape the theater. He decided to not run, and immediately jumped in front of his girlfriend.
"I got down in front of her on my knees, and had her behind me and squared up to Holmes directly," said Gallup.
On that night, Gallup was grazed by a bullet. He said had the bullet gone an eighth of an inch (3.18mm) to his right, he wouldn't be here.
"It was really hot. I knew instantly that I had gotten shot and then it got really cold because of all of the blood," said Gallup. He can recall the chaos and sheer panic of the night.
"Once we got out to the lobby, it looked like a war zone. It was terrible," said Gallup.
Following the shooting, Gallup fell into a dark place. He was diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety, and had turned to alcohol to blur the memories.
"Things went downhill real fast," said Gallup. "Lost my job, lost my girl, lost my house that I owned. It all came crumbling down, and I was right at the end myself."
Gallup sought help, got a new job, and moved to Arizona a year ago. He says he doesn't often think about that night, or about the man behind it all.
"I just really don't think about [Holmes] anymore," said Gallup. "I got so much good in my life to think about. I don't waste my time with [Holmes]."
Gallup said he doesn't do anything special on this day, except talk to all of his friends who were in the theater with him. He says they're also in a much better place.
Gallup went on to say he now advocates for people to protect themselves with weapons, if they are successfully trained and feel comfortable about it.
"If five people would have had a weapon in that theater, things would have ended a lot differently than they did," said Gallup. "As far as gun control, bad guys are always going to get the guns, no matter what. It keep the good guys from getting them. So, as far as I'm concerned, I'm a big advocate on carrying guns and protecting yourself, if you're comfortable doing it."