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Horror to hope: Couple to marry a year to the day of Colorado theater rampage

By Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
July 19, 2013 -- Updated 0335 GMT (1135 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Eugene Han and Kirstin Davis were on a date when a gunmen went on a rampage
  • Han was shot in the hip and the knee; Davis suffered cuts and scratches
  • Han and Davis will marry on July 20, one year after the shooting
  • "We wanted to change the date and, you know, make it our own," Hans says

(CNN) -- There is little about the horror that unfolded in a dark Aurora, Colorado, movie theater that Eugene Han and Kirstin Davis can forget.

There's the sound of the gunfire, of the screams, of the chaos that followed as accused gunman James Holmes opened fire in a rampage that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded, among them Han and Davis.

One year later, the couple are taking back THAT day, replacing the fear they felt with the love they have for one another, when they marry on Saturday -- a year to the day of the shooting rampage .

"My thought process was that everyone has a date that they want to get married on that means something special to them," Han said Thursday on CNN's Piers Morgan Live.

"For us, it was a night of terror and all that. So we wanted to change the date and, you know, make it our own."

Surviving THAT night

It's an ending for the couple that almost wasn't.

THAT night, July 20, 2012, Han and Davis were on a date to see the midnight screening of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."

The public gets its first glimpse of James Holmes, 24, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting during his initial court appearance Monday, July 23. With his hair dyed reddish-orange, Holmes, here with public defender Tamara Brady, showed little emotion. He is accused of opening fire in a movie theater Friday, July 20, in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. More photos: Mourning the victims of the Colorado theater massacre The public gets its first glimpse of James Holmes, 24, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting during his initial court appearance Monday, July 23. With his hair dyed reddish-orange, Holmes, here with public defender Tamara Brady, showed little emotion. He is accused of opening fire in a movie theater Friday, July 20, in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. More photos: Mourning the victims of the Colorado theater massacre
Colorado movie theater shooting
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The Cinemark Century 16 Theaters reopened on Thursday, January 17, in Aurora, Colorado. It was the first time the theater has been open since the mass shooting on July 20, 2012, that killed 12 people and wounded dozens of others. The exterior facade of the theater has been remodeled since the shooting. The Cinemark Century 16 Theaters reopened on Thursday, January 17, in Aurora, Colorado. It was the first time the theater has been open since the mass shooting on July 20, 2012, that killed 12 people and wounded dozens of others. The exterior facade of the theater has been remodeled since the shooting.
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The two had known each other for years, having gone to elementary school together.

But now, in this theater, they were a young couple, enjoying one another and the possibilities of their relationship.

Then, according to authorities, a heavily-armed Holmes walked through the emergency exit door and into the dark theater.

"When James Holmes walked in that night, I knew something was going to happen because no one really walks through an exit door -- especially through an exit door," Han said.

Maybe it was the warning his parents had given him as a child: Be aware of your surroundings.

Maybe it was instinct.

But in that moment, when the gunman opened fire, Han dropped from his seat to the floor.

When he looked over for Davis, he saw she was still in her seat.

He reached up and pulled her down on to ground.

"So I made sure that James Holmes couldn't get to her. If anything, at least, put my body between her and the shooter," he said.

The bullets "went through chairs like butter," hitting Han in the hip and the knee. Davis suffered minor injuries, cuts and scrapes.

For months, as Han underwent medical care, Davis was by his side. Their bond, they say, strengthened.

Setting the date

The marriage proposal came months later, in a private moment as the couple vacationed in Texas.

Later, Han thought about the year and all that they had endured.

Today, Han can run and walk. But he also carries a constant reminder of THAT day -- shrapnel in his hip.

As they drove back to Colorado, Han asked Davis if she wanted to get married on THAT day.

"I kind of scared her at first, and she had to think about it," he said.

She, too, thought about all they had gone through. She thought about how he saved her. She thought about how she could have lost him.

Her answer: Yes.

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.

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