Columbine survivors help support victims of Aurora tragedy

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LITTLETON, Colo. -- Thirteen years after the Columbine High School shooting, survivors are coming together to offer financial and personal support for the men and women inside the Aurora Theater shooting.

"I was 17 when the Columbine shooting happened, I'm 31 now...but I didn't seek help until I was 26," said Zach Cartaya, a shooting survivor and co-founder of recently organized Phoenix 999 recovery group.

The group, which was founded by a handful of former Columbine students, is hoping to provide long-term support for survivors of July's attack inside a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises."

The July attack left 12 people dead and over 50 people healing from gunshot-related injuries.

"We want to be able to do something," added Cartaya when asked why the decision to launch the support group.

The Columbine attacks left 13 people dead plus the two student gunmen. At the time, the attack was considered to be the worst school shooting in American history.

Organizers of Phoenix 999 hope the group can raise funds for shooting survivors and raise awareness about the effects of post traumatic stress disorder.

"We've heard one of the most important things is having your feelings validated," a Columbine survivor echoed during an interview on Saturday.

The group held its first fundraiser on Saturday at the Blake Street Vault in LoDo with a silent auction. Over the coming months, Phoenix 999 is expected to host similar events.

For more information on the group, visit:

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