Fil-Am survivors in 'Batman massacre' crawled to safety

by Nadia Trinidad, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jul 24 2012 07:08 PM | Updated as of Jul 25 2012 05:52 PM

AURORA, Colorado - When James Holmes made his appearance at the Arapahoe County district court, a nation intrigued with his dyed bright reddish-orange hair tried to interpret his blank stare and lack of emotion.

But when Prescilla Pacis saw the face of the man accused of having killed 12 people and injured 58 others in a movie theater, her world stopped.

"Automatically my heart started racing and my breathing got really heavy," she said.

Prescilla was in the crowded theater with her father Manuel when Holmes reportedly opened fired.

"At first, lahat ng tao sa movie theater akala namin part ng effects," Manuel Pacis said.

They were seated on the fourth row.

When Manny realized it was a real bullet that whizzed past him, he dropped down on the floor and pulled his daughter down with him.

When he was literally inches from his death, he could only think of only one thing.

"I can’t afford to get hurt. If I get hurt then my wife will really suffer financially, I won’t be able to work. Actually I wasn’t really afraid of dying, it was getting hurt," Manuel said.

During a brief gap between gunshots, they crawled their way out of the theater and made a run for the parking lot where they later helped a woman looking for her children.

They suffered no injuries but they're nursuing far deeper wounds.

"I still get shaky and I still cry. Earlier today at work I hear a loud bang and automatically my heart started racing... And then this whole weekend I wouldn’t drive by myself," Prescilla said.

Still, they're grateful for their second lease on life.

"I know that God spared us for a reason and I’m determined to find that out...Because of this incident my wife and I reconciled," Manuel said.

Another Filipino was shot in the theater. Ryan Lumba, who was visited by President Obama in the hospital, is still recovering from two surgeries that removed bullet shells in his stomach.

Ryan woke up from sedation today and was able to talk to his mother. But Remy Lumba said her son was agitated, and was in constant fear of seeing the armed attacker again.

Ryan's mother said she hardly leaves his side. She knows it will be a long and difficult road to healing.