A sign is seen outside a vigil for victims behind the theater where a gunman opened fire in Aurora, Colorado
A sign is seen outside a vigil for victims behind the theater where a gunman opened fire in Aurora, Colorado Reuters

Columbine survivor Anne Marie Hochhalter, who was left paralyzed in the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, offered words of encouragement to survivors of Friday's Colorado shooting during a vigil for the victims, families and survivors of The Dark Knight Rises Massacre in Aurora.

Hochhalter, now 30, was in the front row for the vigil as thousands from the Colorado community came together to mourn and pray for victims of The Dark Knight Rises shooting at the alleged hands of suspect James Eagan Holmes.

Hochhalter said the passage of time will allow survivors and the victim's families in the Aurora theater shooting to heal, but memories of the chilling attack will always linger.

I would tell them that with time, it does get better, Hochhalter told the Associated Press. But it never goes away.

Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan told attendees of the shooting vigil that the chilling mass killings were not indicative of the Denver suburb's character.

While our hearts are broken, our community is not, Hogan told the crowd, according to ABC News. We will reclaim our city in the name of goodness, kindness and compassion. Let our city be a place where our vulnerable our supported by our strength. We will care for the families and we will care for each other.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper read the names of the 12 victims in the shooting and asked the crowd to repeat we will remember you after each of their names was said aloud.

Hickenlooper drew applause when he declined to say Holmes' name.

I refuse to say his name, the governor said, only referring to Holmes as Suspect A.

Darius Harvey, 18, was in the Century 16 theater when the Colorado shooting unfolded and had a friend who died in the massacre.

I was there and I'm part of this community. I felt I should be here, Harvey told the AP. It's good for healing the community and I felt that it is very necessary for our state and community to know that our nation cares about us.

Aside from victims, their families and survivors of the Colorado shooting, residents from around Aurora and beyond attended the vigil.

Denver resident Greg Durfee told the Denver Post he considers Aurora to be his hometown.

I just wanted to come and pay my respects, Durfee said. I think this is the start of the healing.