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Despite Theater Massacre, Tri-State Moviegoers Come Out In Droves To See Batman Film

AMC Loews Lincoln Square - New York, NY - Jul 20, 2012 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

AMC Loews Lincoln Square – New York, NY – Jul 20, 2012 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - Moviegoers in New York City were deeply saddened but unfazed by the news of a mass shooting at a Colorado theater, as they turned out by the thousands to see the premiere of the latest Batman film.

Theaters were flooded with patrons and Batman enthusiasts eager to see “The Dark Knight Rises.”

In the city and suburbs, police provided extra coverage at theaters where the movie was playing. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg cited the Aurora, Colo., tragedy to bolster his longtime argument for stricter gun control.

PHOTOS: Colorado Theater Massacre

“You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show, pressing President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Bloomberg echoed his remarks in an interview taped later on Friday for “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley,” adding that he felt that Congress had been “cowed” by gun-rights advocates.

At least two people with ties to New York state were among those shot and wounded. A New York City musician and a recent graduate of Syracuse University were among those recovering Friday, and both were doing well, relatives and associates said.

Bass player Christopher Rapoza was shot the morning before his band was to play at a noted Manhattan club. Stephen Barton, who gave the student address at Syracuse University’s May graduation, was wounded while on a post-graduation cross-country bicycling trip.

The New York City Police Department was posting officers at about 40 theaters around the city that are showing the Batman film. The increased security was a precaution against potential copycat shooters, and was also meant to reassure moviegoers.

MORE: Complete Coverage From CBSDenver.com

“We’re doing this to raise the comfort level,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. “We’d certainly encourage everybody to go about their business.”

On Long Island, Nassau County officials said that officers — including canine units, emergency services personnel and the special operations unit — would be deployed at theaters showing the film. Suffolk County police planned to increase patrols near theaters as a precaution, a spokeswoman said.

At the AMC theater in Times Square, two officers were stationed outside the entrance on Saturday morning.

“Just seems like another day at the movies,” said Jimmie Baker, 40, of Harlem, who waited about three hours for the 12:50 p.m. showing of the “Dark Knight.”

Baker said that the Colorado tragedy did not sway his decision to see the film.

“I just felt sorry for the people who had to go through this,” Baker said.

Andrew Bross, 22, of Livingston, N.J., returned on Friday to watch the film for the second time in 12 hours.

“I go to the movies every week,” Bross said. “I’m going to still keep going. I’m not going to let it stop me one bit.”

Did the “Colorado Theater Massacre” keep you from seeing “The Dark Knight Rises” at the theater? Let us know how the tragedy affected you in the comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)