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Woman Shot During Gunfire Scene in 'Schindler'; Man Held

January 07, 1994|From a Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Police arrested a man for questioning in the shooting of a 40-year-old woman Thursday during a matinee of the movie "Schindler's List."

James Michael Kirby, 45, of San Diego, was arrested by La Mesa police and turned over to the San Diego Police Department, according to a statement from the San Diego department. Kirby was stopped by a La Mesa police officer for driving erratically. During a routine check of his name, police identified Kirby as the owner of the gun used in the shooting.

The assailant apparently timed the shot to coincide with a movie scene in which people were being shot to death, police said.

Ellen Campbell suffered a single gunshot wound to the back and underwent surgery for several hours at UC San Diego Medical Center, where she remained in critical condition Thursday night.

The assailant fled the downtown theater at the Horton Plaza shopping complex, said San Diego police spokesman Dave Cohen.

Moviegoers raced out of the packed theater when the shot rang out from the seat directly behind Campbell, who was sitting with her husband Richard, a La Mesa police officer. Police found a .38-caliber handgun on the floor behind her seat.

The man fired the shot at precisely the moment that a round of gunshots was heard during a scene that depicts the Nazi destruction of a Jewish ghetto in Krakow, Poland, Cohen said.

Police said that Kirby apparently did not know the Campbells.

A spokesman for Universal Pictures, the film's distributor, said: "It appears to be a random act of violence, which we deplore as we do all such acts. We have a great deal of concern and sympathy for the victim and her family."

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