Lucas and Heather Wolfe Smith were seated in the middle of the theater when the gunman opened fire.
Family of a former Knoxville couple says the couple is recovering from injuries after they survived the shooting at a Batman premiere in a Colorado movie theater.
According to family members, Lucas and Heather Wolfe Smith were seated in the middle of the theater when the gunman opened fire.
"They were about 15 rows up, in the center of the theater," said Heather's sister, Kendel Levy.
She said Lucas was one of the first people shot.
"He stood up, along with Heather standing with him. That's when the gunman shot directly up towards the middle aisles which is exactly where they were sitting."
Lucas took a shot to the hip, but still managed to keep Heather safe.
"Then he went down and covered Heather, just like every mom wants their daughter to be protected, and that's what he was doing," said Heather's mother, Elizabeth Wolfe.
Heather was not shot, but her sister says the tear gas released by the gunman affected her eyes and throat.
As soon as possible, several of the couple's family members traveled to Colorado. Heather's father, Randy Wolfe, took the earliest flight he could find.
"He caught the first flight out of Knoxville, I think around 7:30," said Levy. "And they were able to get there right about the time they were releasing Lucas from surgery."
Lucas was released from the hospital Friday afternoon, and family members say he and Heather are at their Colorado home catching up on much-needed sleep.
As the chaos surrounding the family begins to settle, those still in Tennessee struggle to comprehend the tragedy.
"This is something you hear that happens far away and you don't know the people even though your heart goes out to them," Elizabethe Wolfe said.
"But when it's your daughter on the other end of the line, it just happens to be right there, it's pretty amazing. "It's a different kind of feeling. It doesn't seem real."
Heather and Lucas Smith, who recently married, moved to Colorado just a few months ago.
Lucas graduated from Johnson University in South Knoxville in 2008. The Wolfe family said he studied film there. Now working for Aspen Roofing, the company transferred him to Colorado.
While still in Tennessee, Heather worked as an Art teacher at South Doyle High School.