tv The Situation Room CNN July 20, 2012 1:00pm-4:00pm PDT
being your child in that movie theater. your cousin's child or your neighbor's child. and that reality makes the pain and the grief too intense for words. but we can't let it keep us from our lives. >> thank you for being with me today. our thoughts and prayers go to those in colorado. i'm brooke baldwin. now to wolf blitzer. "the situation room" begins now. brooke, thanks very much. we're continuing to follow the breaking news. >> i got seven down in theater 9. >> a horrible mass shooting in a movie theater near denver. 71 people dead -- excuse me, 71 people shot, 12 of them are dead. many of the wounded still are in critical condition. a suspect is in custody. colorado's governor calling him a man with a "deranged mind."
we're getting new pictures and details as we speak including more from the survivors and heartbreaking stories about the victims. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we're going live to the scene of the shooting in just a moment. but first a quick rundown of what happened on this horrible day. the shooting started after midnight about 12:38 a.m. in theater 9 of the century aurora 16 multiplex. aurora's a suburb of denver. about 15 minutes into the midnight showing of the new batman movie "the dark knight rise rises," a lone gunman came in near the screen. >> when he came in, i thought he was some kind of prop or thee tri kal guy. he let off a canister of gas and it exploded. everybody thought it was a prop, but then he shot up in the air and everybody started to panic at that point.
when he went straight from the air, he came down with his gun in my face. he was about three feet away from me at that point. in that instant i honestly didn't know what to do. i was terrified. >> cell phone video posted on youtube shows the panic and the confusion as people ran out of the theater. some of them drenched in blood. police were on the scene within two minutes of when the shooting started. some stormed the theater. others helped the victims. >> theater is secure. we're bringing out bodies now. get someone in the back as soon as you can. rescue personnel. cruiser ten, i need a medical crew. i've got one victim e vis rated. >> shut the movie off in 9. >> do i have permission to start taking some of these victims? i got a whole bunch of people shot out here and no rescue. >> yes. load them up. get them in cars. get them out of here. >> the suspected gunman now identified as 24-year-old james eagan holmes.
he was arrested outside the theater near the back of a apartment. outside police found three weapons in that car, another gun was found inside the theater. authorities evacuated everyone in the suspect's apartment building by 4:00 a.m. after he warned them that his home was booby trapped. when they broke in later they found incendiary and chemical devices as well as apparent trip wires. police are still on the scene at that apartment. let's get the very latest right now starting with cnn's ed lavandera. he's over at the movie theater where all of this unfolded. what is the very latest, ed? >> reporter: wolf, we've just confirmed with a law enforcement source as to where these four guns were purchased. we've been told by this law enforcement source that all four guns were purchased legally within the last six months. two of the guns were purchased at a bass pro shop in the city of denver. one of the guns was purchased at a mountain gander gun store here in the town of aurora. another was purchased at a gander mountain in thornton,
colorado, as well. again, law enforcement source saying those guns were purchased legally within the last six months. we're also told by that law enforcement source that they had found a drum magazine that was connected to the ar-15 rifle. this would have given james holmes the ability to shoot about 100 rounds with that magazine. and the source saying obviously that gave him much more capability to fire off many many rounds once inside that theater. and, wolf, what we've learned from talking to witnesses who were inside theater number 9 when this shooting erupted in the early morning just before 12:40, just a few minutes after the batman movie had premiered and started playing in that movie theater, a horrifying accounts of what happened. many people simply felt trapped. spoke with one witness sitting next to a man shot in the chest. the descriptions of what happened in there, wolf, have simply been horrifying. >> right now what's the scene like where you are? i assume that investigators are
all over the place, certainly over the apartment complex as well. >> reporter: you can imagine it's a horrible scene still inside the movie theater where investigators are still inside according to the police chief here in aurora who spoke just a few hours ago, many of the victims' bodies are still inside that theater while they continue to do their investigative work and do all the ballistic work that they need to do. and really what they're trying to figure out here is motive. the police chief would not comment on what james holmes' motive was. and interestingly enough not a lot of specifics as to how he got into the movie theater presuming that that exit door -- witnesses told us he had come into the theater from the exit door, which was just to the right of the movie screen which led to the outside of the movie theater building. presuming that door is locked from the outside, police not saying exactly how james holmes could have gotten in there. did he have help? did he leave that door propped open at some point? to what degree was all this
planned out? >> ed, standby for a moment. i'm going to be coming back to you. we've got a lot of reporters on the scene right now. our own anderson cooper is in colorado. he's going to be reporting later tonight including for us here in "the situation room." we're watching all of this unfold. it's been a horrible, horrible day not only for the people of aurora but for all of the people who have been watching all of this unfold in the united states and around the world. it's just been an unbearable situation for so many folks there. jennifer seeger was with a friend in the second row of the aurora movie theater when the gunman stormed in. jennifer is joining us now from aurora. and, jennifer, first of all, how are you doing right now after the ordeal you went through? >> honestly, i'm just taking it one step at a time. i'm trying to just be strong for those families that lost their family members today. it's kind of a shelter shock for
me right now. it hasn't really sunk in. but i think the more time that i have to settle down and reflect over things, it's going to start to get to me and wear on me. i'm trying to push through and be strong for the people that lost their families. >> all right. so just walk us through first of all where were you sitting when that alleged gunman came through that exit door near the front of the theater? >> i was -- there's a screen, right? and then there's the front row. i was in the second row behind that on the very right side. i was the first person he could see when he walked in the door on the right hand side through emergency exits. and he -- everybody thought he was just some kind of actor or some kind of prop or some kind of thing that was supposed to enhance the premier as far as that goes. and then they started noticing that it was real. and he had taken a canister of gas and took the top of it and let it off into the crowd. and it was tear gas or something of that nature. and it was getting hard to breathe. and then he at that point shot his first fire into the ceiling.
and then everybody began to panic saying there's a gun, there's a gun, everybody started running. then straight from the ceiling he pulled his gun down and put it in front of my face. there was a gun literally in front of my face -- he was about three or four feet away from me. and at that point i was just in a panic. and i realized if i didn't do anything, if i just stood there and i didn't move or try anything, i literally had five seconds to live. he was going to shoot me. so i just dove as fast and quick as i could into the aisle. and i just tucked myself under the chair as fast as i could can my best friends. and i was telling everybody to be calm and not move until he went up the stairs. and then crawl out of the aisle. in the meantime he was shooting people behind me. and there was bullets about this big flying by my face. and they were hot. they were rounds. i could smell the gun powder. i could hear people moaning and groaning. women and children fleeing. it was scary. there was screaming. then he started going up the stairs and shooting people in
the aisles that way and walking into the aisles. and everybody was getting shot. every single time they tried to escape he would shoot them. he never had a specific agenda. he was literally relentless and shooting anybody he possibly could get his hands on at that point. he's a big guy. >> jennifer, as far as you could tell, did anyone try to jump this guy to stop this guy? or was he just killing people or shooting people as he was moving up and down the aisle? >> you know, i get that question a lot. as far as i can tell, everybody was just so in a panic. they were just trying to survive and not get hit that they scattered so quickly that the thought didn't even cross their mind until after the fact, you know what i mean? everybody was starting to say if i would have been calm or if i would have had this, had that, i would have stopped the guy, i would have had this, had that, i would have shot the guy. this and that. but at that point, really everybody's main focus was get out of there because he was going to shoot as many people as possible and they knew it. yeah. it was really a terrifying
experience. >> and you say came in. you thought he was wearing a costume. what did he look like? could you see his face, for example? or was he wearing a mask? >> no. he was wearing a gas mask, a regular one. not like the one in "bane" or anything. he was wearing a regular gas mask so he could breathe after he let off the tear gas. and he was wearing kevlar. he looked like one of the cops. that's why it was confusing at first. you couldn't see any skin color or race. he was covered from head to toe. at that point all you could tell height and weight. he was about 185 pounds, 20'00" pounds. and about 6. strong build at that point. >> were you injured at all? were you physically injured at all, jennifer? >> i mean, my knees are scraped up, but nothing too big. i don't have any gunshot wounds or anything sprained or broken. it's more emotional damage than anything. >> and the friend you were with?
>> he's fine actually. he stayed by my side the entire time. i actually kept him calm and he kept everybody else calm around us. and our goal was just to try to get as many people out of there as we could. >> and i know you try today help some of those people who were injured. walk us through that. >> yeah. well, right after we had gotten out of the aisle that we were in, i told everybody to go make a run for it. as they did that, they came back in because he was shooting people trying to exit the exit. and then i told everybody just to lay down on the ground and play dead and just be very still because he wasn't going to shoot something that he thought was already dead. and at that point i told everybody to make a run for it. they did. he left the building. i had no idea because i was so focused on getting everybody out and staying as low as possible. and then i saw just dead bodies laying on the stairs. dead bodies -- people that were injured all over the seats, hanging over the seats. there was a 12-year-old girl just lifeless laying on the stairs. and then i try to get out myself because i was having a hard time
breathing with the tear gas. and i had run into this boy, he was probably 18 years old. and at that point i realized he was mumbling and he was still alive. i had previous emt training. and it just kicked in instinctively for me to check his pulse and see how he is, to see what his critical condition was. he was very critical. i needed to get him out. i put my arm underneath him and everybody started screaming just leave him there. he's coming back. so i just run. but i would have gladly taken a bullet for that man to be able to live. >> was the movie still on the screen as all of this was unfolding? or did they immediately end it and turn on the lights for example? >> are you asking if the movie ended during the whole thing? >> was the movie up on the screen as the gunman was shooting? >> the movie was on the entire time. as far as i could see it was on. chaos. noise from the movie, noise from the people, noise from the
gunshots. there was numerous gunshots. i can't count to you how many there were. he loaded rounds and rounds and rounds to people. >> and i had heard, jennifer, i don't know if this is true, but you would know that when that gunman came in and started shooting, there happened to have been a rather violent scene in the film as well. you heard gunfire for example in the film. so a lot of people thought this may have been part of the same thing. >> he was actually in two theaters. he was in 8 and 9. i was in 9. that access door that he came through apparently i think was connected to the other theater. and they were in a farther part of the movie. and apparently that was the theater that had the violent scene. in our scene it wasn't as far as i can remember. it's kind of a blur as far as i can see. but as far as i could see literally the only part i could see was cat woman was getting into a car and he was looking at prince to try to figure out who she was. there was no guns, no nothing. >> jennifer seeger, thanks so much. jennifer, may i ask, how old are
you? >> i'm 22 years old. >> 22. you're remarkably poised and we're grateful to you for sharing the story. we're obviously grateful that you're okay, your friend's okay. and we'll stay in close touch with you. thanks so much. >> thank you so much. and i'm grateful to be here. >> good luck to you, jennifer seeger, sharing her story. incredible story. she was in the second row when that gunman walked in and started shooting. 71 people shot, 12 of whom are now dead. we're going to go to the apartment complex where this alleged gunman lived where police are now investigating. you're looking at live pictures from outside that apartment complex. we'll show you what's going on. kyung lah is on the scene. much more of the breaking news right after this. >> as soon as we heard the first shots, my sister immediately grabbed my arm and wanted to leave as quick as possible. yeah. it was terrifying.
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there was this one guy who was on all fours crawling. girls spitting up blood. one guy stripped down to like just his boxers. it looked like he had been shot in the back or something. it was crazy. >> learning more details now about the shooting suspect james egan holmes. there's a picture. he graduated with highest honors from the university of california riverside in 2010. received a bachelor of science degree in neuroscience. last year he enrolled in the graduate program in neurosciences at the university
of colorado's denver campus. a university statement today says he was in the process of withdrawing from that program. right now police still are at holmes' apartment. they're trying to figure out what was going on. they're trying to dismantle any explosive devices he left behind. here's what aurora's police chief told reporters a little while ago. >> our investigation determined that his apartment is booby trapped with various incendiary and chemical devices and apparent trip wires. so we have an active and difficult scene there. it may be resolved in hours or days. we simply don't know how we're going to hale that. >> kyung lah is on the scene for us at that apartment complex. she's got more on this part of the investigation. kyung, what are you learning? >> reporter: wolf, even though it doesn't look like a very active scene with officers running around, this is indeed very active. police are backing up people because they are concerned about
how dangerous this might be. see this tape where i'm standing right here? we were moved back about 30 minutes ago. if you look further down where that fire truck is, that's where we were standing. officers are widening the area because they are very concerned if you look further down to where that second fire truck is, that's right near the suspect's apartment. and it is inside that apartment where you just heard the police chief talk about those booby traps, the incendiary devices, chemical devices. that's why police have evacuated five buildings of people here. certainly it is alarmed people here in this community. but it especially alarmed one man we met just a short time ago. he actually had a beerwith the suspect on tuesday. and he says that this has certainly alarmed him and everyone here. listen to what he said. >> i live down the next block. and i woke up this morning to helicopters and yellow tape. and i'm like, wow.
usually to get to work i come through here. but see this, knowing this guy's down the street at the bar with me drinking a beer and he lives right here and i'm on the next block, with explosives? that's insane. >> rter: so i asked mi, did you have any sign? was there anything in his eyes, how he dressed, that something might be up? he said absolutely not. he looked like an average college student. someone he described as being quite geeky and perhaps shy. but he had nothing in his face, wolf, that would give way as to what would happen overnight. >> as far as motivation is concerned involving this suspect, the police chief there says they're not going to say anything about the motivation that may have occurred. are you learning anything at all about what may have motivated this suspect to do this kind of mass shooting? >> well, he didn't really open up to the people here in the neighborhood perhaps. mr. mitchell, who we spoke to, knew him best just because he had a beer with him this week.
he dressed, went to school, came home. people did see him going back and forth. he wasn't hiding anything. they didn't suspect that he was doing anything illicit inside of his apartment. they just really thought he was just another student in the neighborhood, wolf. they just didn't have any idea. and certainly no idea about what would have motivated him to do what he did if indeed that's what the courts do decide and find out. >> we know he graduated with high honors with a bachelor of science degree in california. was enrolled in a graduate program at the university of colorado in denver. aurora's a suburb of denver, but he was withdrawing from that program. has the university or anyone else suggested why he decided to withdraw from the program? >> reporter: at this point we haven't heard anything about what would have led him to do that. and from his behavior, from what some of the neighbors have told us, they didn't really think that he had a particular schedule that he was sticking to. mitchell said he saw him going back and forth in and out of his apartment.
he thought he was still enrolled in school. >> how close are you, kyung, how close are they letting you to the actual stand over there close to the apartment where the obviously the bomb squad is continuing to try to dismantle in incendiary devices? >> reporter: let me give you a quick look. again, here's the tape. if you look further down you see that tape -- another set of tape. and then you see that fire truck. right next to that fire truck, that's where the apartment building is. and what we have seen when we were at the closer location is that it's the third floor where we saw some of the windows that had been broken by police as they were trying to figure out what's happening inside that apartment. so it's about where that fire truck is. so about maybe 100 to 150 yards. but we were quite a bit closer, wolf. and at this point that's why police decided that we were perhaps too close and they wanted to push us back. >> it looks like just the typical suburban neighborhood in
aurora, which is a suburb of denver. we'll stay in close touch with you. kyung lah on the scene for us outside the apartment complex. witnesses say at first they thought the gunman was a special effect to the film. then he opened fire. we're going to walk you through what happened. our own tom foreman has the minute-by-minute developments. [ male announcer ] drive a car filled with as much advanced technology as the world around it. with the available lexus enform app suite, you can use opentable to make restaurant reservations. during the golden opportunity sales event, get great values on some of our newest models. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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movie goers, some of them young children, had packed a theater in aurora, colorado, for a midnight premier of the new batman film. then horror when a gunman entered through a rear exit door and opened fire. let's go to cnn's tom foreman. he's been piecing together exactly how all of this unfolded minute-by-minute, tom, tell our viewers what you learned. >> wolf, this is where it all happened, folks, a theater outside of the mall in downtown aurora. specifically it was theater number 9 where the midnight premier was underway. take a look at these nirms up here. around 12:37, 12:38, something like that, that is when there was a moment in the movie which many people say was kind of loud, one of your witnesses said maybe not, maybe that was in another one. in any event, that is when they saw a man in black walk in wearing a bullet proof vest and gas mask. they say he tossed a canister in the room that began hissing and
spraying what police suggest may have been tear gas or pepper spray. witnesses say the man then shoots into the ceiling. and then begins firing into the crowd. police will later say that he had an ar-15 with him. this one is disassembled. you can see that. he also had a 12-gauge shotgun. and they'll say he had a gloc 40-caliber handgun. he was shooting very fast according to police. 12:39 hundreds of calls start pouring into police headquart s headquarters. officers race to the theater. at 12:40 they arrive. less than a minute after these calls started and they find victims staggering out through the lobby. they start surrounding the theater calling for more officers and ambulances. 12:42 some witnesses say the gunman is still shooting. officers call for gas masks so they can enter the theater. 12:46, at some point here witnesses say inside for some reason that they don't yet understand the gunman simply
stopped shooting and walks right back out the exit that he came in through toward his car just outside. and that is where police grab him. officials say he offers no resistance and still carrying two of his weapons having left one inside the theater. they say they also find a handgun inside his car. an additional one. they say in addition to all that the vest and the gas masks that they said he was wearing at the time, the suspect's shown here at least, they say he was wearing a ballistic throat protector, a groin protector as well and wearing black tactical gloves presumably to hold the guns more securely. simultaneously other officers have now flooded into the theater that we were talking about earlier. and what they're finding is a scene of immense carnage, wolf. at least seven people are so badly wounded that they could not run at all. some are children. police say some cannot even be moved at this point. there's so much damage to them. people describe horrific wounds to people's heads, arms, legs, bodies. some shots even appear to have
penetrated the wall injuring people in the next theater. 12:55 less than 20 minutes after all of this began you can see what's happened next. they move onto see what else they can find out about this suspect at his apartment up here. police have quartered off the area. police say he was acting alone. nevertheless they seal off the entire mall area to question witnesses. and the ambulances are so overwhelmed, wolf, that a number of the victims are being driven by the police themselves, some critically wounded to hospitals trying to save their lives. wolf. >> you know, 71 people were shot, 12 of them are dead. we don't know how many rounds the suspect actually fired, do we, tom? >> we don't know. the police did say he fired a tremendous number of rounds in a very short period of time. witnesses have said the same thing all day, wolf. they said he was just emptying these guns as fast as he could. they believe he used all three
of the guns. we don't know if he reloaded at any time or how big the magazines were. but indications are that a lot of shots rained out into this theater over a very short period of time, perhaps two, three, four minutes. >> all right. all these weapons apparently ed lavandera reporting at the top of the hour, you heard him, tom, were purchased legally. apparently in colorado. you spent a lot of tme in colorado. correct me if i'm wrong, you covered the columbine massacre. is this unusual? what can you tell us about that? >> none of these weapons that are being described here as far as i can tell from the basic description, none of them are illegal anywhere. we have a municipality that may have a law against them, but in most states these are weapons that can be bought by somebody who passes particularly the handguns background check, that sort of thing. but these are not particularly unusual weapons. probably the assault rifle is one that would most assault people. but certainly the handguns and shotgun are pretty standard. there are a lot of them out there. that said, we don't know, wolf, if there were any modifications to any of these that would have
made them much more fast in their firing power. if there was anything that could have been done to make them more deadly. wolf. >> good report, tom foreman. thank you. flags are at half staff, campaign politics are paused in the wake of today's mass shooting. just ahead we're going to hear what president obama and mitt romney had to say. ♪ ( whirring and crackling sounds ) man: assembly lines that fix themselves. the most innovative companies are doing things they never could before, by building on the cisco intelligent network.
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the colorado shootings put the presidential campaign on hold. right now president obama is back at the white house after cutting short his trip to florida. aides informed him of the massacre before dawn. before heading back to washington he made an emotional statement that was supposed to have been a campaign rally. >> if there's anything to take away from this tragedy, it's the reminder that life is very fragile. our time here is limited. and it is precious. and what matters at the end of the y is not it's not the trivial things, which so often consume us and our daily lives. ultimately it's how we choose to treat one another. and how we love one another. my daughters go to the movies. what if malia and sasha has been at the theater?
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 we will be there for them as a nation. i'm so grateful that all of you are here. i am so moved by your support, but there are going to be other days for politics. this i think is a day for prayer and reflection. >> our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin is joining us now from the white house. jessica, the president's back. i assume he's working in the oval office. but what do we know? what's his game plan right now to deal with this horrendous tragedy. >> reporter: hi, wolf. that's right. when i checked minutes ago he was working in the oval. as you know, he's been receiving briefings, three already today, from a team that includes his
homeland security director john brennan, the head of the fbi, his chief of staff as well. and we'll continue to get those briefings. the president canceled a second cap pain event today. they have pulled down their campaign ads in colorado. and as of now, wolf, the president has a quiet weekend planned in d.c. and he also is scheduled to make a swing out west beginning monday. so right now there is no plan for him to go to colorado, but it would not be hard for them to add that trip either this weekend, it seems, or perhaps on that swing when he is already planned to go to nevada and seattle beginning monday. he's already spoken with the governor of the state and the mayor there. and as i say, he's constantly in touch with his officials who are keeping him briefed. so we will continue to get updates on those contacts. but i wouldn't be surprised if they add a trip out there some time in the next few days, wolf. >> i'm sure they will.
and he did order flags at the white house and elsewhere to be at half staff. we're looking at a live picture of one of those flags atop the white house, didn't he? >> reporter: he did, wolf. he ordered those flags at half staff. and as you say, he's made emotional remarks today. also jay carney, the press spokesman here, made emotional remarks to the media saying that the president's initial comments when he heard about this were first, is this still going on? and his second thoughts were immediately about the family and his own family and kids as he reflected in those comments. but something else that's been, you know, raised is he did not in those remarks that you heard talk about gun safety or gun control. as he did not in ft. hood or gabby giffords remarks either in passing reference. something that no doubt will come up in the days to come, wolf. >> no doubt. the debate over gun control in the united states will be revived. jessica, thanks very much. the republican presidential candidate, mitt romney, also put
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mitt romney also put politics on hold today in new hampshire. he offered his condolences. >> our hearts break with the sadness of this unspeakable tragedy. ann and i join the president and first lady and all americans in offering our deepest condolences for those whose lives were shattered in a few moments, a few moments of evil, in colorado. i stand before you today not as a man running for office, but as a father and grandfather, a husband and american. this is a time for each of us to look into our hearts and remember how much we love one another and how much we love and how much we care for our great country. grieving and worried families in aurora are surrounded with love today. and not just by those who are with them and holding them in their arms, they can also know
that they're being lifted up in prayer by people in every part of our great nation. now and in the hard days to come may every one of them feel the sympathy of our whole nation and the comfort of a living god. >> let's bring in our national political correspondent jim acosta with the governor in new hampshire right now. very emotional comments from mitt romney on this really, really horrendous day. he also, i take it, suspended his campaigning. also some of the advertising, the political advertising in colorado? >> reporter: that's right. that's right, wolf. the romney campaign was set to hold a rally earlier today here in new hampshire just outside of manchester. but after hearing the news coming out of colorado this morning, mitt romney decided on a change of plans. instead of his usual stump speech, he put that aside. and instead delivered what was a four-minute period of remarks that really sort of reflected on his feelings about the tragedy out in colorado. interesting to note, wolf, i
talked to a senior romney advisor who said they went through the effort of sending young staffers to this event site earlier this morning to take down some of the political campaign signs that they had put there in advance of this event. instead the signage put up a simple backdrop of american flags and podium in stage for former massachusetts governor. and we have some video of this to show you something extraordinary happened at the end of this event because typically these events as you know, wolf, are very ruckus and rowdy. the audience was very somber and silent. as they were filing out of this event after the governor's remarks, he walked up to them and sort of an impromptu fashion and as they made a line to leave the event, he shook their hands, exchanged hugs with some of the people leaving this event. it was a gesture of sympathy. and i think it was also well-received by the people who were leaving this event. i had a chance to talk to a senior romney advisor about all this. that advisor said, you know,
mitt romney could have decided to do no speech today, to have no event today. but he wanted to say something, wolf. he wanted to share his reflections on this tragedy. and it was well-received by the crowd in new hampshire today, wolf. >> well-received around the country i'm sure as well. just as the president's remarks were as well. jim acosta, thank you. the colorado shootings already have reignited the fight over gun control in the united states. we're going to tackle that issue and a lot more of the breaking news coverage right after this. hey america, even though slisa rinna is wearing the new depend silhouette briefs for charity to prove how great the fit is even under a fantastic dress. the best protection now looks, fits and feels just like underwear. we invite you to get a free sample and try one on too. what ? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it ? hello ? hello ?! if your bank doesn't let you talk to a real person 24/7,
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correspondent dana bash explains why gun control is such a difficult political issue these days. >> reporter: the sun was barely up when new york's mayor used the colorado massacre to scold president obama and mitt romney for ignoring the gun issue. >> this is a real problem. no matter where you stand on the second amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them concretely. >> reporter: he's right. gun policy is a back-burner debate these days largely because democrats who had pushed for tighter gun laws concluded it's bad politics. >> we still believe there are a number of students inside the school. >> reporter: after the 1999 columbine shooting, al gore played a central role in ill-fated gun control legislation. >> it is time for some common sense gun safety measures. >> reporter: democratic strategists believed gore and other democrats lost critical votes in rural america by pushing for stricter gun laws. >> there began a subtle shift to
start trying to get more pro-gun democrats to run. >> reporter: democrat jim manly worked in the senate for more than 20 years and witnessed the change up close. is there an open acknowledgment that gun control is bad politics for democrats? >> all you have to do is look at polling to realize that's the case. >> reporter: even though president clinton signed a bill but it lapsed without major fight. there was some talk, but little action. the 2007 virginia tech massacre resulted in a minor change beefing up background checks for the mentally ill. last year's assassination attempt of then-congresswoman gabby giffords produced a few calls to make high capacity magazines used in that shooting illegal. >> there is no earthly reason for these weapons to have that kind of bullet capacity in them. >> reporter: but senate democrats wouldn't hold a vote.
and giffords' republican colleagues told us new laws were useless. >> bad guys are going to get guns. they're going to get clips. they're going to do bad things. >> reporter: in fact, the democrat-led senate hasn't voted on any gun legislation in three years since defeating a gop measure that would have required states to recognize each other's gun laws. why? many still point to the nra. >> the nra's an extremely powerful organization. and they deliver votes. and they deliver money. >> reporter: the nra's wayne lappier in april. >> when we're done speaking out, sir, gun on earth will have made the difference in key precincts in battleground states all over the heartland of this country. >> reporter: never mind that president obama's barely touched the gun issue, the nra is still mobilizing members against him. >> it's all over the heartland of this country. and you'll have us to blame for your defeat in november. >> the nra released a statement today saying simply that their
thoughts and prayers are with the victims' families. but, wolf, when you ta about whether or not this is going to happen in the future talking to democratic and republican sources given the dicey politics, it's unlikely. >> neither the president nor mitt romney today mentioned anything about guns. >> never mind members of congress. >> all right. bloomberg did though, mayor of new york. >> uh-huh. >> thank you, dana. good report. up next, we're going back live to aurora, colorado. we'll have the very latest on the investigation. we're getting new information from the police right now. that's coming up right after this break. my volt is the best vehicle i've ever driven. i bought the car because of its efficiency. i bought the car because i could eliminate gas from my budget. i don't spend money on gasoline. it's been 4,000 miles since my last trip to the gas station. it's pretty great. i get a bunch of kids waving at me. giving me the thumbs up. it's always a gratifying experience. it makes me feel good about my car. i absolutely love my chevy volt. ♪
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a gunman dressed to kill turns a colorado theater into a shooting gallery. the suspect, a 24-year-old ph.d. student left his apartment heavily booby trapped. we're learning new details about him this hour. and we'll also hear from survivors. recounting how a midnight movie turned into a scene of terror and chaos. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> he came down with his gun in my face. he was about three feet away from me at that point. in that instant i honestly didn't know what to do. i was terrified. >> we're following the breaking news this hour, that deadly shooting spree inside a movie theater in aurora, colorado, that's right outside of denver. police say a 24-year-old heavily armed ph.d. student wearing a gas mask and body armor went on a rampage inside a midnight showing of the new batman film shooting 71 people, killing 12
of them. he was arrested within minutes leaving behind not only a scene of horror inside the theater, but also a death trap in his apartment rigged with explosive and chemical devices and trip wires. we're covering all angles of the breaking news this hour. we'll go live to the scene in colorado in just a moment. but first, cnn's lisa sylvester has more on how the horror unfolded. >> 315 and 314, shooting at century theaters. 1300 east alameda avenue. somebody shooting in the auditorium. >> we have another person shot outside in the leg, a female. people running out of the theater. >> seven down in theater nine. seven down. >> it seemed too unreal for words. >> all you hear is gunfire left and right. any time somebody tried to get up and get away, he would shoot them. he didn't have a specific agenda. he was shooting left and right. >> once i heard the flashes, i heard more of the shots. i realized that this is real. i told my friends, you got to
get down. get on the floor. so we went in front of our seats and just curled down on the floor and hoped for the best. we heard the gunner stop for a long period of time. i saw some people starting to run and didn't hear anymore shots. so i was like, we need to go. i stood up, kind of noticed somebody on the side who was just sitting there still kind of drooped over. and i was like, okay, he's gone -- i mean, he's dead. >> like fireworks sounds. like bam, bam. and that's when everything gets crazy. it goes rapid like bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. guy right next to me actually gets -- he gets shot. and like i hear the noise of it. like a splash noise. and he just jerks and it just happens fast. and then i just ducked down with my sister. >> police say 24-year-old james holmes went to the rear door of the theater, propped it open and tossed some kind of a smoke canister in the packed screening of the dark knight movie. he then opened fire shooting a total 71 people, killing 12 of
them. >> mr. holmes was apprehended outside his white hyundai parked in the back of the theater. and he was apprehended with three weapons in the car and one was left at the scene inside the theater. the weapons are as follow, an ar-15 assault rifle, a remington 870 shotgun, 12-gauge shotgun, and a 40-caliber glock handgun. >> the victims include jessica ghawi. she eerlly survived a shooting last month. loac's dad says he's expected to live. the harder thing is recovering from the loss of jessica. >> it's terrible what happened to her. to be just gunned downright there. and there was nothing anybody could do about it. >> families heartbroken and
community in sorrow. >> think about it being your child in that movie theater. your cousin's child, your neighbor's child. that reality makes the pain and the grief too intense for words. but we can't let it keep us from our lives. >> james holmes was in the process of withdrawing from the neuroscience ph.d. program at the university of colorado. his only prior run-in with aurora police was a speeding ticket. lisa sylvester, cnn. cnn's ed lavandera is in aurora, colorado, for us right now. it's clearly a city in shock. i know about 300,000 people live in that denver suburb. ed, give us a little flavor of the mood. how awful is it? >> reporter: you know, i think people are simply flabbergasted waking up to this news, many people waking up this morning if they didn't hear about it when it was first breaking last night. i think, you know, people are still kind of staggered by what
has transpired here. of course we all know very well what happened in columbine. i've heard from several people who, you know, who thought back to that tragic day as well when those students were gunned down in their own school. so i think, you know, the denver community, the denver region very sensitive to these types of stories. and i would imagine that what has happened here today kind of rekindles those horrible memories, wolf. >> the movie theater, the whole complex, obviously closed. they're going through it. the investigation clearly just beginning right now. this is a community though that has had very little violence over the years. i did some checking. not many shootings, not many -- certainly nothing like this. this being the worst shooting incident in u.s. history, not the deadliest, but clearly more people shot, 71 people shot than any other shooting incident in u.s. history. >> reporter: and i think people even are more stunned by the little we've learned about the suspect in this case,
24-year-old james holmes, that what authorities are telling us so far that the worst violation he had was a speeding ticket dating back to last year. so, you know, hardly anything that would have raised any red flags especially when we're learning the details to the lengths so which he appears to have planned out this attack. it appears to have been in the works for a long time. we've learned from a law enforcement source that the four guns that he brought here to this movie theater were purchased legally within the last six months. he was decked out in assault gear, covered essentially from -- protected from head to toe. a great deal of thought. booby trapping his own apartment complex, which authorities are still dealing with right now, wolf. a great deal of thought and planning clearly went into all of this. and no one knew anything about it. >> ed lavandera on the scene for us. ed, thank you. there were immediate concerns about possible ties to terrorism. but the police say they strongly believe no one was involved in this crime except the suspect, james holmes. >> we are not looking for any
other suspects. we are confident that he acted alone. however, we will do a thorough investigation to be absolutely sure that that is the case. but at this time we are confident that he acted alone. i'm not going to get into why he did what he did. we simply -- that's not something we're prepared to discuss. >> eyewitnesses are recounting a scene of terror and chaos including tear gas, bullets flying, people literally running for their lives. paul saw it all unfold. he and his girlfriend were inside that movie theater watching the new batman film. paul, first of all, tell me how you and your girlfriend are doing. >> we're doing okay. we're still like processing everything. it was a horrific experience. >> we're either of you hit with gunfire? >> no. we weren't. but the shooter came in the right hand side where the
emergency exit was and we were on the left hand side in the third row. he threw a tear gas over us. it landed behind us. and then he opened fire with a shotgun. we fell to the floor. and we dragged ourselves out. and i had pam behind me. she dropped her phone. and another victim of this returned it to us later today -- or earlier today. and that was really nice, but we were scrambling out the door. and he said -- the man who retrieved our phone, that after he was leaving right after us that the people behind him got shot on the way out. so he was shooting at the exits. and he started in the middle of the crowd. we could tell it was tear gas because i could feel it in my eyes and lungs right away. and our lungs burned for a good half an hour afterwards. >> so you and your girlfriend, you basically crawled up that aisle to the exit at the top of the theater? is that what you're saying?
>> the exits were on the bottom. and that's why we were able to get out so easily. but everybody in the upper decks, they had a hard time getting out of there. that's probably why so many people got injured. >> what went through your mind when you first, you know, saw what was going on and you could hear gunfire? did you think that was real? or part of the film? what was going through your mind? >> when he first walked through and we noticed that he was covered in full flak gear basically, gas mask and all that, i didn't know what to think. i thought it might have been a theater trick to tell you the truth. but after he threw the tear gas, we knew right away something was really awful. and when he opened fire, we just ducked down and we got out of there as quickly as possible. >> could you see his face? i know he was wearing a gas mask, but could you see his eyes for example? were you too far away? was it too dark?
>> he was a little far away. we could see the goggle gear. and i could see the whole mask and everything. but underneath it was a very darkroom. i thought he was firing a shotgun, but i wasn't exactly sure. we didn't get a good look at his face because he had all that -- he was decked out. >> and i understand it was obviously chaotic. people screaming. people crying. walk us through a little bit what you were hearing, if you will, as you tried to escape? >> when we were crawling out of the theater, there was a lot of screaming. as soon as shots were fired everyone was screaming and it was a real panic. after we exited the theater and we were running through the lobby toward the exit -- toward the main exit, we heard more shots fired and more screaming. and when we got outside, we met somebody who was right there right in front of where he was, a man named isaac, we gave him a
ride home to the buckly air force base. i hope he reconnected with them. >> paul otermat, thank you for sharing obviously these painful memories with us. thank you very much. >> thank you. thank you for covering it. >> what a story. what a horrendous story. susan candiotti is joining us right now. she's getting new information on the weapons used in this deadly assault. susan, what are you learning? >> wolf, i've learned that according to a law enforcement source that authorities have now confirmed that it was the suspect, james holmes, who purchased the weapons that were allegedly used in this mass shootings here. we are told that the guns were purchased in may, june and july of this year at those locations you may already have heard about, some stores in the denver area, three different stores. now, normally what they do is they check videotape also at these stores to make sure that that is the same person. we believe that that has been
done. we're still waiting for confirmation on that. that is standard operating procedure in this case. the other bit of new information, wolf, has to do with the apartment, which you know police have described as having been booby trapped by the suspect. i am being told by a law enforcement source that in fact when he left his apartment that holmes had left loud techno music blaring in his apartment. it was set on a timer. and law enforcement sources believe that the thought behind this was that if someone called to complain on the apartment that perhaps either they or police might have entered the apartment setting off those trip wires and perhaps badly injuring themselves, perhaps even blowing themselves up. wolf. >> so that music started playing, when did you say? when was it set to start playing? that techno music blaring? >> well, before he left his apartment, apparently, according to authorities before he headed over to that movie theater he set the music on a timer so that
it was blaring, just blasting through the apartment and into the apartment building that perhaps might have prompted a few people to complain about it. and if they had taken the trouble to go into the building either into his apartment rather, either they or police, they might have set off those trip wires, the booby traps. >> that music was probably blaring at least for an hour before police got over there. the police went there, i take it, susan, because the suspect in this particular case as he was arrested trying to get to his car right outside that movie theater told them that his apartment was booby trapped with explosive devices. isn't that right? >> well, he had told them, according to what i was told is that he said he had left explosives behind. whether he also said that he had booby trapped it or left trip wires behind, that much is not known. but certainly when they got over there and started looking at that building, peering into those windows, poking out those windows and eventually climbing in, they could see those trip
wires. and also i am told they also discovered all kinds of hazardous materials including gasoline canisters that were left inside. and in fact the police chief had something to say about that. if we have that sound ready. >> we don't. but we will get it. we will get it ready. >> okay. >> you've basically identified three of the weapons allegedly used in this incident. three -- because the police chief had mentioned two pistols, one shotgun, one assault rifle, if you will. you're talking about three that were legally purchased in may, june and july, is that right? >> actually, there were four that were legally purchased in may, june and july at three different stores in the denver location if i wasn't clear about that earlier, that's certainly what we have learned. so it was those four weapons at three different stores legally purchased by the suspect in this case. they're of course checking
videos at those store locations to see whether his image is also captured making those buys. and so, yes, we're hearing about the ar-15, that's semiautomatic equipped with a drum magazine, wolf, that can hold more than 100 rounds. but that wasn't all. we also know about the 12-gauge shotgun and two 40-caliber glocks, which are equipped with magazines, it's not clear how many rounds they held. and back in the vehicle, back at the movie theater where he vendserred, where police caught up with him, a source says it was filled with ammunition and with gun magazines quoting here "it was everywhere." and as you indicated in the one-bedroom apartment, all those booby traps, hazardous materials and the like, police say it could take a very long time to go through all of this so they can make that apartment safe to move in. >> yeah. it's going to take a long time. susan candiotti, thanks for that information. we're also getting other
information about the suspect in this massacre, james holmes, where he grew up, what he was like. we're digging deeper. our reporters are on the scene. and his family releasing a statement. we're live outside their home in san diego as our breaking news coverage continues. and a new picture of president obama in the white house situation -- in his own limousine i should say. there he is right there. the president getting briefed on what's going on in aurora, colorado. i'm barack obama and i approve this message.
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a federal law enforcement source tells cnn the gunman got into the movie theater through a rear door, which he had propped open. today's horrible events show just how vulnerable public places like movie theaters, restaurants, shopping malls can be. cnn intelligence correspondent susan kelly has this report.
>> reporter: from los angeles to new york to washington, d.c., law enforcement agencies are stepping up security at public places in light of the colorado shooting. >> the metropolitan police department will be paying close attention to our movie theaters located throughout washington, d.c. >> reporter: shopping malls, movie theaters, law enforcement has a name for them, soft targets. >> soft target is really anything that's around us particularly in an urban environment like new york, chicago, l.a. soft targets -- i took a soft target coming here today in the subway system. >> reporter: working in the department counterterrorism and threat reduction thinking of ways to protect those soft targets. >> a lot of attention was paid to the hospitality sector, hotels and such in understanding what they had in place to mitigate the threat of an active shooter. >> reporter: cnn obtained a security checklist issued today by the department of homeland security to theater owners. confirm all staff members understand signs of surveillance. confirm new employees have been properly trained. they've also issued guidance to
local law enforcement. be aware of summer release dates which bring in large crowds. attend staff meetings for personnel. theater goers have a role too. >> be aware of where you are, what your surroundings are. when you go into a room, know the best way to get out of that facility. and if possible, even a secondary backup in case that way is not there. >> reporter: and don't think the shooting in its aftermath isn't on the minds of patrons. though for these movie goers it's not going to stop them. >> you can't really stop yourself from going into a public place because of one person. it's one movie theater and there's millions of them out there. >> i would certainly hope that we don't have to go through a security screening at a movie theater. >> susan kelly with that report. we're following the breaking news. much more coming up. 12 people dead, 59 injured. more on the victims of this horrific massacre in colorado including the latest on a baby,
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when he walked in, i heard the door open and then the lights came behind him. and then i heard a wooshing sound like a disconnected hose. as soon as i heard that, he threw what seemed like a smoke grenade. it landed a couple -- four people away from me. by the time it was done spraying and everything and exploded, it was actually underneath me and my friend. so it exploded underneath our seats. and then we realized it was tear gas. our eyes were stinging. it was hard to breathe.
me and my friend have asthma, so it was more difficult for us to breathe. so we couldn't move anywhere if we wanted to. right after that we just started hearing gunshot after gunshot. we were just kept our heads down. we heard everybody just keep your heads down, heads down. >> how did you get out? >> after all the shooting was done, i looked up for a brief second. i saw he was reloading and walking towards the back of the theater and it arches up. and just saw he was walking back there. i grabbed my girlfriend and my friend and was like we got to get going because he's reloading. now's our chance. and leaving i saw a guy just laying on the floor covered in blood. and a lot of people ran to help him when the guy was reloading his weapon. so we just left. and a bunch of people left at that time. >> another eyewitness sharing the story of what happened inside that theater. we're also getting new information about the guns used in the colorado theater massacre. cnn crime and justice correspondent, joe johns, is here. he's working this part of the story. you're getting some new information, joe. what are you learning? >> that's right, wolf. we have essentially learned that
the guns used by james holmes were purchased legally in colorado within the past six months. the four guns were bought at three different stores that were no more than a ten to 20-minute drive from his apartment. they were big outdoor sports ains that sell a wide variety of guns, gander mountain and bass pro shops. here are the guns he bought according to federal authorities. a semi-automatic smith & wesson ar-15 rifle, a remington 12-gauge shotgun, two 40-caliber glock handguns. and authorities recovered a so-called drum magazine capable of holding up to 100 rounds for the assault rifle. as we learned from aurora's police chief, it's clear that holmes in a way was dressed to kill. >> the suspect was dressed all in black. he was wearing a ballistic helmet, a tactical ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, a throat protector and a groin
protector and a gas mask and black tactical gloves. >> now, police say the suspect set off canisters of some kind of gas or smoke that's been described as an irritant. then he started shooting. he was armed to the teeth and that there apparently was nothing in james holmes' past -- talking about his clean criminal record now, that would bar him from legally buying a gun. the only thing they could find on him was a traffic ticket, apparently. when they went to his apartment, they found it was booby trapped, music was on a timer possibly intended to lure people inside, authorities said. here's how the aurora police chief put it. >> they appeared to be incendiary devices, there's some chemical elements there, and there are also some incendiary elements that are linked together with all kinds of wires. as a layman, it's not something i've ever seen before. we have a lot of very smart bomb techs up there trying to figure out what we're going to do.
>> after a lot of shootings like this, you often get renewed debate over gun control, at least part of the discussion now could -- could turn to so-called assault weapons and drum magazines, which, wolf, as you know has been a big issue from time to time. >> a huge issue. but based on everything you're learning, susan candiotti, ed lavandera, all of our reporters are learning, it was totally legal for this 24-year-old allegedly to go out there and buy all these rather sophisticated weapons. >> absolutely. it appears he had a very clean record. that's what the authorities told us, especially there in colorado. we tried to find more about whether he was completely clean in california, for example. also seemed to be a very smart individual, obviously a ph.d. candidate who was sort of stepping away from the university. >> and you mentioned the bass pro shops where the suspect allegedly bought some of these weapons if not all of them. we have a statement now from bass pro shops. let me put it up on the screen. we want to offer our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families.
this is an unspeakable tragedy. and we will join with all americans in offering our prayerful support. we don't have the graphic, but i'll read it anyhow. based on the records we have reviewed, personnel in our denver store correctly and fully followed all federal requirements with respect to the sale of one shotgun and one handgun to the individual identified in this incident. background checks as required by federal law were properly conducted. and he was approved. the bass pro shops statement ends with this, again, our hearts go out to the victims and their families. we also offer our support and appreciation to the law enforcement and emergency response professionals and all others who responded to give aid to these innocent victims. >> wolf, i just wanted to say we've been talking to the state bureau of investigation in colorado. they have a list of something like nine different criteria by which a person asking for a gun could be banned or not receive that gun. and i've talked it through with
them. it doesn't look like the suspect would have fit any of those. things like being felon or being judged insane or being an arrestee of some kind. a variety of different criteria. it doesn't appear he'd fit any of them. >> the only thing he had was a speeding ticket. >> that's right. >> that's the only thing they can find on him. an honors graduate from the univerty of california in riverside. a ph.d. candidate at the university of colorado in denver. so if he walks into bass pro shops or any other gun store in colorado, he could go buy these kinds of weapons plus the ammunition. >> seemingly a situation very difficult to legislate against, if you will. an individual like this with no record just walking in and buying guns and deciding to do bad things. >> yep. >> thanks very much. we're going to have much more on the victims coming up. we'll take a quick break. more of the breaking news right here in "the situation room" right after this. [ male announcer ] if you want play in the same sandbox as luxury s.u.v.s,
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investigation. once again, at least 12 people were killed in the rampage. 59 people were wounded. the mug shot of james holmes has not yet been released. witnesses to the shooting described him as wearing a gas mask that concealed much of his face and head. but the federal law enforcement sources information about the suspect's appearance fits with the statement from the new york city police commissioner, ray kelly, who was briefed by colorado authorities earlier in the day. once again, breaking news the man suspected in the mass shooting had colored his hair red and told police he was the joker. other breaking news we're following including new details about the suspect in the theater believed to have killed these 12 people who were simply watching a film wounding 59 others, here's the name of the suspect, james holmes, a 24-year-old ph.d. student who attended high school in san diego area. his family still lives there. they've released a statement on the shooting.
cnn's casey wian is outside the family home. casey, tell our viewers what's going on there. >> reporter: well, wolf, i got to tell you, what we're learning from people who live near the suspect's parents' home, this is the house behind me, you can see where he lived when he was in high school back in 2004, 2006. this is a suburb of san diego called ranchos penasquitos. it doesn't square with what we're learning from neighbors here. we spoke with a neighbor who said in his words james holmes was a very normal kid and had no rowdy friends. >> very handsome guy. >> clean cut? >> yeah. clean cut. quiet.
reliable. help family out. study hard. >> reporter: we also spoke with another neighbor who lives very nearby. a woman by the name of julie adams. she showed us high school yearbook photos that had the suspect, james holmes, and her son on the same junior varsity soccer team. she said that her son did not know the suspect very well. said that really what he could remember that he was very quiet young man at that time. now, we do understand that the suspect's mother, arlene, is still inside the home. the father was seen earlier today leaving the building with a police escort. friends and neighbors have been coming by all day long. one woman recently brought a bunch of food into the house. no one willing to comment on what's going on inside. of course there have been several members of law enforcement coming and going throughout the day. we also saw two younger men probably mid to early 30s who appeared to be plain clothed
detectives of some sort. they would not speak with us. would not say whether they were from out of town or the local area. they spent a couple hours inside the home and then left this area. the family, as you mentioned, did release a statement earlier today saying that their heart goes out to all of those that were affected by this tragedy. and they also said they are cooperating with law enforcement both here in the san diego area and in colorado, wolf. >> an honors graduate, graduated with highest honors from the university of california in riverside. the suspect in this case was enrolled in a ph.d. program in neurosciences at the university of colorado in denver. and now cnn has confirmed according to a federal law enforcement source that he had colored his hair red, that he told the police he was "the joker" at the movie screening of the new batman film friday night allegedly opening up fire killing 12 people, wounding 59
others. casey, thanks very much. i know you're going to get much more on the suspect in this particular case. we're also learning a lot about the victims. inside that colorado movie theater including a 4-month-old baby. we have new details as our breaking news coverage continues here in "the situation room." oh, hey mike. what are you up to? oh, just diagramming this accident with my state farm pocket agent app. you can also get a quote and pay your premium with this thing. i thought state farm didn't have all those apps? where did you hear that? the internet. and you believed it? yeah. they can't put anything on the internet that isn't true. where did you hear that? [ both ] the internet. oh look. here comes my date. i met him on the internet. he's a french model. uh, bonjour. [ male announcer ] state farm. more mobile than ever. get to a better state. it's your teenager's first varsity game. it isn't just your annual exam.
law enforcement source working closely with the investigation that the suspect in this case actually purchased a ticket to go into the premier of this batman film. he walked in to the movie theater then allegedly snuck out that exit door, but left that door propped open a little bit. he went back to his car, which was in the parking lot reportedly geared up as they said. got all the weapons, got all the equipment on him, the gas mask, other stuff. he gathered all those weapons and then he walked back into theater 9 at that movie theater through the exit door that he had kept open. that had been one of the big questions that had been unanswered now since we got word early this morning of what happened. how did he manage to get into the theater through an exit door? those doors are supposed to be locked, supposed to be unable to enter from the outside. you could leave through the exit door, but you can't get in.
now, according to ed lavandera's source working with the investigation, a law enforcement source explaining exactly how the suspect allegedly managed to do this. pretty sophisticated operation we should say. more of this information coming in. we're going to speak with ed shortly. but listen to this. this is the mother -- the mother of a 4-month-old injured child who happened to have been in the colorado theater shooting. >> i just remember thinking i'm not going to die in here. me and my kids, we are not going to die in here. i need to get them out. i need to get out. and all i could think was if i stand up he's going to shoot cause that's what he was doing. and i was just ying to think how i was going to get my kids out of there. >> the child is doing okay we're told. our senior medical correspondent, elizabeth cohen is joining us now with more on her condition and the condition of other victims. elizabeth, first of all, what's
the latest on this little baby? and i'm particularly concerned about the tear gas that could be extremely dangerous for little children. >> right. it can be much more dangerous for children than for adults. i was actually talking to a doctor who studied a group of children exposed to tear gas in korea years ago. and he said their systems are still developing. so it can be much more severe. and also the effects can be more long-lasting. obviously this baby was discharged, so they felt like this baby was doing okay. but the doctor i talked to said, you know, even for a child who's been discharged, you want to follow-up because respiratory damage can be done because their lungs are still developing. and, wolf, let's talk a bit about what's going on right now. there are still wounded in four area hospitals 25 people in four area hospitals, nine of them in critical condition. wolf. >> you know, when you think about that, the parents obviously took that little child to the hospital, the doctors treated the child, the child is now out. but as you say, they have to
monitor a 4-month-old child to make sure there's no long-term problems as a result of inhaling that tear gas. >> that's right. because those lungs are still developing. that child -- we don't know how close the child was to the canisters that emitted the gas, but i would imagine in a confined space that child inhaled some of the gas. so you want to check and just make sure over time that that child is not -- doesn't have any respiratory problems because, you know, the child breathed in tear gas. >> the mother obviously distraught. totally understandable. but fortunately i think the child is okay as far as we know. what do we know about the other people? how many other people are still being treated at the various hospitals in the aurora, colorado, area? >> all right. 25 people being treated in four hospitals. nine of those people are critical. >> nine critical still. and when you say critical, is that life-threatening? will they survive? do we know how critical they are? >> we don't. they haven't released details.
hospitals never do for the privacy of the patients. but critical means as one hospital spokesperson says, critical means we are extremely worried about these patients. i mean, their lives could be on the line. >> i know you've been watching all of this. there are also reports a dispatcher, elizabeth, told responders to just leave the dead inside. so what's the purpose of that? >> i know, wolf, that sounds so heartless when you hear it. but actually we're told that that is the right protocol to follow. the reason is that if someone's dead, you can't do anything for them. and there were so many people there that needed help. so that's the rule is that you leave the dead there. you help those who can still be saved. you also, you know, this is a crimscene. so police are going to want to come in and look at those bodies and try to paint a picture of what happened there. >> elizabeth cohen, thanks. i know you're going to be staying on top of the victims of this part of the story. we'll check back with you soon. security at one movie theater in new york isn't a new thing at all. just ahead we're going to tell you why it's been using metal
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there's now heightened security at theaters around the country, including in new york. mary snow is at one of those theaters. she's got details of what's going on. metal detectors, i take it, at that particular theater where you are, mary have been used for years. what's going on there? >> well, wolf the nypd is stepping up security at four theaters around the city. it's not uncommon for the department to react this way to a mass shooting somewhere else. but the bigger question being raised is whether this will prompt any longer term security measures at movie theaters.
police vehicles are now posted outside new york city theaters showing "the dark knight rises." the nypd is not responding to any specific threat but trying to prevent any copycats. >> we are just concerned that someone perhaps seeking notoriety will attempt to do something similar. we always hear that when a high-profile event happens. so we're doing this to sort of raise the comfort level of people who are going to the movies. >> at one multiplex theater outside new york city, security goes far beyond comfort level. it's been using metal detectors for more than two decades. >> i think it's more of an inconvenience actually. going through the metal detectors. but after what happened yesterday, i do feel more safe. >> i actually feel safer coming to movie theaters knowing there's a metal detector. >> reporter: the detectors were installed in 1990 after gunfire broke out during an argument on the opening night dwheft
godfather iii." at the time, one person was killed and three people injured. the valley stream theater, according to a security consultant who worked on the security plan, was one of the first movie theaters in the country to install the detectors. he says certain factors were considered. >> we look at crime statistics in and around the area to see what type of crimes have occurred. is it a high crime area. does it justify certain level of technology or, you know, additional measures that might not be needed in another area? >> in the mass shootings in aurora, authorities say the gunman entered through a fire exit. former fbi assistant director and cnn contributor tom fuentes. >> the case of a metal detector would have done no good because this person, you're not talking about someone who brought weapons in through the front of the theater, through the ticket taker entrance or anything like that. >> individual movie chains declined to discuss specific security measures but their
umbrella group, the national association of theater owners said in a statement members are working closely with local law enforcement agencies and reviewing security procedures. the national association of theater owners says it doesn't have a number hough many theaters in the u.s. metal detectors. we should tell you amc theaters came out a short time ago saying that in addition to security measures it's implementing, one thing it's doing immediately is not allowing moviegoers into its theaters this weekend wearing costumes or masks. >> that's probably very, very smart. thanks very much for that, mary snow in new york. the batman movie was certainly one of the most anticipated films of the year. we're going to get reaction from hollywood as we continue to follow the breaking news. it's already ingrained in our dna. during the golden opportunity sales event, get great values on some of our newest models. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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today's shooting massacre in colorado sending shockwaves through hollywood. cnn entertainment correspondent kareen wynter is joining us with that part of the story. it's a huge shock for everyone. >> absolutely incredible, wolf. hollywood is shocked right along with the rest of the country. "the dark knight rises" was the most anticipated film of the summer. it earned more than $30 million in ticket sales overnight in the u.s. alone. however, the focus of the film industry is no longer on the hype, wolf, surrounding "the dark knight rises" but on this tragedy that's unfolded in colorado. we received this statement from warner brothers, part of cnn's parent company time warner in regards to the shooting. warner brothers and the filmmakers are deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. we extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time. additionally, the studio has canceled a paris premiere and press interviews scheduled for
tonight. a spokesperson for warner brothers studios confirmed to cnn that the studio has also pulled a trailer for the upcoming movie "gangster squad" that had been running in previews ahead of it. it chronicles a fight between the los angeles police and the mafia in the 1940s and 50s and features a chilling group of men attacking a crowded movie theater with machine guns. again, this trailer has been pulled and we don't know whether it aired specifically at the screening where the shooting took place. >> any reaction yet -- >> quite chilling. >> any reaction yet to our report that the suspect in this particular case dyed his hair red and told police he was, quote, the joker? >> those are reports we've been hearing, again unconfirmed. but a lot of people came in costume to see this movie last night. and in fact, some movie theaters are banning this now across the country. they're not banning screenings. that's still going to be happening because there was some report that warner brothers confirmed, no, the screenings will take place. people cannot be in costume
inspect regards to the shooter, it's quite possible. we just don't have that confirmed. >> kareen wynter reporting for us. thank you. happening now, breaking news. horrifying new details and witness accounts of a movie theater massacre. >> he was just shooting people left and right. shooting little kids. like 6-year-old kids. 3-year-old kids. and moms. >> a 24-year-old grad student in custody. the motive? a mystery. the deadly rampage in the denver suburb stuns and sickens the nation. this hour, live reports from colorado, including from the suspect's apartment where he left dangerous booby traps behind. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> this is cnn breaking news. >> you can still see the shock, the horror on the faces of people who survived the bloodbath in a colorado movie theater. it's being called the largest mass shooting ever in the united
states. kate bolduan is here in "the situation room" with new details on the breaking news story. kate, awful, awful story. you can't say it enough how awful this is. i want to bring everyone up to date on details we have now. police now say 71 people were shot in aurora, colorado, during the midnight premiere of the new batman movie. 12 of them are dead. 59 people are wounded, including a if 4-month-old baby. cell phone video shows panicked movie goers running, screaming, desperate to get out of that theater alive. the suspect has been identified as 24-year-old james holmes of aurora, colorado. a law enforcement source tells cnn holmes bought a ticket and walked in to the aurora movie theater. then snuck out an exit door and tl left it propped open. he gathered up his weapons and then walked back in through that same door. another source says holmes had covered his hair red and told police he was the joker. holmes was arrested near his car
in the back of the theater. authorities say he had four guns, an assault rifle and two hand guns which were all bought legally and he appeared dressed for battle. >> the suspect was dressed all in black. he was wearing a ballistic helmet, a tactical ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, a throat protector and a groin protector and a gas mask. >> just amazing. the chief of police says the suspect left his apartment heavily booby trapped with trip wires connecting to chemical and incendiary devices. he says it could take days for investigators to work through the apartment safely. residents of that building and five others in the area have been evacuated. it's just amazing, wolf. it's not only what's going on at the theater. now they are dealing with this unfolding situation at his apartment. >> could take days. >> that's what the police chief said. >> stand by. the suspect james holmes surr d surrendered without a fight. but he left deadly traps for
police at his apartment investigators are trying to get in, trying to search for clues without setting off any kind of explosion. cnn's at the scene outside the apartment complex. set the scene for us. what's going on now? >> what we're seeing is authorities moving very cautiously and the reason why is as law enforcement tells cnn there is a lot of concern about what's inside that apartment. the booby trap was set on a timer. and that's something we're hearing from people who live in the neighborhood as well. we spoke to a woman who lives directly below the suspect. she was in bed about to go to sleep when at midnight suddenly, some very loud music came on in the apartment. here's what she told us. >> it suddenly came on, yes, like somebody started up a party. which was so unusual because we didn't hear people up there. >> he wasn't -- he couldn't have been there. do you think it was set on a
timer? >> i think it was set on a timer considering the events that transpired in that amount of time. >> and what she did was she called the police when the cloud music came on but the police couldn't respond because they were responding to all the crisis at the theater. but the suspicion now is that that loud music was set, wolf, so that the first responders would be injured when they went into that apartment. that's why we're seeing investigators being so careful as they move forward to look what is left inside that suspect's apartment, wolf. >> enough people have been killed and injured already. we don't want anymore first responders, police officers and others to be injured. certainly not killed. you also had a chance to speak with a neighbor who says he knew james holmes. is that right, kyung? >> a chilling tale, in fact, wolf, because he actually had a beer with the suspect on tuesday. he says he saw him as a college student. he saw him walking around. they went into a bar. he was sitting inside the bar. saw him come in and they had a beer together.
and he says it is -- when he saw his picture come on the television this morning, he could not believe what he was seeing. that this was someone he actually had a drink with. here's what he told us. >> and to see this and knowing this guy is down the street at the bar with me drinking beer and he lives right here and i'm on the next block with explosives? that's insane. >> so again, an active scene here, wolf. investigators moving very cautiously as they are trying to work their way inside the apartment. we're not given any time line on how long it's going to be before all of this is contained. >> kyung lah at the scene at the apartment complex. thank you. elsewhere in aurora, colorado, ed lavandera is outside the movie theat wrer this massacre happened. what's the latest there? >> law enforcement authorities continue to work inside the movie theater where they haven't even been able to remove the
bodies of the victims that were shot last night. they say that they are still trying to collect all the forensic and ballistic evidence they possibly can. as you can imagine, it's a gruesome crime scene. but we have learned here in the last few minutes some more details. just how 24-year-old james holmes moved through the movie theater last night. we are told by a law enforcement source that it is believed that james holmes bought a ticket and actually at one point walked into the theater with the rest of the crowd. but at some point, slipped out that exit do just to the right of the movie screen and left it propped open, went to his car which was parked in the back of the theater, gathered up his gear. he decked himself out in all of that ballistic gear you heard authorities describe, grabbed the weapons, a handgun, a rifle, an assault rifle as well and then came back in to the theater and launched those two canisters which had some irritant, perhaps some sort of tear gas. and that is what launched this attack. and then the gunfire erupted. we're also told by a law
enforcement source that it is believed he had a, what's called a drum magazine connected to the assault rifle. and that would have the ability to carry some 100 rounds of ammunition. obviously, giving him much more firepower inside that movie theater. law enforcement officials have been going to various locations throughout the denver area where these guns were purchased and we're told by a law enforcement source that the guns were purchased legally during the last six months. wolf? >> and you also learned you broke the news from a law enforcement source, ed, that he supposedly, the suspect, had dyed his hair red and told police he was, quote, the joker. obviously, a character in those batman films? >> yeah, that is the information that we've been getting from various sources that we've been talking to throughout the day. and it is clear that at some level, james holmes appears to be communicating or talking to law enforcement because it was from what we're told, james
holmes who also told authorities his apartment had been booby trapped. when we asked the police chief here in aurora to what extent he is cooperating, he really wouldn't get into many details as to just how much information and how much talking james holmes is doing. what everybody wants to know is the motive behind this attack. what would make him want to do this to all these poor innocent people, unsuspecting and having a good time watching the premiere of the batman movie. we still don't have any information as to what might have been the motive in this case. >> the police chief told us he's not going to speculate. not give any information about motivation, at least not yet. ed lavandera, thanks very much. they haven't released the mug shot, i should also point out yet either. let's bring in cnn's tom foreman to piece together how all of this unfolded minute by minute. tom? >> ed's reporting there is very critical to what we're understanding here. this is what law enforcement sources now suggest happened during this midnight movie. they believe that this suspect actually came into the theater with the ticket as ed found out,
went through an exit door to the right of the screen and then outside, he geared up for the attack and then came back inside the theater number nine. approximately 12:37, 12:38, that's when they say a canister was tossed in through this door. look at this. our animation will show it like this. might have been right before this guy. it began hissing and spraying something that seemed to be like tear gas or a pepper spray. a man in black now comes in behind it. we believe he came in the theater with a ticket, went out, put all this gear on and then came back in. he was wearing a bulletproof vest and a gas mask, these people say, and they said he shot into the ceiling first and then he began firing into the crowd. police will later say that what he had at the time he was doing all of this was an ar-15 assault rifle over here. a remington shotgun and a glock .40 caliber handgun.
he was firing a lot of rounds very, very fast. 12:39. the first calls start showing up and police officers start racing to the scene. what they find is victims staggering out through the lobby. they surround the place calling for more officers and ambulances. they know it's a huge event. at 12:42, some of the witnesses say the gunman is still shooting inside. officers urgently call for gas masks so that they can enter theater number nine because they can smell all this gas coming out. at 12:46, at some point here, some of the witnesses say that the shooter simply stops shooting up here and walks out the way that he came out -- the way that he came in and apparently, he went directly toward his car, which was parked outside. and that's where the police grabbed him. police say he offered no resistance and still had two guns on him having left one back in the theater and they say they found another one of the guns
inside of his car. another handgun. in addition to the vest they also say, he was wearing a ballistic throat protector and a groin protector and black tactical gloves. simultaneously officers flood into that theater nine finding seven people there who are so injured that they simply could not run away in any fashion. they found other people there w re hur s ty injues. you lien to theoli the arms and. some buev%r appoeave theater and hit people in the next cinemas. amlaesreso overwhelmed with the number of people here that police officers are loading up critically ill people and taking them to hospitals. of course, they are closing in on the apartment of that suspect where as kyung lah reported, they are still trying to deal
with all that might be left inside. an extraordinary number of events all happening in the space of less than 20 minutes in the middle of the night. >> according, as you heard, ed lavandera, his reporting. we now know how the suspect in this particular case actually got into that theater with all those weapons and all of that gear. obviously -- obviously they are going to have to learn lessons from what has just happened, movie theaters all over the united states. dare i say all over the world as well. tom foreman, excellent report for us. thank you. for the people in that movie theater, every second of the shooting felt like a lifetime. we're going to talk to an eyewitness, someone who was inside watching that batman film when it all went down. we're also going to go to the suspect's hometown of san diego, california, where he went to high school. where his family is now asking for privacy. and we're also learning more about the victims, including an aspiring sports reporter. only 24 years old who survived
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as so many of our 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 we will be there for them as a nation. >> the republican presidential candidate mitt romney also expressed his sympathy for the victims' families. >> i stand before you today, not as a man running for office, but as a father and grandfather, a husband and american. this is a time for each of us to look into our hearts and remember howmuch we love one another, and how much we love and how much we care for our great country. >> romney also canceled his campaign events in new hampshire as well.
suspending all political activity on this horrendous, horrendous day. the suspected shooter, 24-year-old james holmes is originally from san diego. his family still lives there. they released the statement saying their heart goes out to the victims, but they are also asking for privacy. we've got some more eyewitness reaction to what happened in this movie theater in aurora, colorado, shortly after midnight. >> 20, 30 minutes into the movie, and all you hear -- first you smell smoke. everybody thought it was fireworks or something like that. >> when it got to a shooting scene in the movie, and at the same time, there were the gunshots, the real ones. >> you just see people start dropping. and i heard at least 20 to 30 rounds within that minute or two. there was people bleeding. people, obviously, may have been actually dead and we just ran
out of there. it was just chaos everywhere. >> a cop came walking through the door holding a little girl in his arms and she wasn't -- she wasn't moving. i had heard another witness who was in my theater, someone else that i was talking to before the movie, we were waiting in line for it, she was on the phone and the really messed up part for me was she told whoever she was talking to that she saw bullet holes in the little girl's back. >> there were at least four or five individuals that i saw that were actually bleeding from different areas. one person was shot in the back, in the lower buttocks area. one person was in the arm. another in the leg. it was pretty traumatic. i took about five or ten minutes helping a lady get blood off of her face and body. she was covered in it because apparently her boyfriend had sustained injuries in the theater. >> 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 backs, some people's arms. there was this one guy who was stripped down like just his boxers. it looked like he had been like shot in the back or something. it was crazy. >> so painful. all of us have been to movie theaters. we've all been in -- thank god we haven't been in this situation, but we know you are watching a movie. you feel safe. you feel secure and then all of a sudden. >> and you are minding your business. you are there to see the movie. you are minding your business. maybe someone is walking around trying to look for their -- it's a safe place. it gets dark. you are waiting for the movie. it was 15 minutes in and then this to unfold. those eyewitness accounts are so tough to listen to. so amazing. the heroism some people actually showed in there. it's absolutely amazing stuff. obviously, much more on this to come. coming up next, we're learning more about the suspect. he went to high school in san diego. his family still lives there. we're going there live, next. 'ty on gasoline. i don't have to use gas.
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the suspected movie theater shooter, 24-year-old james holmes is originally from san diego. his family still lives there. they've released a statement saying their heart goes out to the victims. but they are asking for privacy. casey wian is outside the family home in san diego. what's going on over there, casey? >> well, i have to be honest with you, wolf. we're not doing that good a job of giving the family the privacy they have requested. of course, the interest in this family and this suspect very understandable. behind me you can see the home where james holmes' mother and father still live. his mother is holed up if you will, inside that house. has been all day. the father was escorted by san diego police officers out of
this area earlier today. apparently on his way to colorado. this is a neighborhood called rancho penasquitos north of san diego where neighbors say people move because of the quality of the schools. it's a very nice suburban, upper middle class if you will issue neighborhood. we spoke with some of those neighbors, including a man named tom mai who lives right next door to the holmes family. he said that james holmes, when he was in high school and living here, was a nice kid and didn't have any rowdy friends. >> very handsome guy, yeah. >> clean cut? >> yeah, clean cut. quiet. like responsible, helping their family out and study hard. >> we also spoke with another neighbor named julie adams. she showed us a high school yearbook that had pictures of holmes. and it was pictures alongside her son. they were both on the same soccer team together.
same junior varsity soccer team back in 2004. of course, she was very surprised. her son very surprised to hear the news of this shooting. here's what she had to say. >> i'm thankful that he wasn't living here at the time beuse there were lots of kids that i knew that were at the local movie theater right here. so it could happen anywhere. >> you can imagine law enforcement officers, local police officers, plainclothes investigators have been in and out of this house all day. the family continues to stay inside. obviously, way too early to speculate on any possible motive. we will pass along, though, one bit of information from a neighborhood. mr. mai telling us that after mr. holmes completed some graduate work in college, he was upset for a time, according to his mother, that he was unable to find a job. of course, a lot of people during this time have been
having trouble finding a job. and we do understand that he was employed at the time he was living in colorado. of course, the family releasing a statement saying their heart goes out to everyone involved in this tragedy. and they are cooperating with law enforcement both here and in colorado. wolf? >> graduated with the highest honors from the university of california riverside in neuroscience and was working on a ph.d. at the university of colorado in neurosciences before he dropped out. 24-year-old james holmes. all right, casey, thanks very much. anderson cooper is on the scene. we'll be speaking with him. he's in aurora, colorado. the horrific shooting is helping to reignite the debate over gun control in the united states. former presidential candidates newt gingrich and the reverend jesse jackson, they are both standing by. we'll talk about what politicians should and shouldn't be doing in the aftermath of this tragedy. what's with you? trouble with a car insurance claim. [ voice of dennis ] switch to allstate. their claim service is so good, now it's guaranteed.
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we're following the breaking news here in "the situation room" tonight. a movie theater massacre in a denver suburb. we're going to talk about it with a former presidential candidate, newt gingrich and the reverend jesse jackson. they've got some serious thoughts on this. first, kate is going to walk us through what happened. >> and remind all our viewers there's been so many developments. a man in a gas mask stormed into a crowded theater during a midnight showing of the new batman movie. he threw a canister of tear gas and opened fire.
>> 15. i've got seven down in theater nine. seven down! >> copy. we'll notify fire. seven down in theater nine. >> get me some officers in nine so we can get the movable victims out. >> the frantic call only paints part of the picture here. 71 people had been shot. 12 people are now dead. you can see the panic on people's faces as they just run through the theater. some of them just covered with blood. the suspected shooter, 24-year-old james eagan holmes was arrested in the parking lot shortly after. police found three weapons in his car. another gun found in the theater. a senior law enforcement official tells cnn they were all bought legally. it's reinvigorating the gun control debate and new york mayor michael bloomberg wants action. listen here. >> there are so many murders with guns every day. it's just got to stop. and instead of these -- the two people, president obama and governor romney, talking in
broad things about they want to make the world a better place, okay. tell us how. and this is a real problem. >> we're joined by the reverend jesse jackson. he's the president of the rainbow push coalition and the former republican presidential candidate, former speaker of the house newt gingrich. thanks to both of you for coming in on this horrendous day. do you agree with michael bloomberg that both the president and mitt romney have to start deal with this issue of gun control? >> we must move from prayer and condolences to policy. this is not just an incident. this is a pattern. it's aurora today. it's columbine. it's arizona. 30,000 americans are killed a year from gunfire. about -- >> serious problems in chicago. >> about 100,000 injured. we must start with reviving the ban on assault weapons. it's one thing to want a gun in your house or maybe a gun to go hunting. who needs semiautomatic weapons on the street for which there is no defense. >> let me ask the speaker?
>> first of all, it was illegal in chicago for 28 years to have a handgun. the supreme court only threw it out in 2011. there were 25 people shot in one may day this year. now if gun control worked, and mayor bloomberg is in the same boat. they have gun control in new york. it just doesn't work. the most effective system we've had for stopping murder was rudy giuliani who imposed a model of policing that brought down murder rates in new york by 75%. and it starts with focusing on the criminal. the president was right today. what we are watching tonight is the result of an evil act. evil acts should be punished decisively, immediately, swiftly. people should learn a civic lesson that we're not going to tolerate certain things. this is unacceptable in a civilized society. he shouldn't be tied up with lawyers for ten years and psychiatrists for ten years. this person engaged in an evil -- >> i think we're looking at
the -- it's not just this guy that's evil and apparently also sick. the guy in columbine. the kids in columbine. the people in arizona. >> or virginia tech. >> a shot in the white house, shot the window in the white house. the saturation of guns. gun flow does not make us more secure. >> mr. speaker, do you think this -- this debate comes up every time we have -- there is a horrific act that happens. do you think this young man, 24 years old, do you think he should have been able to get an assault rifle, two hand guns, another gun -- >> he did not get a true assault rifle because that's illegal. so if he has a legal weapon, it's not a true assault weapon because it's illegal in the united states to get a -- when you see film of various drug dealers using weapons that are submachine guns, those are illegal weapon >> very sophisticated, whatever
it was. it killed a lot of people. 71 people were shot. >> 71 people were shot. and i think the correct answer is to deal directly and immediately with this person so decisively that other people learn a lesson. this is not -- i mean look what's happening in arizona where this guy is going to be, you know, interviewed and inspected and thought about and tried and lawyered forever. >> you mean gabby gifford's -- >> this shouldn't a trophy. so you lock up and arrest a very sick man. what about the 71 people who were shot. his capacity to shoot 71 people. we loss less tn years, but in e streets of our it's much greater. suicide rate among soldiers higher than the number lost in combat. >> i can't tell you, mr. speaker hour, many e-mails and tweets i got today from our viewers all over the world. and we're being seen right now live around the world.
and they say to me, why is it in the united states, anybody who doesn't have a criminal background can just go out and buy sophisticated weapons like this. they don't understand our system here. >> but there's a very specific practical reason. it's called the second amendment. and it was put into law very deliberately. in fact, washington actually signed a law requiring every adult to have rifle. and the reas why -- >> washington never saw an assault weapon. washington never saw a glock, for example. it's almost like you use guns to hunt the militia when on the attack. i use guns to hunt rabbit and deer. every police chief in america would say get these weapons off the street. >> the vast majority of the use of guns is pistols. it's not assault weapons. the vast majority is illegal
already. the act itself is illegal. the person, you go to a city that has gun control, the district of columbia, doesn't mean they don't have violence. go to new york city. >> so yououldn't change any of the laws right now? >> i would enforce the laws. i would be very aggressive in going after people who break the law. i would eliminate most of the appeal process, most of the kind of stuff. people need to see that an evil act is met with an immediate response by the society. >> mr. speaker -- >> wolf, less than 6,000 killed in iraq in ten years and 30,000 killed a year at home. it suggests whateveis. >> -- >> obviously something needs to be fixed. we've had a good debate. we'll definitely continue this conversation down the road. we'll be speaking with anderson cooper. he's in aurora right now. want to talk to him quickly before i let you go, reverend jackson. your son, jesse jackson jr. we've heard he had mood disorder. he's been recovering. i don't exactly know what that
means. how is he doing? what's wrong? >> let me say as a father, he's going through an awful lot of pain. when we found out about six weeks ago, we got him medical attention, which he is getting. and i feel now that he regaining his strength slowly so i ask people to pray for him and our family. >> will he be back? >> there's no timetable for regaining his strength but right now at this point, he's coming back. >> please wish him a speedy recovery. our best wishes. i think i speak for all of us, all of our viewers. we hope he comes back strong robust and whatever he's going through and we're not exactly sure, but whatever he's going through, that he comes out of this strong. >> thank you so much. >> thank you so much. thank you, mr. speaker, for coming in as well. newt gingrich, by the way is out with a new book "no taxation by misrepresentation." rejecting the dishonest obama care tax. we'll have him back. we'll be speaking about that. but not on this day. we're also -- we will
definitely have you back as well. both of you will be back. but not on this day. we're not going to talk about that. we're also learning new details about the victims of the massacre including a young aspiring sportscaster. only 24 years old. look at her. this is heartbreaking. her mother speaks out about the last time she heard from her. stand by. you're in "the situation room." i bought the car because of its efficiency. i bought the car because i could eliminate gas from my budget. i don't spend money on gasoline. it's been 4,000 miles since my last trip to the gas station. it's pretty great. i get a bunch of kids waving at me... giving me the thumbs up. it's always a gratifying experience. it makes me feel good about my car. i absolutely love my chevy volt. ♪
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the gas mask that protected him from the tear gas, we are told. that just coming in to "the situation room." cnn's anderson cooper is now in aurora, colorado, watching what's going on. you're going to be doing "ac 360" live tonight from there. anderson, set the scene a little bit for us. what have you seen? what's going on? >> well, obviously, people are still just shocked, stunned here. this is a state, a country, really in mourning at this time. still so many questions remain to be answered about the motives of this young man. the history of this young man. as you said, we're learning more about him, about withdrawing from his ph.d. program at the university of colorado. he was in the process of doing that. but we're at the movie theater, wolf, about four miles away from where we are now is the home of this young man. police are there now. it is a crime scene. they are being very careful about trying to enter his apartment because of a variety of devices which are believed to
be inside the apartment. they are taking this very carefully, very slowly. it may be even a matter of days before they are really able to fully enter that apartment and find out more of what evidence may be inside there. the suspect is going to be appearing in court on monday. that's believed to be the first time we will actually see him in court. we have yet to see his mug shot, wolf. so many questions, and just so many people still just really in shock in this state, wolf. and, obviously, we're going to be having a lot more tonight at 8:00 and also again live at 10:00 from the scene. >> it's really amazing, anderson, when you think about it. obviously, a very intelligent guy. graduated with the highest honors from the university of california, riverside, in neuroscience, working on a ph.d. at the university of colorado. but now we've learned, ray kelly, the new york city police commissioner first revealed it, we've confirmed it from another law enforcement source, our own ed lavandera who is on the scene, that he supposedly had
dyed his hair red and he told the police he was, quote, the joker, a character in these batman films. and, you know, what, if anything, that means, i don't know. but we do know, anderson, that 71 people were shot and 12 of them are dead. >> well, also we know he's been purchasing these weapons over the last several months from a variety of stores in colorado and the denver area. so the question, of course, has he been planning this all along for this particular -- this particular day? the opening of the movie "batman." as you said according to police sources, he dyed his hair red, although his face apparently wasn't all that visible because of the gas mask. when your wearing gas masks you don't see much of your face. obviously, inside a darkened theater when you are wearing a gas mask and if there's tear gas in the air or some kind of incendiary device which there was said to be, his visibility was probably limited as well. whether or not that contributed to the low number of fatalities out of the total number of people who were wounded, a
shocking number of people wounded. 71 people in all shot. but 12 people known dead. 10 actually inside the theater. two as of this time who died later at the hospital. we're still trying to find out the condition of a lot of the other people, wolf, who were shot. >> anderson, we'll have special live programming at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on cnn. "ac 360." also live at 10:00 p.m. eastern. "ac 360." we'll be watching, anderson. thanks for doing this. thanks for being in aurora, colorado. obviously a very dangerous situation over at the apartment of the colorado shooting suspect. it's filled with booby traps. a bomb expert is standing by live. he's going to help us better understand what police are facing right now. i have to know the weather patterns. i upgraded to the new sprint direct connect. so i can get three times the coverage. [ chirp ] [ manager 2 ] it's like working in a giant sandbox with all these huge toys. and with the fastest push-to-talk... i can keep track of them all. [ chirp ] [ chirp ] [ male announcer ] upgrade to the new "done." with access to the fastest push-to-talk
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this just coming into the situation room. thanks to reuters. they have a story that's moving now. saying the apartment where the suspect lived apparently has been so extensively booby trapped that police have now determined they cannot safely defuse the devices. this is according to a police source. the police now plan to detonate the devices using a robot. this according to reuters. we're joined now by kevin berry, the former bomb squad lead investigator for the new york city police department. thanks very much for coming in. what do you make of this, they're going to have to use a robot to detonate these bombs apparently in this apartment? >> it's the safest way to go at this point. >> if you were in charge of this investigation, you would do the same thing? they're basically going to blow up the apartment, i take it, assuming -- we have no idea how lethal these weapons are?
>> it's the safest way to go. not putting their technicians in danger. to recover evidence and put someone's life at risk is not a good operational procedure. >> all right. kate boulden is here. she's got a question for you as well. >> mr. barry, i want to play some sound we have from the aurora police chief, dan oates. he described the situation at the suspect's house earlier today. take a listen to this and then i'll ask you a question. >> our investigation determined his apartment is bobby traed with various incendiary and chemical devices and apparent trip wires, so we have an active and difficult scene there. it may be resolved in hours or days. we simply don't know how we're going to handle that. >> so when you hear a situation like this, the police cef even acknowledged for the layman he didn't even really know how they were going to deal with this situation. take us into the mind of kind a bomb squad member. what are they thinking about?
what are they going through? what are all the considerations that you really need to take into account when you're dealing with such an insecure situation? >> they've got to take into consideration could it be booby trapped with the door being opened, a pressure switch, somebody stepping on something, a trip wire being pulled to fire a device and function it, or possibly is it passive infrared, a motion detector? there are reports of bottles of liquid. using a dynamic entry with flammables there could cause a secondary fire as a resultynami got a very difficult task in front them. >> it's another amazing detail, i've never heard this before, but apparently accord to a law enforcement source that our reporters have talked to, this suspect left really loud blairing techno music in the
apartment before he went to see the batman film and if someone would have complained, if someone would have tried to get in the apartment to shut down the music, which was really loud and annoying, the booby trap would have been alerted, would have gone off, and who knows if another person or persons might have been killed. have you ever heard anything like this before, in all your years as a police investigator? >> yes, i have, it was a diversion. it's a red herring. trying to pull them in, thinking it was strictly a noise complaint, and actually pull them in and try and get them to enter the apartment and function the device. >> these are live pictures in aurora, colorado, from that apartment complex, where police are now, possibly, going to use a robot to detonate the explosive devices still inside. that may be the safest way to do it. mr. barry, thanks so much for coming in. >> you're welcome. >> obviously, the situation is still unfolding. coming up, the mother of a young woman killed in the shooting shares her dauger's final text
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we know 12 people died. one of them was jessica ghawi, a 24-year-old aspiring sportscaster. kate, this is heartbreaking, heartwrenching, to see what's going on, especially when you get to know some of these individual victims. >> we know police are just -- are still working to notify the family members of some of these victims so news is really just trickling in about the victims. jessica ghawi's family confirms she dined in that massacre. and now her mother is sharing the last time she heard from her
daughter. listen to this. >> the last thing she texted to me was i'm so excited about your trip here next week. and i need my mama. i was blessed. only for 25 years, but i was blessed. >> some of her last words came in a tweet where she wrote, movie doesn't start for 20 minutes. she was a texas native interning for a colorado radio station. friends say she was driven and funny and natural sportscaster. those qualities evident in this video we're going to show you from her very first professional interview as an intern. >> you're nailing it, i'm telling you. >> i know, such a great job. full fail. >> you should probably face the camera a little bit. there we go. or not fall. >> can we please -- >> what a sweet girl. ghawi had a pensive side too. this is an amazin
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