Father of Aurora theater shooting victim elected to Colorado House of Representatives

Father of Aurora theater shooting victim elected to Colorado House of Representatives
© Getty Images

The father of a man who was killed in the 2012 Aurora, Co. movie theater shooting was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives on Tuesday night, unseating a GOP incumbent on a platform that revolved around gun control.

Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex died in the mass shooting that killed 12 and injured 70, won the state House seat for District 37. 


"[Lawmakers] never wanted to talk to me before, and they're gonna have to talk to me now," Sullivan told local NBC affiliate 9News. "I've already had the worst day I'm ever gonna have."

The newly-minted Colorado lawmaker lost a bid for state Senate to Republican Jack Tate in 2016.  

Sullivan frequently says that the loss of his son prompted him to get into politics. Sullivan has visited the state Capitol more than 20 times to testify about gun control legislation, according to a recent profile of him in local magazine 5280.

The 56-year-old and his campaign team have knocked on tens of thousands of doors since announcing Sullivan's candidacy in February, 5280 noted. 

“He’s taken [his] grief and channeled it into a constructive effort,” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) told the magazine in July. “Tom’s convictions are so deeply held. He’s spent so much time, not just thinking, but feeling. That creates a different type of person. There’s a depth in him you don’t see very often in life.”

Sullivan's platform revolves heavily around specific pieces of gun violence prevention legislation, as well as jobs and infrastructure.

District 37 includes Aurora, Co., where his son was killed. A mass shooter in July 2012 entered a movie theater in Aurora during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." The shooting at the time had the largest number of casualties in one shooting in modern U.S. history with 12 people killed. 

Since then, the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting and 2017 Las Vegas shooting surpassed resulted in more casualties.