Friday, July 20, 2012

12 Reported Killed By Colorado Gunman At A Batman Movie Theater Screening

James Holmes

Photo: University of Colorado

Police reported at least 12 people were fatal shot by a lone gunman at an Aurora mall theater.

By H. Nelson Goodson
July 20, 2012

Aurora, Colorado - On Friday, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates during a press conference confirmed that James Holmes, 24, was taken into custody in connection with the multiple deadly shooting at the Century 16 movie theater in an Aurora mall. Holmes is described as a Ph.D. drop out student from San Diego. Aurora is a suburb of Denver.
Holmes apparently shortly after midnight left theater 9 through an exit. After 20 minutes into the Batman movie, Holmes returned in full body armor with several weapons. The carnage began when Holmes threw several tear gas canisters into the seating audience. Some people at first thought it was part of the movie screening. But they soon panicked after Holmes fired live rounds into the ceiling several times. When the audience reacted and stood up to flee, Holmes shot at them while he stood in front of the theater screen.
Holmes began to move up the aisles while shooting at anyone that stood up or tried to run from theater 9. One of the shots went through the wall and hit another man at the adjacent theater.
Most of the dead victims were inside theater 9 where the newly released Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" being screened during the premier. The suspect who acted alone managed to kill 12 people and injured 58 others, which some suffered critical injuries, according to Chief Oates.
Media reports say, some of the people were able to run to other sections of the theater and warned others about the shooting. Police say, Holmes was dressed in all black, wearing a gas mask, a bullet proof vest, riot helmet and wore a groin protector. He also went upstairs to other sections of the theater while reloading and firing his weapon randomly at people and children inside, according to surviving witnesses.
A gas mask, two 40 Caliber Glock handguns, 12 gauge shotgun and a AR-15 assault rifle were recovered by police. The AR-15 rifle, the shotgun and a handgun were recovered inside the theater. The other handgun was found in Holmes vehicle. Police estimated Holmes had more than one thousand rounds of various ammunitions.
Authorities confirmed, Holmes purchased the weapons legally within the last six months and had bought up to 6 thousand rounds of ammunition.
Holmes was taken into custody by police immediately after arriving at the scene in the rear parking lot of the theater near his vehicle. Holmes surrendered to police and did not resist arrest. He told police that he was the "Joker." Holmes hair was dyed in red or bright orange when he was arrested, according to police.
Ten of the victims died at the crime scene, including a 6-year-old girl and two died at a local hospital, among those injured were 6 children, including a 3-month-old baby boy who were taken to the Children's Hospital in Aurora. Other surviving victims were being treated in area hospitals for gunshot wounds and tear gas contamination, Chief Oates reported.
Police also went to Holmes apartment to check for other weapons, explosives and gather evidence. Chief Oates confirm, Holmes apartment was booby trapped with wires, unknown chemicals and incendiary materials. It would take several hours or days to nuetralize or disarm his apartment, Chief Oates reported.
During a press conference on Friday, President Barack H. Obama declared a proclamation in honor of the Aurora, Colorado deceased victims to have the U.S. flag flown at half-staff until July 25. Obama stated, "I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon al public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, July 25, 2012. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations."

Deceased victims were identified as:

Jonathan T. Blunk, 26,

Alexander J. Boik, 18,

Air Force Staff Sgt. Jesse E. Chidress, 29,

Gordon W. Cowden, 51,

Jessica Ghawi, 24,

Petty Officer 3rd Class John Thomas Larimer, 27,

Matthew R. McQuinn, 27,

Micayla G. Medek, 23,

Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6,

Alex M. Sullivan, 27,

Alexander C. Treves, 24,

and Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32.

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