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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  July 20, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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and hello, everyone, i'm kyra phillips, it's 11:00 on the east coast, 8:00 on the west. i also want to welcome our international viewers at this hour. president obama talked about that shot nothing aurora. here's what happened during the midnight showing of the new batman movie. the suspected gunman unloaded on the crowd after filling the room
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with the squirrel. look now at a cell phone video that was taken outside of the theater. 12 people were murdered, 10 dies outside that thter, two others at the hospital. 38 hours were wounded, one of whom, a 3-month-old baby. local reports say at least nine of the victims are now in critical condition. here's how one witness describeded the scene. >> came in and he started lighting a gas can and he threw it into the crowd. at that point he shot his first fire into the celling to scare everybody and everybody started scattering and mass kchaos started to happen. at that point he started shooting people behind me and i had bullets that were on my forehead, burning my forehead and i thought i need to get out of here, i need to get out of here and i crawled on the ground and just curled up into a ball.
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i said to my friend corbin, as soon as he goes up the stair, we got to crawl, we got to get out of here. >> a suspect in custody, in dust city right now. he had one shotgun and two handguns, he had one canister believed to be tear gas, still no motive. the ongoing investigation happening right now, this is video from the suspect's apartment building, james holmes had told police he had rigged his apartment with explosives. we also know how holmes got into the theater. law enforcement officers say he propped the door open before the i attack. some people even thought the gun fire and smoke were part of the show, a stunt designed just for the premier. our ed lavendera just touched
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down in aurora. what have you been able to find out who star? >> reporter: good morning, heky, we arrived on the scene just a short while ago, still trying to assess the situation as quickly as we can. but we have had a clahance to speak with several witnesses who were in that theater when the shooting erupted. many of them still wearing batman t-shirts, they have not slept all night long, they went out for what they expected to be a very fun time watching this premier of the movie for the first time. one witness was sitting in the far back, and he described to me just a little while ago, he saw someone go into the back of the theater and threw a canister up into the air and a lot of people thought it was fire works.
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then the gun fire erupted. he said he heard between 15 to 20 gunshots and went on to describe the incredibly chaotic scene. and there was someone in the movie theater next door that was also playing the batman movie as well. that witness said that the gun fire erupted at one point in the movie where there was a shoot-out scene, so you couldn't tell will it was gun fire or part of the movie and there were bullets flying through the wall and had injured people. one man said he had a friend who was grazed by the bullet when the gun fire went off. this theater is attached to a large shopping mall here in aurora, colorado. which is a suburb of denver. we saw law enforcement here going inside the movie theater, assessing the situation and trying to piece together what has happened. but the witness descriptions of what it was like being inside that movie theater when this gun
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fire erupted is simply chilling and many people just grateful to be alive and still trying to figure out just how seriously wounded some their friends are at this point. >> i know you just got there, you just touched down and you're working all your sources and talking to eyewitnesses. i just want to throw a couple of things out you may know, you may not know. we'll just go with the flow here, i saw a number of reports that the gunman was possibly dressed like one of the characters in the movie and that sort of fooled people. they thought that the gun fire or the sounds of gun fire were a part of the premier, and that he was possibly dressed like one of the characters. we heard he had a bullet-proof vest on, wearing a gas mask, what is your assessment been so far of those descriptions? >> reporter: well, the -- a
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couple of the witnesses that i have had a chance to speak with so far early on, one of the witnesses who stood out to be the most vividly remembers what was like staring at the gunman, with him wearing a gas mask. as far as what else he was wearing, the witnesses i spoke with said he was dressed in very dark clothing, he definitely appeared to perhaps be wearing some sort of vest or bullet-proof vest perhaps. they weren't totally sure, but they could tell he was definitely dressed in dark clothing. that canister, when that person opened up the door next to the movie screen, which was the exit door and they saw a canister fly through the air and it hit the ground and it started exploding. some people thought it was firecrackers, the witnesses i spoke to didn't say they thought it was part of the movie. in a matter of seconds they knew it was something much more serious because the gun fire started erupting. the witnesses i spoke with also
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said they vividly remember hearing the sounds of gun fire. and as we have been reporting, the system came in with various different types of weapons. the gunman backed that up. a clear description of the gunman changing weaponry as the attack went on. those are some of the stories and glimpses we're getting of what went on inside that movie theater last night. >> two quick questions and ed let me know if we need to move on. i've got two more questions for ed lavendera. the bodies are they still in the movie theater? obviously there's a huge forensic investigation that needs to take place. do you know about the victims and if indeed those that were murdered are the bodies still in the theater? >> as far as bodies, i'm not sure at this point, we're still trying to figure out that out. we haven't had a chance to speak
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is with law enforcement here on the scene just yet. we do know that many of the people who were wounded actually in the theater themselves were pulled out. many people were taken to hospitals still being treated in hospitals as well. a great number of people who were wounded in this attack. but that scene inside the movie theater, it was described as a horrific scene and obviously a situation where those law enforcement officers and those crime scene investigators are in there right now combing through all of that. >> got it. ed lavendera there, just arriving in aurora, colorado. we'll check back in with you live in colorado. as you have heard a number of these witnesses say they were staring death right in the face. that's what hundreds of people did last night when all they wanted to do was be the first one to see that new bat man movie, a lot of people as you
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know are sharing their stories this morning. these are just a few of them. >> reporter: it was a midnight movie massacre, this is the cell phone video taken by someone at the theater, showing frantic people fleeing the building. some with blood on their clothes. >> somebody kicked in the emergency exit and started throwing gas grenades and shooting people at random. >> at first it took me a moment to realize what was going on. then i hit the ground so i would been hit. >> reporter: at first some of the movie goers thought the smoke and gun fire was just a stunt, all a part of the premier. >> he came in and he started lighting a gas can and he threw it into the crowd. and at that point he fired his first shot in the ceiling to scare people and people started scatterering. i was terrified so i just defense into the aisle. and at that point he started
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shooting people behind me. and i had bullets burning my forehead and i was just thinking, i got to get out of here, i got to get out of here. >> reporter: one person saw bullets actually coming through the walls. a friend described the gunman to him. >> a man about six feet tall, taller than her kicked through the door and he was in -- she said a riot helmet, she said he had a bullet-proof vest on, she said that he was completely covered in all black with guns. she said after that point when she said she saw him holding a shotgun, her and her boyfriend dropped to the floor and just started to crawl to see if they could get away. they got up and they started to n through the emergency exit. she said that when she turned around, all she saw was the guy slowly making hie ining his way
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stairs and shooting at random people. >> reporter: random people, shaken and shocked and right in the middle of the gun fire, many of them teenagers like 15-year-old william. >> all i sad saw was a man bust open the entrance of the right corner and he throws a tear grenade and we're thinking at that point it's part of the show. but then we realized he started shooting and at that time we realized it was serious and there was screaming and it was shocking. >> reporter: outside the movie theater, those who managed to get out safely, described the horrifying scene. >> when we got out of the building, it was just chaos, you saw injured people, there was this one guy who was on all fours crawling, there was this girl spitting up blood, there were bullet holes in some people's back, some people's arms, there was this one guy who was stripped down to just like his boxers, it looked like he
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and welcome back, everyone, and welcome to our international viewers. we are still on breaking news this morning. we're talking about that massacre in a movie theater in colorado. 12 people dead, 38 injured in aurora. and now we're trying to put faces and names together. talking about the victims. one of those who was killed, jessica ghawig. a denver area radio host lost a really good friend last night. why don't you go ahead and tell us how you knew her and how you found out that she had been killed. >> she was just such a vibrant
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young girl. she just wanted a career in sports journalism. so she started saving up money and kind of begging her family, allow me to move to denver and chase my dream and this is where you need to be to further your career. and so about a year ago, she moved out here and she was just like a little chihuahua, she wanted to put, you know, be involved in everything. and it was such a great heart and worked for all the sports organizations here with internships and i was awoken by a phone call from her brother last night at 2:30 a.m. but in a weird way, i didn't pick it up and said, oh, i'll just give them a call in the morning, and then sure enough before my show this morning, it was confirmed. >> wow, so did you hear a voicemail then from her brother? >> her brother had not left a voicemail this morning, but what
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w was eerie during this commotion this morning i checked my facebook account and there was a message from her probably around, i want to say 11:00 p.m. or so last night. asking if i was back in town from a vacation i had taken. we were all taking each other to the airport and we were kind of each other's support system and it's still surreal right here right now. >> this is the first chance that we have been able to really talk in depth about one of the victims, because you know what happened overnight it's been hard to get information. and this is extremely difficult for grieving families, just so we can take a moment to lift her up, and i think that all of us in this business can relate to someone this young and energetic and excited about starting her career. i think you pointed out that
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perfect, you'll go anywhere, you'll take whatever pay to take advantage of someone that's giving you an opportunity to make it in this business and it sounds like you were one that believed in her andi you were giving her that opportunity. >> i talked to her mother just briefly, and i asked her, do you want me to talk and she said absolutely, she said we need to celebrate the lives but also jessica, and the gareat people, what is going to live on more so is going to be the name of the coward that did this, and i understand that's the world we live in now, but any opportunity to talk about the story and i'll do it really quickly. >> peter, you don't have to do it quickly. you go ahead. >> about a week and a half ago,
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but i left town, she and a friend said can we have dinner, i have an idea i want to talk about you with. so i said let's do dinner. there's these horrific wildfires here in the denver area, i want to do something for the family who wanted -- bless her soul, she didn't know how to set up a charity, but she says i've contacted all these different organizations, these players, and these blogs, and they'ring with willing to help, how do i set it up, how do i get it to the victims of the wild fire. but one thing that always hit me, is she said i don't want my name on this, i'm not doing this to further my career, there's people that won't be able to play hockey now because of this tragedy, how can we help?
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>> oh, my gosh. >> it was just that, over and over and over again, you're not going to find a person that had more of a heart and more passion of what they wanted to do. and it's just amazing to me and i hope we can celebrate with her and all of the rest of the victims of this tragedy. >> how old was jessica? >> i believe she was 24. >> 24. young and had just transferred over here about a year ago, and crazy enough she had just moved to that area of town about a month ago in order to save money so she could continue to kind of pursue her career and do what she wanted to do? >> is she from colorado? >> no, she's from texas. >> just before i left you go, did her mother say anything to you that she wanted folks to know how she wants her daughter to be remembered, i mean that's incredible that mom even had the
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energy to talk with you, peter. >> and she just said that she wanted to tell the story, and jessica was amazing person, and she was so vibrant on twitter and it's a weird way to kind of remember, but trending right now is the r.i.p. jessica on twitter, she was found on twitter@jessica wrenfield. she was at the mall shootings just about a month ago when that happened and blogged about it. any way that we can keep her name out there and like i said, the more we can celebrate those lives of victims that did this is a better day. >> peter burns, thanks so much for calling in, i really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> all morning we have been talking to people who were sitting in those theater seats and we're hearing a story of pure horror.
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>> we heard gunshots and like little explosions going on and a little after that, we heard people screaming. and they came on the pa system and pulled the fire alarm and said everybody needed to get out. and as soon as we got out, we saw people running around screaming. >> there was a guy who was on all fours crawling. there was this girl spitting up blood, there were bullet holes in people's backs, people's arms, there was this one guy who was stripped down to his boxers, he was shot in the back or something, it was crazy. ionth c. would you mind if i go ahead of you? instead we had someone go ahead of him and win fifty thousand dollars. congratulations you are our one millionth customer. people don't like to miss out on money that should have been theirs. that's why at ally we have the raise your rate 2-year cd. you can get a one-time rate increase if our two-year rate goes up.
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i want to welcome our viewers here in the states and across the world, we are following that horrifying challenge in aurora, colorado. 12 people killed, 38 injured after a gunman opens fire in a movie theater. it actually happened during a midnight showing of the new batman movie. now a 24-year-old suspect is in police custody.
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we're also learning about those who were killed and those who were injured. you might have heard my interview with a radio host out of denver who told us one of the victims, jessica redman, an aspiring journalist in the sports business. now i'm being told that possibly some of these victims not sure if it's a number of them involved in this situation. barbara starr at the pentagon for us. possibly members of our military, barbara. >> that's exactly right. this tragedy now reaching out and touching our military families. here at the pentagon, the press secretary was 230e8d by george little that there are now in his words indications that some of the casualties, he is not saying whether they are deceased or injured, some of the casualties
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were members of the united states military. but in addition to that, we have heard from buckley air force base, which is nearby in aurora, colorado that they have some military members among the injured. so what we know is that amongst the injured, some are members of the u.s. military, according to these reports and the pentagon tells us that there were some military casualties. that's a very interesting word, in these situations, kyra, casualties, they are not saying yet whether they're referring to the injuries we know from buckley service members or possibly tragically fatalities because certainly family notifications are underway with all of this and with the investigation continuing. buckley air force base nearby in aurora, colorado began a count, a head check this morning at 2:00 a.m., when this happened. they began calling all of the
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service members and families stationed at buckley to check in on everyone, make sure that everyone was okay, that their family members, possibly children who were attending the movie, so they for the last several hours have been going through their phone lists, trying to contact everybody, and they have about 10,000 military personnel stationed at buckley, who are both air force, army reserve, army national guard, some in other services as well. this is sort of a joint base, if you think of it that way, so it's taken them several hours to get through that phone list, now confirming that they do have some military members among the injured, tragically the pentagon saying that florida mithere are casualties. >> you have fbi experience, police experience, but since barbara is mentioning
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casualties, possibly members of our military, here's what's interesting, we know how our members of the military are trained, we know what they're all about and their courage. it's possible that some of these men and women might have tried to take this gunman down, lost their lives doing that, injured doing that. now this adds an interesting element to this chaos. >> it does, in fact, i was speak earlier on our sister network hln to a marine who was there with his significant other, heard the weapon, was describing the shots, the chaos, what was going on right after that, but he wasn't in any position in the theater to take any kind of action, but he smelled what appeared to be tear gas or pepper spray inside the theater, but he described the scene as total chaos. >> is that a source you need to -- i always want to make sure, if something's coming through let me know because we're always talking with our sources in situations like this.
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let's back up for a second and just talk about the gunman, 24 years old. you know, he's dressed some say like a character in the movie. let me ask you about the fact that he didn't resist arrest. does that tell you this guy was -- it was the thrill of the kill, he wanted attention, he got it, he was done. >> why did he wear a bullet resistant vest? why did he have, as some witnesses describe, a helmet on and a gas mask. you know, law enforcement, their headquarters are only about three blocks away from this theater, aurora police headquarters so they got there very quickly. >> let me ask you, because you have dealt with guys like this before. they want to go as long as they can. so they're going to gear up, right? the thrill is the gunfight and wanting to survive as long as they can because they think it's heroic. >> and he had a shotgun, an ak-style rifle, we don't know if it was fully automatic,
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semiautomatic and a couple of handguns. we're not hearing that. but a lot of times you hear when there's a shooting like this, they'll either take their life or they'll have law enforcement kill them. this guy is 24 years old. we don't know the motive. >> does he have a rap sheet? >> we don't know that. we know that he was a resident of aurora, colorado. there might have been tennessee tags on his vehicle. because his vehicle was parked right behind the theater of the parking lot of the theater. >> you don't necessarily need training to do something like this, because this could have been a guy who was watching television shows, was on the internet and got pieces, got a helmet. >> we haven't been able to specifically say was he acting
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alone or was there somebody else helping them. there was witness accounts that there was a guy sitting on the first row, it appeared he was taking a cell phone call, that he went outside and propped the door open. was this that guy? they believe it might v but law enforcement, they're going on right now that he was acting alone. but i know never to say never when it comes to this. but the important thing is what are they finding inside that apartment. >> let's talk about the apartment because they have got video of that, i couldn't figure out if it was s.w.a.t. or fbi. >> first of all they were using a mirror or some kind of listening device before they put the tower ladder up here from the fire department. they used the pipe hole and they knocked the windows out. >> let me explain to folks about the mirror, that's a way you go outside without putting your face up next to the window to try and figure out if there's
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booby-traps inside the apartment. >> they brought in this tower ladder, they were looking inside the window. there's maybe some other technology that they were using i know that's available there. you see at least one fbi agent, he's in a green vest and some other officers coming, you see them clear the window out with that pipe pole, then they pulled the frame out. but in between, it looked like he was taking pictures, or using some type of a scanning device, maybe a thermal imaging descrvi. me, before i was scene on the scene, me as a former investigator, you always have to worry about booby-traps. did this guy think that he wasn't going to be coming back there, and that's why he booby-trapped it. these are all questions that remain unanswered. the fire department, they had
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pulled supply lines and hand lines, hoeses and they were in there with self-contained breathing apparatus, for a while, because that apartment still wasn't secure. and they're pulling those lines as a precaution should there be any kind of fire inside that apartment. >> they said no exploeives, but items of interest are we talking about computer, are we talking about a journal, are we talking about, you know, what's it call, not a man script-what m atalking about, manifesto. >> there's always a possible. they're going to be looking at his social media. we have seen other incidents where people who have done this, before they do something like this, they'll post something on facebook or some other social media site. was he by himself? how long was he -- this wasn't just a spur of the moment thing, this was something that was
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planned out. how long had he been planning on this, and had he maybe told other people about this or intimating something that was happening. these are all questions that the local police and the fbi had. and i tell you the fbi out in aurora, they have a great relationship with law enforcement out there? they have a rocky mountain task force that started up a number of years ago, and aurora is one of those people that's on the task face. they work well with those agencies there. but they do have him in custody. >> mike thank you very much. appreciate it. >> we're going to keep you updated on everything that's happening in aurora, colorado, stay with us as we get the details. alright emma, i know it's not your favorite but it's time for your medicine, okay? you ready? one, two, three. [ both ] ♪ emma, emma bo-bemma ♪ banana-fana-fo-femma ♪ fee-fi-fo-femma ♪ em-ma
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we welcome our viewers here in the united states. we are just getting the first details from witnesses of the
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shooting rampage. the eexplosion of gas grenades, the tear gas, the suffocating smoke and chaos, all before the bullets started to fly. >> all i hear is gunshot after gunshot and just women and children are screaming. all i smelled was gunpowder in the air and i was just terrified and the gas was getting to me and i was having a hard time breathing and i was telling them if you don't get out of here, i'm going to suffocate. >> our chris cohn has been monitoring all the details. why don't we start, 38 people wounded, a 3-month-old baby one of them. we're told nine in critical condition, is that right? tell us what we need to know. this is not just a matter of people being treated for gunshot wounds. these people were -- not only do
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they need to be treated with bullet wounds, they have to be decontaminated, they need to be stripped of all their clothes, they need to be washed down with soap and water which is what you do when you have a tear gas expose sure. >> i remember being in a situation like that in iraq, and it was my co-worker that started having horrendous respiratory problems, could not breathe, could not get it out of her system. explain to our viewers if you're right here there tear gas. >> you're in a relatively small enclosed area, there is no place for it to go. this is a very heavy vapor and it will often go down. so people were probably going down to the ground to avoid the bullets, well, they're going down into the tear gas, because
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that's where the tear gas goes. we think of tear gas as something that affects the eyes, which it does, it almost affects the nose, the mouth, the lungs, you're having difficulty in all those places, you're coughing, your lungs are irritated, people often vomit. it's almost a systemic reaction. >> let's talk about the victims now and their injuries. they have to deal with that, they have to deaccontaminate the people as they bring them in. you're having large numbers of people being brought in. nine critical patients all at once. >> that's a lot to deal with. >> can you imagine being the parent, you're there trying to dodge the bullets and you've got this baby on your lap and you're
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trying to protect them and you, i can't imagine. >> you're trying to protect this baby, an as an adult. >> they're smaller, the dosage is even higher, they're much more vulnerable to any kind of a tear gas injury. >> elizabeth cohen, please keep us updated on the victims. we're going to continue following breaking news here on cnn, for the latest developments, watch us live or you can go straight to i got mine in iraq, 2003. usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation. because it offers a superior level of protection, and because usaa's commitment to serve the military, veterans and their families is without equal. begin your legacy, get an auto insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve.
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once again we welcome back our viewers across the world as we follow the breaking news here on cnns. here's what we know about that deadly shooting at the movie theater in aurora, colorado. the man identified as the
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suspect, 24 years old, white male, police say he was wearing a gas mask and a bullet-proof vest. susan candiotti joining us live from new york. susan, this is changing by the second, i understand you have new information with regard to the weapons? >> that's right, more of a description about the types of weapons that were found involved in this case. first, they found a 12-gauges shotgun, now a 12-gauge shotgun has a legal capacity of carrying up to three shells at a time. but of course it could be modified. but normally this is a weapon that would fire one shell at a time. in addition to that, they also have recovered an ak-47 type of assault rifle. now it is these guns are typically capable of being equipped with a magazine that can hold up to 30 rounds at a time.
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it is not known if this is an automatic or a semiautomatic. it is not known if you hold the trigger down, it could fire off more than one round. in addition, kyra, they also have recovered two handguns, no further description about that. we also want to talk about what they're doing about all these weapons, naturally they want to try to find out where they did come from? were they purchased? were they stole on? is there any military connection to this? how did he acquire these guns or was someone providing them to them, did he have any help. a lot of things they want to take a look at, and a lot of work they may be doing involving these weapons. they also have additional information about the search that is now going on at that apartment. remember, we have been reporting all along that they have been approaching this very, very
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carefully, still trying to make entry into that apartment. there are fears about that apartment where he lived, the suspect. because it could be booby-trapped. now that information came from the suspect himself, saying that he left behind an explosive device of some kind. so this could take a very long time before authorities actually get inside that place. they obviously are taking all kinds of steps, we have been seeing them using those ladders, poking through windows, and of course they want to be properly equipped before they themselves go inside to make sure they're well protected. >> susan candiotti reporting from new york. uilt the first ra, the first trade route to the west, the greatest empires. then, some said, we lost our edge. well today, there's a new new york state.
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this is cnn breaking news. president obama has canceled his campaign events today in light of the shooting in aurora, colorado, but he did make a quick stop in fort myers, florida, to have a chance to speak about the tragedy.
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>> i'm sure that many of you who are parents here have the same reaction that i did when i heard this news. my daughters go to the movies. what i malia and sasha had been at the theater. as so many of the kids do every day. michelle and i will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter tonight, and i'm sure you will do the same with your children, but for those parents who may not be so lucky, we have to embrace them, and let them know that we will be there for them as a nation. >> mitt romney also weighed in this morning offering his condolences and prayers saying that ann and i are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence and we are praying for them fa lis and the loved ones of the incident with immense shock and disbelief.
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we will bring that press conference you in a moment live.
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and the breaking news is out of aurora, colorado, this morning. new york mayor michael bloomberg now speaking out against gun violence in the wakef the colorado shootings, and a local new york radio station, he issued a challenge to the presidential candidates to open up about their stances on gun control. >> soothing words are nice, but maybe it is time that the two people who want to be president of the united states stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it. because this is obviously a problem across the country. >> and as the first shots rang out, there was a moment when reality and fiction definitely blurred. many people watching the movie thought that they were hearing the explosions, gunshots, screaming as part of the shootout unfolding on the screen. then suddenly, it was clear what was happening was a massacre within their own theater.
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>> it was a scene where anne hathaway is basically in a shootout with the police, and so there is all of the gunshots going through the theater, and at one point, you know, one of the shots just happens to be really, really loud, and it is so much so that i kind of go for a second i could not hear and i hear a loud ringing and joking with my brother, i say, hey, we are actually, i mean, and these sound effects have gotten pretty good, and then you start to hear them again and people are screaming in the theater and then it starts to register that there is something wrong here. and we all start to make our way to the exit, and in runs a guy who yells, don't go to the lobby, he has got a gun. >> and the live coverage of the massacre in colorado will continue after the break.
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