tv CNN Newsroom CNN July 28, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
power to create it. >> i got so much help enabling me to buy a sewing machine and a person who not only receives help, but gives help. >> i am proud of you. >> women working can change the world. >> gunshot after gunshot. >> a masked gunman on a rampage of terror. >> the guy by the exit firing away. >> 70 people dead or wounded. >> seven down. >> the fight for survival. >> we're looked up and there was another car and another police car and another police car. >> the effort to heel.
>> we will remember you. we will honor you by celebrating life. >> the victims remember. >> maybe if i was there, she would still be here. >> i'm don lemon. one week ago in aurora, colorado, one man in one moment changed so many lives in an instant. the dramatic story of what happened in theater nine and the many questions about what was behind the shooting rampage that left 12 dead and 58 wounded. we are learning of warning signs from the suspected gunman that he was seeing a crist and mailed her a package detailing his deadly plans. the package was not delivered in time. we will honor the heros and the victims and the people we don't want you to forget. i have been reporting on this the past week withdrew griffin.
madness at midnight, the search for answers in aurora. >> bat man, comic book legend, lucrative franchise and film star. for quentin wald well, the dark night rises is more than a movie, but an obsession. >> you were anxious to see the movie. you were a fan. >> i have been a calm collector for 20 plus years and it would be the plot of this movie. >> when are did you buy the ticket? >> three weeks in advance. >> three weeks? >> yes. >> when i bought them, i said 7, 20, 2012. >> thousands of others were ready too. lining up hours early for the release and ready and in rare form. >> 10:30 or 10:40.
>> billy and her husband were afraid they were not early enough. >> we are going to the treater and it's already half full of people. darn, it's still crowded. we were not early. >> the couple settled into seats in the middle of century 16's theater 9 for the 12:05 show. >> it was packed. it was crazy. >> corbin dates almost didn't get a seat at all. >> the only seat available was the first row. nobody was sitting there and a few seats in the second row. >> next door, the "dark knight rises" is also playing and the place is buzzing. >> you can hear the crowd anticipating and shaking and you walk in and it's awesome. >> corbin watched the seats fill in. >> you see the guy walk in and he sat and the first row to the
far right seat. i didn't think nothing of it. it looked like an average person. >> alone? >> alone. red hair. >> then he saw the man leave the theater. >> i looked over and i saw him get up and he was walking towards the emergency exit door. he opened the emergency door and he propped his foot in between. >> at the same time he left his seat, rushing to meet a friend in the lobby as the lights dimmed in both theaters. >> of course as soon as we see the movie start, me and david are squeezing each other's hands because we are so excited. >> the movie starts? >> everybody goes nuts. >> slabs, right? >> yeah. >> we imagine ourselves as bat man. he's anonymous. a man in a mask. he could have been anyone. >> what they didn't know was that outside theater nine, another anonymous man in a mask was preparing for the worst mass
shooting in american history. police say 24-year-old james holmes put on full tactical gear, including a helmet, gas mask and a vest like this. arming himself with three guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. 20 minutes after the movie started, he saw that same emergency exit door open again. >> this person swung into the door and acted like a villain to swing and walk in and dressed all in black. black cap and a black gas mask and body armor and weapon wrapped around his neck which i thought was fake. >> me and my husband at the time thought someone is pulling a prank. i hear this poof from down on my right. i see this canister go all the way up and arch over the screen and land about four or five rows
below me. my first thought is it's some kind of fireworks. >> come to find out, it was containing a toxic gas. it was hard foritous breathe. >> smoke filled the dark theater as fear swept through the sold out crowd. then it got even worse. >> people were screaming a terror scream. >> you heard shots? >> yes. >> constant? >> like a semi automatic rifle? >> boom, boom, boom? >> exact low like that. >> in rhythm in. >> yes. exactly the way you did it. >> the masked man calmly aimed and fired as terrified movie fans dove for cover. >> he shot off about six or and i hear people panicking and we got down. i didn't want to look. >> came down with his gun in my face. >> i said you have to get down and get on the floor.
>> i saw four or five people limping and wounded. >> those who could scrambled for safety amid the hail of bullets. >> we could hear the clips of the rounds falling to the ground and some rolled up under the first row and were burning our skin. >> next door in theater 8, quentin caldwell heard something strange. >> a distinct pop, pop, pop. my wife grabbed my arm and said that w way too loud. that was real. >> the gunman's weapons were so powerful, bullets were bursting through the wall. >> all of a sudden we hear people gasping and i look over my shoulder and a young lady is getting held down by a couple and she is holding her face. >> theater nine, dozens were down and the shooter with three guns on him and a fourth in the car was only beginning his deadly rampage.
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>> aurora, colorado featured in theater 9. it was chaos. >> there is smoke and explosions and guns being fired. >> stephanie davies was putting pressure on the bullet wound in her friend's neck. >> there is blood and death. >> pierce o farrell and his friend were in trouble. >> pierce, pierce, man i'm shot. i said me too. just stay down. then he shot me a second time. >> on the floor, corbin dates was trying to keep cool. >> the people in front of me are freaking out and my friend is freaking out and we need to stay quiet. >> you are within five or ten feet of this guy. >> i thought he was going to
kill me. >> he was closer than that. >> he standing directly above me. i could feel his boot next to my head. i had my facedown on the ground. i just stayed as still as i possibly could and pray and prayed. >> it was a straight line shot. picking everybody up from one aisle to the next. >> josh nolan was sure he was going to die. the semi automatic weapon jammed. >> if that gun did not jam, i am certain that i probably would not be here. >> the shooter switched weapons and calmly continued firing. >> very methodical. he never once said a word. i never heard a word out of him. >> on the floor, billy fail felt something behind her. >> it's the little boy sitting right next to me.
he is literally clinging to me. i can feel he is terrified. >> at 12:39, word went out to local police. >> a shooting at century theaters. 14300 east alameda avenue. they say someone is shooting in the auditorium. >> officers rush to the scene and arrive within 90 seconds. >> at least one person that has been shot, but they say there is hundreds of people running around. >> inside the theater at some point the shooting stops. dates and his friend ran. >> not hearing any more gunshots. i said we need to bolt out of here now. >> david fail shoved his wife towards the door. >> he is pushing people saying go, go, go, move it, move it. he said he felt the little boy grab his hand. he was pulling both of us out of the theater. >> on the upper part of the
auditorium there were bodies hanging over the chairs. >> i crawled over someone and he wasn't moving. it was a guy in a white shirt and he was laying there on his side. >> i went out into the lobby and a cop was coming in with a shotgun. >> first responders would see the first signs of carnage. >> i need a rescue. we have a guy shot. >> we have another person outside shot in the leg. people running out of the theater that are shot. >> 318, i got another victim on the north side of the theater in the parking lot. >> outside the theater, the desperate hunt for the suspected killer. >> in the rear of the lot. is that the suspect? >> yes, we got the rifles. hold that position. hold your suspect. >> the suspect surrendered without offering any resistance. his hair was died red and he told police i am the joker.
in theater 9, dozens of men, women, and children lay dead or wound and urgently needed help. >> someone is down! i have a child victim i need rescue at the backdoor of theater 9 now! >> as soon as we were out, i look behind me and there was a guy holding the side of his neck and blood all over his face and all over him. that's the moment whenever i just really was freaking out. >> in the parking lot, the struggle to save lives. >> i need as many ambulances as we can to the dillard's lot. i want fire truck there is also and will start bringing them into triage. >> we get outside and that's when we saw the totality of everything and how bad it really was. >> what did you see? >> a young lady, the first one i saw in a pink shirt. she was peppered with blood and wounds down the left side.
that's whey immediately assumed was a shotgun. the ambulances were still showing up. >> not it seems fast enough. given the number of casualties. >> i have one ambulance here. >> dozens of wounded. all at once, overwhelmed responders. cops decided to improvise. >> metro 10, lincoln 25, do i have permission to start taking some of these victims. i have a lot of people shot and no rescue. >> get them in cars and get them out of here. >> we went into disaster mode. >> at university hospital, the doctor and her team were expecting a handful of victims. >> the first person was coming out of the back of the police car. something kind of triggered this is going to be different. >> they pulled the first victim from the car and then -- >> we looked up and there was another car and another police car and another police car. within about 15 or 20 minutes,
we had nine critical patients who were on our doorstep. >> there was a patient in this room right here. >> across town at aurora medical center, this doctor faced a similar scene. >> the first casualty i saw was a man with a large injury to his leg. he had a tournequet. i walked to the rest of the department and noticed multiple other patients. >> the injuries were diverse and severe. >> a lot of them had internal bleeding. those are the ones that are scary for us and what sets the gunshot victims apart from anything else we see. >> vehicles were talking one minute and unresponsive the next. >> there was shotgun blast wounds and other injuries from the high caliber and high velocity weapon. >> at six area hospitals, teams of er professionals kept the shooting victims alive. >> everyone that came in
survived. >> at university hospital, 22 of 23 patients made it. and that is what turned the aurora massacre into the aurora miracle. >> i got very emotional when i saw my patients. some of these patients are so resilient and strong. i think i needed to see them walking and talking. the last picture i have in my head is them on a stretcher, critically injured getting rolled up to an operating room. >> the shooting was over, the injuries under control. the suspect in custody. and yet the terror was far from over. >> make no mistake, this apartment was designed to kill whoever injured it. [ female announcer ] want to spend less and retire with more? then don't get nickle and dimed by high cost investments enred it. annoying actred it.ers [ female announcer ] want to spend less and retire with more?
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music coming from the apartment because it's odd and quiet and we never heard anything. >> music so loud it was annoying and they decided to go up stairs and stop it. it was coming from behind the closed door of james holmes's apartment. >> pear i went up stairs and knocked on the door a few times and realized it was possible low unlocked and i thought about peering in and yelling at them to say hey, turn it down. i just decided not to do that. i just had a trepidation. a little voice told me no, let the cops handle it. >> it was a good thing she didn't get inside. a very good thing. >> make no mistake, okay. this apartment was designed, i say, based on everything i have seen, to kill whoever entered it. >> holmes left a vicious booby trap. 30 homemade explosives and ten gallons of gasoline all
connected to a spaghetti wire triggered to explode by the first person to enter the apartment door. >> if a neighbor or an unassuming pedestrian were to walk in the door or god forbid a first responder they would sustain significant injury or loss of life. >> james holmes was on his way to theater nine. it was part of a meticulous dance of death. police say it was orchestrated by the suspect. he was armed and elaborately committed to kill and committed to death and destruction as humanly possible and an automatic rifle like this one. >> this is the standard meat and potatoes. >> a shotgun like this one and two powerful hand guns and he was ready for mayhem. >> the suspect was dressed in black and wearing a ballistic
helmet, a tactical ballistic vest and ballistic leggings and a throat and groin protector and a gas mask and black tactical gloves. >> the combat gear, the vest, gas mask and ammo bags wchl a few strokes of a keyboard for about $300. purchases with clear fore thought, planning to kill. >> what he was wear figure he encountered resistance, it would offer a measure of protection so he could keep going with his mission to keep shooting people. the patrons in there. >> tom fuentes is a cnn consultant who spent decades at the fbi. >> he was meticulous in the gear he assembled and the equipment and the firepower. >> he only had one thing in mind.
>> to actually kill as many people as he could possibly kill in one shooting spree inside that theater. >> all of it, every gun and every round of ammunition, the protective gear perfectly legal. >> you have nothing that would have come up in his background. you could hire 100 detectives and not find a reason to deny him the ability. >> this is your glock 22. >> he bought the weapons legally and on the internet, he bought thousands of rounds of ammunition and aftermarket extras. extra magazines to hold all the bullets as well as protective gear. when the day broke after the horrific killing spree, law enforcement returned to the apartment. we have all seen the pictures by now. the police poked the windows and finally breaking them ending in a robot camera. >> i have never seen anything
like what the pictures show us is in there. >> it took 36 hours to dismantle the booby traps and remove the danger of the homemade bombs from exploding. which were then driven to a secure location where this is what james holmes had planned for police and firefighters and even for a neighbor complaining about music. anyone who would open his apartment door and enter. >> we are hopeful that we have eliminated the remaining. >> not like it killed people in the building or close to it, but the fire and the damage that could have been done. people reported that the entire third floor would go up in smoke. >> the question is why. who is it and what could have triggered this deadly rampage. nc lettuce, organic kale... does your cauliflower have a big carbon footprint? not at all. that's great. melons!!!
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lives. holmes's mother is a nurse and his father a scientist. >> the last time you saw him, that was not the same person, demeanor you saw in that courtroom on monday? >> definitely not. totally different. >> who really knew him? no close friends have emerged and his family is not talking. if there were warning signs years ago, no one saw them. as a child he was known as jim to his classmates at castroville elementary school in northern california where he played basketball and soccer. >> the way i knew him, he was a very nice kid. he excelled in academics. he was top of the class. even back then, he was the head of every student. >> so much ahead that they all remember jimmy well. >> he finished his test way
before i would. pretty much the rest of the class except for maybe one or two others. >> in the fifth grade, we put together a class website and he collaborated with the computer skills back then as a young kid. >> karrer was his fifth great teacher. >> when i saw the photo of him with black hair, that was not the boy i knew, almost harry potter-like with oval glasses. >> an image that haunts him today. >> it's disturbing to be so close to something like that bothers you to your essence and as a teacher, you think this is one of my kids and you think could i have done anything or did i see anything. did i miss anything? could i have done anything to prevent it and did i do anything to cause it. the answer is no. >> by high school the family was living in san diego and he excel
and made the junior varsity soccer team. after high school in 2006, he attended a rigorous boot camp in neurobiology. this video showing him giving a presentation is in stark contrast to the images after the shooting. >> i'm james. >> not all was well. his supervisor at the institute told the "los angeles times" holmes was socially inept and incredibly uncommunicative and wasn't a particularly good student. still later in college at the university of california riverside, he stood out at least academically. >> his academic credential puts him at the top of the top. very rigorous major that includes a heavily involved in the sciences and physics and chemistry and how the systems work. it's a tough major. >> even with all his academic
achievements, he couldn't find a job right away. >> was he trying to get a job? >> when he graduated from uc riverside he would come home and try to look for a job. jobs were hard to come by because of the economic downturn. >> in 2011 though, james holmes appeared to rebound. he was one of just six students accepted at the university of colorado's neuroscience graduate program. he was awarded a $26,000 grant from the national institutes of health. >> the application to the program is very competitive. we get more than ten applications per opening and we take about five or six a year. >> for the last year he walked this campus, studied here, researched here, yet few knew him. least of all, the campus police whose records show no trouble whatsoever. >> nobody ever brought him to
your attention in any way? >> we had no contact with him on a criminal matter. >> if he had close friends in aurora, nobody is talking. one student told us i worked near him, but i wasn't close to him. i don't think anyone was close to him. another who sat in the same lecture class said i can't remember him uttering a single word. school officials said not to talk with reporters unless cleared in advance. was holmes amassing that arsenal by accepting packages of ammunition sent to the school itself? >> they came in by way of u.p.s. or fedex, nobody would know about it. there thousands of packages that come into this institution every day. >> the university said a package from holmes was delivered at the school on monday after the shooting. it was sent to a psychiatrist holmes was seeing.
dr. lynn fent on, also the university's medical director of student mental health service. some say he wrote about killing people and fent on did not respond to an e-mail or phone calls. in may according to this schedule he was supposed to get give a presentation on biomarkers that exploers genetics and mental illness. he cooked required exams and did poorly. days later he told the university he was withdrawing, but didn't give a reason. the access to secure areas of the school was removed. he applied online on june 25th to join this private gun range, a half hour drive from his apartment. the owner listened to a voice message that he describes as weird. almost like the person leaving the message was drunk.
he told cnn, gutteral, freakish, maybe drunk, just weird and bizarre. it was james holmes's message. he was recently on this website posting a picture in red hair. it is a sex site, adult friend finder.com. still on the outside, james holmes appeared normal. jackie mitchell, a neighbor, remembers having a beer with holmes at this local bar. it was just four days before the shooting. >> i mean just intelligent-looking guy. i mean i don't know what a killer looks like, but it didn't look like him. >> few answers as to what became of the james holmes who showed so much promise a dozen years ago. >> i would like to know what happened in that 13 or 14-year period that led to this. it's obviously not the kid we went to school with. it's a tragedy what happened and what took place and a tragedy for his family and all the
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♪ amazing grace how sweet the sound ♪ >> sunday evening. less than 72 hours after the shooting stopped, thousands gathered on the lawn surrounding aurora's municipal center. >> wow! look around. isn't it amazing the outpouring of support for the victims, their families and our community. >> it was a massive prayer vigil. time for hugs, tears, and prayers. >> we weep with you today, but we weep because we have hope
that tomorrow is going to be brighter. we are aurora. we grieve together. >> the main purpose to help the shattered community find a way back. >> our hearts are broken, our community is not. we will take this experience and use it to strengthen our commitment to each other. our aurora will be a model city on how to absorb and overcome a terrible and unexpected tragedy. >> aurora, colorado. miles east of denver. before it was striving to be a model of resilience, it was a model of diversity and mosaic of different cultures and half of the 25,000 residents are
minorities. >> i cover the aurora public school districts and it's one with the highest number of languages spoken in the entire country. more than 150. there is a big african community. >> the local computer grew up in aurora. >> i think you can't find a place as american as this city. just in terms of the diversity. >> when you grew up, was it as diverse? >> my ridiculouses start as a little kid growing up across the street from a palestinian family and my father is jewish and they were my best friends. it wasn't until i was holder dithink this is a situation that is probably unique to aurora and the united states. >> and from this unique place came a unique response to the tragedy. hours after the shooting,
brother of 24-year-old victim jessica gowi erased an uncommon idea. keep the shooter's name out of the media. >> i want the word out about my sifter and her life and i don't want the media to be saturated by the shooter's name. he gets his two seconds of television. i want the victims to be remembered rather than this coward. >> it was an idea quickly embraced by the community. >> i refuse to say his name. we will call him suspect a in our house. >> it was a message that resonated across the nation. after meeting with the survivors and victims's families, even
president obama agreed not to mention the shooter's name. that vow also hit home with a community all too familiar with tragedy. in a shadow of aurora 20 miles away. >> i am in full support of this idea of not naming the shooter's name and not putting attention on the shooter. >> craig scott is say survivor of the columbine shooting 13 years ago. two of the 13 people who died in the tragedy were scott's friends. shot right in front of him. another was his sister. 17-year-old rachel scott, murdered while sitting on the grass near the school entrance. >> for would have helped me to hear the names of the shooters at columbine to see them less on the media and see them less on the front pages of newspapers holding their guns.
it's a move that may erase the killer's name and can't erase the pain. one thing that can help, scott said is spreading kindness. it's why his family created a foundation called rachel's challenge to try prevent more school violence. what helps most of all he said is to remember the lives of the victims. >> mckayla. veronica moser-sullivan. alex sullivan. alexandra teagues. >> we remember. next. ♪ why not make lunch more than just lunch?
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12 lives, 12 futures, 12 names that must be remembered instead of that name everyone wants to forget. we will remember them. alex sullivan. >> this is him. his name is alex sullivan. today is his birthday. >> before we knew per her sho who live and who died. alex sullivan was one of the first names we heard. in the hours after the shooting, his father desperately searched for his missing 27-year-old son. >> i am crying because i know he is hurt. i know he is hurt. i have got to get to him and find out where he is. >> alex never made it out of the theater. he had gone there friday night with a group of friends. it was two days before his first wedding anniversary and the night of his 27th birthday. he tweeted, oh, man, one hour till the movie and it's going to be the best birthday ever.
>> i always saw him as bigger than life. if you want to count a rich man as the people who know him and that friend, he was the wealthiest man i ever met. yeah. >> veronica moser-sullivan. >> she was the smallest victim of this big tragedy and you have no doubt seen her picture. an adorable 6-year-old finding delight in a drippy ice cream cone. >> a vibrant 6-year-old who just learned how to swim. a great girl excited about life. >> she loved to read and play dress up. he was at the theater for girls's night. a mother still in the hospital, devastated by the loss of herrer adorable daughter. her father's reaction to the shocking loss, she is the last girl i will ever love. alexander jboit. everyone called him aj and he too was just getting his life
started. family and friend who is posted this video on facebook said he always brought a smile and a quick wit to every occasion. he dreamed of being an art teacher and supposed to start art school in the fall. micayl ahmedic. three years away from a college degree. she said on her facebook page, i'm a support independent girl who is just trying to get her living to while still having fun. john larimer. >> she was an outstanding ship mate and member of our navy team and dedicated sailor. >> he his future mapped out. a 27-year-old petty officer in the navy, he was the 4th generation of a military family going back to his great grandfather who served in world war i.
>> jesse childress, another military man, air force staff sergeant. he worked hard by day and liked to have fun at night. >> for there was a flag football team, he was there to doo do it. he would go bowling every tuesday night. >>or friday night, he mixed work with pleasure, a comic book super hero fan, he went to the movie with air force buddies and he was fatally wounded when he dove in front of a female friend. it wasn't the only act of heroism that night. alex teves. the 24-year-old arizona native is all about life. it's not surprising to those close to him that he would lose his live to save another. that night he blocked a bullet from hitting his girlfriend. she said there was no doubt he saved her life. >> every ounce of my being, i wouldn't be here without him. >> friends say he is say hero by
day. he just graduateed from the university of denver with a masters in counseling. he had a passion for sports and a bigger passion for working with children. >> here would take time to mentor kids in the community who didn't have dads and were just hurting. >> matt mcquinn, the ohio native and his girlfriend had been dating for two years. his heroic act will be remembered by her forever as the attack on the theater began, he threw himself in front of samantha. >> it's not surprising to me that his first thought would be her. that's what a man does. he protects his loved ones. i am very proud of him. we are going to miss him. jonathan blunk. >> he laid up against me and told me what to do and guided me
in that situation. saved my life. >> she said her boyfriend has always been a hero. at age 26, he had served five years in the navy and hoped to one day become a navy s.e.a.l. those close to him remember jonathan's humor, spontaneity and love for his 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. gordon cow den also left two children that night. their memories will be of a 51-year-old man who one friend called a true texas gentlemen who loved life and his family. a quick-witted world traveler with a keen sense of humor. rebecca wingo, a hardworking single mother, wingo juggled the challenge of working while raising two young daughters. after 11 years, the 32-year-old was studying to help foster children and friends say she did it with a smile that lit up the room.
jessica ghawi is whose smile is familiar to many. she was the first victim identified. her boyfriend remembers. >> i guess like a firecracker. she was exploding with personality and charisma and happiness. >> an aspiring sportscaster, she used the last name redfield on the air. fiery red hair and electric personality made those close to her know she would be a star some day. >> no doubt she would have done it and been someone the world would have known for a different reason. >> jessica like 11 others will now be remembered because the unimaginable happened. for those left behind, there is mourning. a fight to find meaning and a search for some kind of peace that drove