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Archive for Friday, July 20, 2012

12 killed, 59 wounded in Colorado ‘Dark Knight’ shooting rampage

July 20, 2012, 10:29 a.m. Updated July 20, 2012, 3:29 p.m.

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This photo provided by the University of Colorado shows James Holmes. University spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery says 24-year-old Holmes, who police say is the suspect in a mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, was studying neuroscience in a Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver graduate school. Holmes is suspected of shooting into a crowd at a movie theater killing at least 12 people and injuring dozens more, authorities said.

This photo provided by the University of Colorado shows James Holmes. University spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery says 24-year-old Holmes, who police say is the suspect in a mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, was studying neuroscience in a Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver graduate school. Holmes is suspected of shooting into a crowd at a movie theater killing at least 12 people and injuring dozens more, authorities said.

People gather outside the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., at the scene of a mass shooting early Friday morning, July 20, 2012. Police Chief Dan Oates says 14 people are dead following the shooting at the suburban Denver movie theater. He says 50 others were injured when gunfire erupted early Friday at the Aurora theater. Oates says a gunman appeared at the front of one of the Century 16 theaters.

People gather outside the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., at the scene of a mass shooting early Friday morning, July 20, 2012. Police Chief Dan Oates says 14 people are dead following the shooting at the suburban Denver movie theater. He says 50 others were injured when gunfire erupted early Friday at the Aurora theater. Oates says a gunman appeared at the front of one of the Century 16 theaters.

Tom Sullivan, center, embraces family members outside Gateway High School where he has been searching franticly for his son Alex Sullivan who celebrated his 27th birthday by going to see "The Dark Knight Rises," movie where a gunman opened fire Friday, July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colo.

Tom Sullivan, center, embraces family members outside Gateway High School where he has been searching franticly for his son Alex Sullivan who celebrated his 27th birthday by going to see "The Dark Knight Rises," movie where a gunman opened fire Friday, July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colo.

Eyewitness Jacob Stevens, 18, hugs his mother Tammi Stevens after being interview by police outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning Friday, July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into the crowded movie theater killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said.

Eyewitness Jacob Stevens, 18, hugs his mother Tammi Stevens after being interview by police outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning Friday, July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into the crowded movie theater killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said.

— A gunman wearing a gas mask and black SWAT gear hurled a gas canister inside a crowded movie theater during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie Friday and then opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding nearly 60 others in an attack so bizarre that some moviegoers at first thought they were watching Hollywood special effects.

As smoke from the canister spread, audience members watching "The Dark Knight Rises" at the suburban Denver theater saw the silhouette of a person materialize near the screen, point a gun at the crowd and begin shooting, apparently without a word.

New York City's police commissioner said he was told the gunman had painted his hair red and called himself the Joker — Batman's nemesis — but Aurora police would not confirm that.

It was one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.

The suspected gunman, identified as James Holmes, a 24-year-old doctoral student in neuroscience who was about to drop out of the University of Colorado-Denver, was arrested near a car behind the theater.

Authorities gave no motive for the attack. The FBI said there was no indication of ties to any terrorist groups.

"There were bullet (casings) just falling on my head. They were burning my forehead," Jennifer Seeger said, adding that the gunman, dressed like a SWAT team member, fired steadily, stopping only to reload. "Every few seconds it was just: Boom, boom, boom," she said. "He would reload and shoot and anyone who would try to leave would just get killed."

Police said 71 people in all were shot.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said the gunman wore a gas mask, a ballistic helmet and vest, and leg, groin and throat protectors. He said he had an AR-15 military-style, semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and two pistols.

While some witnesses said the gunman entered through a side-door emergency exit at the front of the theater, a federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Holmes bought a ticket and went into the theater as part of the crowd. The official said Holmes then apparently propped open an exit door in the theater as the movie was playing, donned the protective ballistic gear and opened fire.

FBI agents and police used a hook-and-ladder fire truck to reach Holmes' apartment in Aurora. They put a camera at the end of a 12-foot pole inside the apartment and discovered the unit was booby-trapped. Authorities evacuated five buildings as they tried to figure how to disarm the flammable and explosive material.

In New York City, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said: "It clearly looks like a deranged individual. He has his hair painted red. He said he was the Joker, obviously the enemy of Batman."

Oates would not confirm that information, but confirmed he had spoken to Kelly. The two used to work together in New York.

Some of the victims were treated for chemical exposure apparently related to canisters thrown by the gunman. Those hurt included a 4-month-old baby, who was treated at a hospital and released.

Holmes enrolled in a Ph.D. program in neuroscience a year ago but was in the process of withdrawing at the time of the shooting, said University of Colorado-Denver spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said.

Police released a statement from Holmes' family: "Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved."

The movie opened across the world Friday with midnight showings in the U.S. The shooting prompted officials to cancel the red-carpet premiere in Paris, with workers pulling down the display at a theater on the Champs-Elysees.

Around the U.S., police and some movie theaters stepped up security for daytime showings of the movie, though many fans waiting in line said they were not worried about their safety.

President Barack Obama said he was saddened by the "horrific and tragic shooting," pledging that his administration was "committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded."

It was the worst mass shooting in the U.S. since the Nov. 5, 2009, attack at Fort Hood, Texas. An Army psychiatrist was charged with killing 13 soldiers and civilians and wounding more than two dozen others.

In Colorado, it was the deadliest since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, when two students opened fire in the Denver suburb of Littleton, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves. Columbine High is about 12 miles from the theater.

Friday's attack began shortly after midnight at the multiplex theater, and audience members said they thought it was part of the movie, or some kind of stunt associated with it.

The film has several scenes of public mayhem — a hallmark of superhero movies. In one scene, the villain Bane leads an attack on the stock exchange and, in another, leads a shooting and bombing rampage on a packed football stadium.

The gunman released a gas that smelled like pepper spray from a green canister, Seeger said. "I thought it was showmanship. I didn't think it was real," she said.

Seeger said she was in the second row, about four feet from the gunman, when he pointed a gun at her face. At first, "I was just a deer in headlights. I didn't know what to do," she said. Then she ducked to the ground as the gunman shot people seated behind her.

She said she began crawling toward an exit when she saw a girl of about 14 "lying lifeless on the stairs." She saw a man with a bullet wound in his back and tried to check his pulse, but "I had to go. I was going to get shot."

Shayla Roeder said she saw a teenage girl on the ground bleeding outside the theater. "She just had this horrible look in her eyes. .... We made eye contact and I could tell she was not all right," Roeder said.

Sylvana Guillen, 20, said that when a man appeared at the front of the theater clad in dark clothing looking like a SWAT team member as Catwoman made an appearance in the movie, the audience "thought it was a joke, a hoax." Then they heard gunshots and smelled smoke from a canister he was carrying, and Guillen knew it was real.

The gunman began walking toward the seats and firing. Guillen said she told her friend, Misha Mostashiry, "You better get ready to be shot."

"All you could do is hope he didn't come for you," Mostashiry said.

The two ran for the emergency exit and safely escaped. On their dash to the exit, they saw a man slip in the blood of a wounded woman he was trying to help.

Police, ambulances and emergency crews swarmed on the scene after frantic calls started flooding the 911 switchboard. Officers came running in and telling people to leave the theater, Salina Jordan told the Denver Post. She said some police were carrying and dragging bodies.


Associated Press writers Kristen Wyatt, Steven K. Paulson, Ivan Moreno and Mead Gruver in Aurora, Dan Elliott and Colleen Slevin in Denver and Alicia A. Caldwell and Eileen Sullivan in Washington contributed to this report.

Comments

jaywalker 1 year, 9 months ago

WOOOOOOOOOOOW!

My comment about wishing someone had a C and C truly wasn't meant to set the string off like that. My apologies, folks, sincerely.

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Hoots 1 year, 9 months ago

I own many guns. Only the ones I can't conceal would have dealt with this nut. He was crazy and intelligent . He covered almost every vulnerable part of his body with armor like the bank robbers in LA several years ago. Remember how many LAPD it took to take them down?

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Hoots 1 year, 9 months ago

Have you ever thought that maybe that's what the smoke bomb and all the body armor were for? Unless you had something really high power you weren't going to faze the guy. A handgun would have just bounced off him. Unless you were carrying something insane in your pants. Say a 30-06.

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jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

"the idea of legal concealed carry on the premises might have been enough to deter this individual from committing this action"

He does seem like the rational, forward-thinking type from what we know about him, doesn't he?

But then, my general cynicism, I suppose, just makes me look at the response to issues like these -- guns are too restricted, guns are too accessible, video games are too violent, we're not raising our children right, christian values are being lost, etc. etc. -- and you know these are all people's personal answers to how we can prevent acts of this sort, too often driven by bias and agenda, but of course not always.

But the answer is: we cannot. We may, through a variety of ways, perhaps lessen their rate, but to eliminate them completely? No, we cannot. They were, are, and will continue to be, all throughout history. Personally, I find the better answer to be: go home and hug your spouse, tell your parents and children you love them, and enjoy your life, because you could easily be dead, in a variety of violent or non-violent ways, any minute. So enjoy the time that you're not.

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Hoots 1 year, 9 months ago

As mentioned by someone earlier it is unlikely that anyone would have been able to see to fire back. The theater was dark and filled with smoke. That doesn't make for a good situation to respond in. You could just as easily harm an innocent person in that scenario. He didn't care who or what he hit but you would have to think about that as someone responding to the threat.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 1 year, 9 months ago

Probably not, but maybe the idea of legal concealed carry on the premises might have been enough to deter this individual from committing this action.

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Hoots 1 year, 9 months ago

Years ago we dismantled the mental health system in this country. It wasn't worth funding and was seemingly viewed as some kind of luxury item. We also made it almost impossible to get treatment for people of a legal age if they resisted no matter how severe the mental issue. Now we wonder why some of these terrible things happen. Those are not the acts of a person with a sound mind, much like the shooter in Arizona a couple of years ago.

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jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

Why do you think I have an issue with concealed carry? I fully support the right for most anybody to own guns, and I support the right for individual businesses to decide not to allow them. I won't always agree with those individual decisions, but that's not for me to decide.

But the previous points brought up remain. At best, someone with a CC in the movie theater raises the chance of preventing this from very, very slim to very slim.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 1 year, 9 months ago

jonas,
You previously never had an issue being around me when I was carrying concealed.
I was in full legal compliance.

What gives?

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 1 year, 9 months ago

Ag, jonas, bea, Lab, jaywalker,
The theater where the incident occurred had a no guns policy in place, so no legal concealed carry holder would have been able to be armed.











That sign failed to prevent the suspect James Holmes from entering.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 9 months ago

It could be schizophrenia. Doesn't that often manifest itself in the early 20's? I hope for healing for the victims and their families.

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Shelly Welcher 1 year, 9 months ago

Not to say this isn't news worth knowing about but he is getting exactly what he wants...... publicity for what he has done. Many thoughts and prayers to the friends and families of the victims.

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CLARKKENT 1 year, 9 months ago

A LOT OF DISCUSSION UP TO THIS TIME. I NOW WILL OPEN ANOTHER CAN OF WORMS.

CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHY THE DEATH PENALTY IS NOT USED IN CASES LIKE THIS? SURE SEEMS LIKE IT WOULD BE THE THING TO DO.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 9 months ago

Horrible, absolutely horrible..

Now. Let's look at what people today regard as "entertainment" The movie being shown displayed violence, terrorism, and similar subjects. Look at some of the video games that some people are so willing to play and get immersed in. Look at the behavior of public officials who are elected to do the public's business and revert to childish and infantile behaviors. Look at the sewer that flows into your lliving room from network television "entertainment shows".

Are there any questions on just what might motivate an extreme mental dysfunction in an unbalanced and immature mind and personality????

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FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 9 months ago

......? He 'looks' like a character from the movie.

Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes was in the process from withdrawing from a doctorate program in neuroscience at the University of Colorado-Denver, according to university spokesman Dan Myers. Holmes began the program last year.

Hmmmmmm.....a complex "Scientist"...

Hmmmmmm.....a complex "Scientist"... by FalseHopeNoChange

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geekin_topekan 1 year, 9 months ago

I wonder if Phred is loading up the family's RV already.

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jaywalker 1 year, 9 months ago

Heartfelt prayers for all affected.

I'm not saying this to start a firestorm, but I truly wish just one person in there had a C and C. Sick and tired of these psychotic cowards, no freakin' mercy for 'em.

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Brock Masters 1 year, 9 months ago

Murder is always so sad and tragic.

I do think we'll see more of this type of terrorism as our country grows angry and divided. I've seen it coming for some time and my initial reaction was to crush and defeat the enemy, but I quickly realized that the "enemy" is my fellow Americans. So instead, I've decided to try to be civil and respect others even when they disagree with me.

This doesn't mean that I won't speak my mind and disagree, but I will try to do it in a polite civil and constructive manner. I encourage others to do the same. Name calling, insults and bomb throwing only fuel the fire of anger and will cause us to be more divided.

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somedude20 1 year, 9 months ago

Yo, FHNC...give it a rest. 12 dead and 50 hurt and you are acting like a scumbag!!!! Really, for once in your friggin life, act like a human and not a "partner" of Mitt Brownback. I don't think you can do it but prove me wrong. Ask how this person got gas and those weapons and then ask if reform needs to be inacted like with all of the voter fraud.

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jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

When are we getting an ignore feature? I only have one candidate for my list, but I really wish I could purge my feed of his pointless, classless immaturity and hate.

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beatrice 1 year, 9 months ago

Horrible. I can't imagine what the families are going through. My thoughts go out to those suffering today in Colorado.

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Agnostick 1 year, 9 months ago

Prayers, good karma, positive vibes to victims and their families.

What angers me most about this is the fact that some parents thought it okay to bring inappropriately young children to this event. No one is going to think less of you if you put off this movie for a few days, attend an afternoon matinee, hire a babysitter, etc.

No movie is worth interrupting good routines, good sleep patterns etc.

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Topple 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm surprised that the shooter didn't kill himself afterward. This is a horrific tragedy. Hopefully the police can extract the motivation for this.

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Bursting 1 year, 9 months ago

Terrible, if only someone would have jumped on his back or something! I don't know what it was like in there but come on people!

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