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LI cops, NYPD add patrols for 'Dark Knight'

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the movie theater shooting in Aurora should make the debate on gun ownership an issue in the presidential election. (July 20)

Jennifer Jones' teenage son caught the midnight premiere Thursday of the Batman sequel on Long Island -- the same late-night screening that became the setting for a mass shooting in Aurora, Colo.

Like many shaken parents across the country, Jones, 46, of Medford, now says she'll "think twice" about letting 16-year-old Jason attend another late-night movie.

"I saw the news . . . and my first thought was, 'Oh my God. That could have been my child,' " she said Friday.

Her husband, Tyrone Jones, 46, shares the parental anxiety, but leans against overprotecting his son.

"You can't live your life in fear," he said. "Things can happen anywhere, but it shouldn't stop you from doing the things that you want to do."

Like the Jones family, Long Islanders were split Friday on whether they'd still be willing to line up for "The Dark Knight Rises" in the wake of one of the nation's worst massacres.

Law enforcement agencies on Long Island and in New York City have responded to the tragedy by boosting the police presence outside many theaters.

"We're going to have intensive patrols at all the movie theaters showing the Batman movie," a Nassau police spokeswoman said.

Police also will have specialized units, including K-9s, mobilized as a precautionary measure, the spokeswoman said. The film is showing at 36 theaters on Long Island.

Suffolk police said they would also step up patrols, as did New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who said police are standing guard at the 40 theaters in the city where the movie is showing.

Representatives of chains that run Long Island theaters said security was their highest priority.

AMC Theatres, which runs theaters in Huntington, Levittown, Westbury, Garden City, Rockville Centre and Stony Brook, said the company is "actively working with local law enforcement in communities throughout the nation."

In his weekly WOR Radio appearance Friday morning, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney to respond to the mass shooting by detailing their plans to improve gun control.

"Soothing words are nice," said Bloomberg, who heads a coalition of mayors who support tighter gun control, but it's time for the candidates to "stand up and tell us what they're going to do about it."

Last night, a steady stream of people poured into the United Artists Westbury Stadium 12 to see "The Dark Knight Rises," which was showing on five screens. Most screenings were sold out.

Elizabeth Gordon, 47, of New Hyde Park, and her 10-year-old son, Craig, had planned to purchase IMAX tickets for the Batman film, but opted for the animated movie "Brave" instead because "The Dark Knight Rises" was sold out.

Gordon said the Colorado shooting makes her "less inclined to go to a very crowded movie that may have some violence in it. I'll be more selective."

Sitting with friends at a table at the food court outside the ticket counter at Broadway Multiplex Cinemas in Hicksville, Rob Stone said the mass killings would have little effect on his moviegoing habits.

"I don't want to live in fear, you know," said Stone, 29, of Garden City, a self-described Batman fan. "You can't let it hold you back . . . what can you do?"

Stone said he viewed the shootings as "an isolated incident."

"It's definitely in the back of your mind. It's obviously unnerving," Stone said. "But what are the odds it's going to happen on Long Island? Just because it's that far away, it's kind of that far away in your mind, too."

Aileen Ramirez, 19, of California, who was visiting friends in Manhattan, said she was "afraid" after she heard the news, but the reports that NYPD was "ramping up" police presence at city movie theaters convinced her to go.

Her friend, Jennifer Krumm, 22, of Manhattan, said: "This guy in Colorado was looking for his moment of fame and to make the news. I don't believe this whole copycat idea."

With Patricia Kitchen, Lauren R. Harrison, Candice Ferrette, Anthony M. DeStefano, Maria Alvarez, John Valenti and Nathaniel Herz

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