Aurora theater shooting survivor marries officer who responded to the scene

Lasamoa Lanier survived the shooting, but her fiancé did not; she found “beauty from ashes” after connecting with an officer who responded to the horrific scene

By Sarah Calams

AURORA, Colo. — Ten years ago was arguably the worst day of Lasamoa Lanier’s life. While watching the premiere of the “Dark Knight Rises” with her fiancé on July 20, 2012, a shooter walked into the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 70 others.

Her fiancé, 18-year-old A.J. Boik, fell backwards as the bullets hissed all around them. He was shot twice.

“I didn’t even get to say bye,” Lasamoa told

During the trial after the shooting, Lasamoa heard testimony after testimony from officers who responded to the scene. That’s when she decided to write letters to thank the officers who were suffering the same trauma she was. Officer Cody Lanier, a former SRO at Lasamoa’s high school, received one of those letters. He responded to the shooting while on his way to work at the school.

“I had this person in front of me, approaching me, ‘Where is my boyfriend?’” Cody recalled.

In her letter, Lasamoa wrote three sentences that Cody said makes him tear up even today.

“I have always thought of you as a headstrong, determined and courageous person for having the amount of strive to serve and protect Gateway [High], Aurora and your family. Every single day. And that alone has changed my life all together,” she wrote.

After dropping off the letter, the two went out to lunch, which lasted nearly four hours.

“This is absolutely the worst singular event I could imagine as a cop,” Cody said. Their connection, he said, helped them heal. And after years of friendship – and nine years after that lunch – the two married on October 3, 2021.

“Beauty from ashes. I don’t know what I would do without her,” Cody said.

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