tv CNN Newsroom CNN July 22, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
>> hello, i'm don lemon live in aurora, colorado. we want to tell you that there's lots to get to. we'll start with the latest developments in the theater shooting that has left ten people dead. new information just released from the police department in aurora. it is about what they found in the alleged gunman's apartment. the 24-year-old is the only suspect in the movie theater shooting. we just found out in the past few minutes that police found a batman poster and a batman mask. they also identified the identified rifle used as a smith & wesson military style assault weapon. police say it was loaded with a 100-round magazine that jam during the shooting. we don't know how many times he fired it before it jammed. also right now, president barack obama is here in aurora. he is meeting with members of the victims' families and the governor and local officials so stay with cnn. president obama expected to make
some public comments in a few minutes and we will have that for you live of course on cnn. the president is going to speak not long before a citywide gathering of people here in aurora. they will pray, they will honor the people killed, and they will be together. at the scene where the people of aurora are beginning to gather right now. take us there. what is expected to happen where you are later? >> reporter: well, in about 90 minutes, this prayer vigil will begin. we're already beginning to see people gather in this rather large square. if you look behind me, you can see there are chairs set up and people are standing around this area. there is a stage set up. a podium. what we are expecting to hear today is a community trying to come to grips with what has happened. trying to moveeyond the actual shooting and work on becoming a community of healing. we're expecting to hear from the governor, the mayor, as well as victims. victims' families, people who were inside there.
sharing their experiences. we're also expecting to hear from the first responders. what they went through. remember, they're also the ones who are traumatized as well. we're beginning to see less than two days after this horrific shooting, a community trying to begin those ten i have the steps of moving beyond this massacre. don? >> uh-huh. and you talk with a man in the hospital today who was shot and he says that he forgives the man who shot him. >> he does. it is really an extraordinary statement, if you think about this. this man has fragments of three different weapons in his body. he was shot in the foot. you can see the pellets that were left behind from the shotgun fragments. you can also see, he says if you look at the x-ray, you can see two distinct bullets lodged in his arm and foot. despite the fact that he was only six inches away from the gunman, he says he forgives him.
that's something that he needs to do to be able to come to peace, to have some sort of peace over what has happened. i want to point out that's just one person's statement. i spoke to another victim just yesterday in the hospital. and he said, he absolutely cannot fathom feeling any sort of forgiveness in his heart for what this suspect has done. >> yeah. and you can understand that after what everybody is going through. thank you. we appreciate it. i want to tell that you that citywide memorial is expected to begin about one hour from now. we're going to carry it for you live. and make sure you stay right there. we will carry the president's comments live right here on cnn as well. that's expected around 7:30 p.m. eastern, just under 30 minutes from now. we'll have that live from aurora for you. as i mentioned a few minutes ago, police are revealing a little of what they found in the shooting suspect's apartment. i want to get to ed lavendera now. he is outside. what are police saying now?
what did they find in that apartment? >> reporter: explosives that this man put together. after they went through a great deal of effort which took about 36 hours from the moment they went in to james holmes' apartment, they were able to start taking away the evidence and the belongings from what we can tell, they have completely cleared out his apartment. a law enforcement source tells cnn, they removed interestingly enough a batman poster, a batman mask, and his computer. all of that has been taken away from the apartment. and obviously, they're going through that computer, trying to see what kind of evidence they might be able to find. they're hoping that would be a type of clue that would provide a great deal of evidence. and depth into what exactly james holmes has been doing for the last several months in preparing for this attack. don? >> we also learned something about the weapon used in that theater. what do police say about that?
>> well, we had heard from one of the shooting victims, they believe that at some point, one of the weapons that james holmes was using inside the theater had jammed. we're told by a law enforcement source that appears to be the case. it was the ar-15 assault rifle that jammed at some point and this is also the weapon that we were told by law enforcement sources had the drum magazine which is a magazine that allows them, allows the person to carry about 100 rounds of ammunition with that magazine. and in the words of the source that we spoke with said this is to inflict the most possible damage. to be able to carry as much ammunition as possible into that theater. but they did also say these magazines do have a tendency to jam. and then obviously, from what witnesses have told and what authorities have that, he just picked up the next weapon. so whether or not that was able to buy some people some time to get away from him and maybe spare a few lives, that might have played some role in that. regardless of that, with all
three weapons that he brought into that theater, according to authority, he was obviously able continue to afflict a great deal of damage. whether or not the jamming of that magazine prevented even more, they're still trying to figure that out. >> and i see the apartment building behind you. i see the police tape. i want you to tell me about that block and that neighborhood. how do people feel about this apartment filled with explosives, that this man was their neighbor? >> reporter: you know, it is hard to imagine what it must have been like to be here. in the middle of the night, essentially, everyone told that they must evacuate as authorities figured out where james holmes lived and what was going on inside his apartment. for the next 36 hours, they had bomb technicians, cordoned off this neighborhood for several streets. various apartments buildings surrounding the one you see behind me, had to be evacuated. many have been moved back and things are starting to get back to normal. the streets are opening up. the only building that remains
evacuated at some point is that one. that will change when residents will be allowed back inside. obviously, what this communicate and these neighbors have been dealing with throughout this week is, has been very tragic, very emotional, and the mayor of aurora knows that. >> we're listed on the fbi's list of ten most safe cities above a population of 250,000. so this is just not normal for aurora. but we know we'll have to live with it. and we'll just have to move forward. >> reporter: you know, don, what we keep hearing over and over from people in this neighborhood is that james holmes, at least on the surface here, appeared to be a very quiet guy. kept to himself. it has been very dill to get any kind of insight in him with the people we've been talking to and meeting in this neighborhood. >> we will be coming back to you throughout the evening.
we appreciate that. i want to tell our viewers again that we are waiting remarks from the president of the united states. the president arrived here just over an hour ago. in aurora, colorado. he is meeting with victims and family members. he is at the university of colorado hospital. shortly he'll be making his way to wherever he'll be remarks at the bottom of the hour, sometime around then. there is a much bigger memorial service that's happening a little later on this evening. the colorado governor john hickenlooper, i had said george earlier, pardon me. some of the victims will be there as well. first another story making news today. the statue of legendary head coach joe paterno removed from campus. a big announcement tomorw could impact the school for years to come. t trade route to the west, the greatest empires. then, some said, we lost our edge. well today, there's a new new york state.
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the ncaa is ready to hand out some of its toughest penalties ever. it follows an investigation how school leaders including legendary coach joe paterno ignored the child abuse by jerry sandusky. the report has tarnished paterno's legacy at the school and it led to a removal of the statue of him today. cnn correspondent susan candiotti joins us. let's talk about this decision to remove the statue. what about that? >> it's been a lightning rod on campus. in the end, penn state president rodney erickson said he thought the statue would b a recurring wound to the victims of child abuse. the paterno family says tearing down the statue does not serve the victims and as they put it, the only way to help the victims is to uncover the full truth, as they put it. we don't know what the board of trustees thinks because really, despite problems in the transparency, they are not today
about the statue. the university dismantled joe paterno's statue this morning before the start of the fall semester. presumably, to present thing from possibly getting ugly. >> what do we speck to hear from the ncaa tomorrow? >> well, tom, a source close to the case tells me that penn state football faces what they are calling unprecedented penalty that's are well beyond what has been done in the past. however, the school will not face the so-called death penalty that would have meant no football this fall. the source says some penalties will be worse, an outcome devastating to current players who had nothing to do with the scandal. the source tells me there are provisions in the plan to minimize the impact on those students. >> it sounds like inle ways, what the ncaa is doing on what it heard in the freeie report.
>> it must have made a g impact. the ncaa didn't evenait for an official response from the university before announcing these penalties. he remembered they had asked the president of penn state to answer four questions about how they handled the an us is did i m , the sandusky matter. everything was in that report that blamed the four top officials for covering up the scandal and that report was commissioned by the former fbi director, commissioned by the school and headed up by the director, louis freeh. >> once this happens, what can penn state do? does it have any options for fighting this penalty? >> they can appeal it but the question is will they. they need to weigh what that could accomplish. after all, there could be a big potential pr back lash if that happened. >> all right. thanks so much. turning now to international news. an afghan police department turned his gun on three americans today, killing them at
a training center. the victims were civilian contractors. the gunman was also killed. an afghan police official says the motive for the shooting is unknown. that's the souchd syrian rebels fighting for the two biggest cities. this was aleppo today. they hope to liberate the city from what it calls president assad's thugs but they also offered an olive branch saying any who surrender will not be harmed. the fbi thinks two young girls missing in iowa for more than a week are still alive. agents won't say why they've come to that conclusion. the iowa cousins, one 10, one 8, were last seen heading off on a bike ride. they said someone knows something. according to police, family and friends have been alarmly cooperative but some not totally
cooperative. a $50,000 reward for information on that. michael jackson's mother has been reported missing by a family member but her son said she's fine. the missing persons report was filed with the l.a. county sheriff's office by her nephew. katherine's son said she is resting on the orders of a doctor. he said she is upset because of a family fight over michael jackson's will. we'll have much more as the evening goes on. right now, let's go back to aurora, colorado, and don lemon. >> what a strange story, thank you very much. appreciate that. we want to tell you again that we're waiting for the president to speak live here on cnn at the bottom of the hour. 7:30 eastern. he is here in aurora, colorado, meeting with the victims and the family members from the shooting from the mass shooting in the theater right over my shoulder. and in the meantime, we want to till about someone i interviewed just yesterday. she served a tour of duty in iraq. only to be shot in a movie theater. and i spoke with her about that
shooting here in aurora and i asked her if it was anything like she had seen in a war zone about the loss of her friend as well. >> hi. my son is 2 1/2 years old and my wife and i are starting to look into kindergarten programs. what sort of things should we look at? >> the most important thing i can say, you as a shopper, you as someone who is looking for a school, must understand first what you want before you go looking at schools. meaning that if you want a school that teaches in a very traditional setting, if you want a montessori or some sort of hybrid of that, then you have to decide what works best for you. one of the biggest mistakes that parents make is you decide on a school for reasons other than they fit your family's academic needs. if you are looking for a criteria other than cost and
hours, i think you want to look at the qual of the academic experience. i think you should want, especially for a kinderrten program, for your child to know how the read. they should be able to read simple words and have some understanding of the meanings of those words. they should be able to do simple math and know their colors and begin to write to some degree. if you understand that, then you'll have a really good understanding of the type of school you want for your child. i'm one of six children that my mother raised by herself, and so college was a dream when i was a kid. i didn't know how i was gonna to do it, but i knew i was gonna get that opportunity one day, and that's what happened with university of phoenix. nothing can stop me now. i feel like the sky's the limit with what i can do and what i can accomplish. my name is naphtali bryant ani am a phoenix. visit phoenix.edu to find the program that's right for you. enroll now.
. alex sullivan worked at the century 16 theater in aurora and planned to ring in his 27th birthday with a special midnight screening of "dark night rises." his relatives describe him as a gentle giant. he was funny, witty, smart, with a big loving heart. he and his wife were expected to celebrate their firstwedding anniversary on sunday. a good friend of alex sullivan, christina blatche, is another victim of the shooting massacre. she was with alex at that
midnight movie. she survived and earlier we talk, as she recover in her hospital bed. >> a couple hours ago, a day or so ago, you were a manager at a restaurant and then this. >> yeah. you can never expect it. you're always that person that says, that will never happen to me. and then when it's going on, i didn't even know what was going on for the first three minutes that it happened. i thought it was like movie theater antics. when there are midnight movie premiers, they put on shows. they have people dress up in costume and come around and what not. i honestly thought that might be what was going on because it was in the middle of a movie scene. where they're fighting. and then when the thing that was thrown and kind of lying, you could literally count to five. then this bomb went off. and that was like two things in front of me. two rows. and then all of a sudden, you hear pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.
gun fire. that's when it hit me, oh, my god. this is actually happening. i should get to the floor. that's when i went to go get to the floor. >> people were like, oh, my god, i've been hit. >> there were certain people like trampling over other people that had foughten down, whether they were hit or not, i don't know. people were falling over each other. the next thing you know, you're hearing everybody, oh, my god, help me, oh, my god, help me. there was blood everywhere. you could see it. you just turn your head and look around. there was blood everywhere. so it kind of clicks once you see that much blood and people not moving. then my friend that was sitting next to me, his face down next to me. blood coming out of his head. kind of, i didn't get an update until this morning about what had actually happened. if he made it or not. >> your friend alex. >> alex sullivan, yeah.
>> what did you learn? this morning? >> i learned that he died. >> hard to fathom. >> he's the whole reason we all went. it just sucks, you know? i don't want to say, nobody deserves something like this. >> crispy, as they call you. you were in a war zone. like you were in baghdad. >> uh-huh. >> why is this worse than being in a war zone? >> they just weren't, nobody saw this coming. you know what i mean? nobody that was there saw it coming. nobody was prepared for it. if you're going over to a war zone, you know there is the potential you'll be shot at. potentially that murderers will come over the wall. potentials that somebody will throw a grenade at you. you're in a movie theater with your friends, who expects to be shot in a movie theater? none of us did. >> can you forgive him?
the gunman? >> can i forgive him? probably not today. not tomorrow. eventually. i'm a pretty, i guess, laid back and kind of outgoing person. i like to move on. i don't like to keep dwelling on the past. so eventually, yeah. i'll be able to forgive him. just not right now. he killed somebody i cared about and he injured a heck of a lot of my friends. so for right now, no. down the road, yeah. >> our thanks to christina blache and we wish her the best. we're awaiting the president to speak at any moment now here. live on cnn. he is in aurora, colorado. he is meeting with family members, with some of the victims. he is at the university of colorado hospital. he is going to speak with them and talk with them for a little bit and then he will make some live remarks coming up.
it is supposed to be at the bottom of the hour but that could happen at any time. there is a much bigger memorial going on this evening in aurora, colorado. that is expected to start about eight clog, 8:30. and the governor of colorado, john hickenlooper, will speak. and the mayor, i believe we have some live pictures that we can show our viewers of that memorial. where that service will be going on. do we have that? okay. okay. so we don't have it. let's show the memorial that's here across the street. it really came up a couple of hours after the shooting. people had been meeting here. this has been a gathering place for many people in aurora, colorado. they've been coming here and supporting each other and getting their feelings out. a gathering place. a mick shift memorial right across from the scene of that really tragic, deadly shooting. i want to move on now and talk about my conversation with the
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. matt mcquinn's family agonized for hours before they found out that he was killed in the aurora shooting. he was at the movie with his girlfriend and her brother. witnesses say he died while trying to shield his girlfriend from the barrage of bullets from suspected gunman james holmes. to make matters worse for his girlfriend, the hospital wouldn't confirm his condition toer because she was not related. the manager of a gun range might have been one of the first people leery of the man accused of the aurora movie massacre. he applied to join the range in june. something about him made the owner uneasy. his suspicion was confirmed when he listened to a bizarre answering machine message. drew griffin is here with me. what spooked you? >> this is the first person that we've heard of that had questions about this guy and there was no human interaction. on june 25th, james holmes
applied to the gun range. i want to show you this gun range. it is about 30 miles outside of town. a private gun range. very rural. it is called the lead valley range in colorado. so james holmes applies online. fills out a form and says he wants to be a member of this gun range. the gun owner calls back. thinking he will make a sale. he has a 100-hour initiation fee. he gets this voicemail he doesn't understand. he calls it back again. it sounds really weird to him. he calls back a third time. this is what he described to our producer. gutteral, freakish, maybe drunk, weird and bizarre. a deep gutteral forced voice. well, that gun range owner, his alarms went off. he said this guy isn't coming to my range. he doesn't get on my range unless i have a face to face meeting with him. james holmes never showed up. never answered the phone calls. never came back to that range.
it is the first instant we have in this ghost-like being of somebody a little nervous about james holmes. >> my goodness. incredibly though, drew, some were saved by the heroism of others. one man survived by sheer luck. >> it is something we're learning today. the ar-15 which had the most serious fire power, and had a 100 magazine drum on it which means it had 100 rounds in the semiautomatic fire, actually jammed. and it could be what josh said saved his life. >> the gun did not jam, i am certain i would not be here. >> how are you feeling today? >> scared. you know? of course i'm glad it's over with. and yes, i am glad i am alive and i get to see my kids. but i also think about the other
people that weren't as lucky as i was. the kids, mothers and fathers. and they're dead. >> federal law enforcement sources told cnn that this gun actually did jam. i can't imagine if it had not jammed, what kind of damage, you know, more damage would have been done. >> we say it could have been much worse. but it could have been much worse. drew has been getting really good information about the shooting suspect. we want to tell you the president expected to speak at any moment live here on cnn. he is meeting with family members of the victim and some of the victims as well. not exactly sure what the president is going to say. but he is going to be speaking, live remarks. you see that up in the corner of the screen. the president speaking shortly. a much bigger memorial will happen in just a bit as well.
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only 6 years old. she was the youngest of the 12 people who died in the mass theater shooting. veronica was described by her aun as a vibrant little girl who had just learn how to swim and was excited about life. her mother was critically wounded in the attack and is still recovering. even in tragedy, there are some inspiring stories to tell you about. last night i spoke with eric hunter. he was watching the batman movie in theater 8 on the other side of the wall from where the shootings happened. he would come face to face with that gunman. i asked him to describe what that. >> first we heard three gunshots that came through the wall. we thought they were firecrackers or something of that nature. we thought it was a part of the movie going experience they were trying to create. >> did you try to head to an exit? >> when that happened, we sat back down after that. we seen some commotion, some people staggering out but we thought they were trying to get the attention of the theater.
at that point we heard nine more shots and we seen it come through. that's when we knew we had to find a way out. >> the gunman, his face was pretty much covered but could you see his eyes. or maybe his mouth. did you see any expression? did you look into his eyes? >> when i did get a glimpse of him, i seen his eyes. i could not see anything else because ted gas mask on. i did see his eyes. he looked pretty intense. >> did he ever come over to the other theater or just that one? >> no. just 9. i think he was going to try to enter the theater after seeing the girls were over there. once i pulled them in and closed it, he could not answer. thank god. >> so how are you feeling today being back here? i asked the guest before you, being back here at this theater and seeing all of these people out here. >> it's emotional. it is just emotional. you're happy you're alive but you're sad because you know certain people died. you know children died and you wish, why not me instead of them. you just feel bad. >> we've been talking a lot
about the suspect in this. and many people are saying i don't want to hear so much about the suspect. i want to hear about the survivors, the victims and their families. do you feel that way? are you angry with him? does it upset you to talk about him? >> it doesn't upset me to talk about him but i am angry, the fact that he did what he did. we have to talk about him if we're going to figure out how to convict him and how to not let this happen again. we have to talk about him. i understand where they're coming from. i don't even want to turn on the tv and watch the news because i'm affected by it. >> how does this change your life? >> i'm going to be more cautious. live my life a little bit just better and just enjoy myself. >> that was eric hunter who was watching the batman movie on the screen next door to where friday's shootings happened. if you want to learn more about the victims of this shooting here in colorado, pay tribute to them or post messages to their loved ones, you can do so by logging on to our webb. go to cnn.com/colorado victims.
we're awaiting the president to speak. and he will be speaking at any moment. we'll carry it for you live here on cnn. we weren't sure if the president would make any public remarks but apparently he is now. it is supposed to happen at 7:30 eastern time but the president, we hear, making his way to wherever he is going to make that speech from that has not been released. as to where he is going to be. we do know that he met with family members, victims, at the university of colorado hospital. he is supposed to spend a couple of hours with them and that's what he's doing now and then making his way again to wherever he will speak live here on cnn. we'll bring it to you. also, there is big aer memorial happening. this is the one over at the aurora municipal center. one where all the family members are going to be as well as the victims, the governor of colorado going to be there. also, the mayor going to speak as are many dignitaries. there will be a service, a
church service, a memorial service for the victims and the family to give them at least some healing here. some ways that they can feel they are together. the shot that you see there, the smallest shot you see in the corner of the screen. that's a makeshift memorial that was created a couple hours after the shooting when the sun rose the next day. people started coming out. they actually erected a cross. that has been removed. bringing teddy bears, balloons, signs and posters. many have been standing there. candles as well. have been have been standing there hugging and consoling each other. this aurora community coming together.
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his friends. >> a guy has a gun, he's shooting at people. stay down. it's the best chance we have. >> the second thought for josh nolan, protect his friends. he deployed to iraq twice, threw himself on top of his friends. dozens of bullets threw through the air. one ripped through his cal if and then lodged in his arm. >> i see a big hole in my leg and hole in my arm. >> nolan says he flattened himself with his friends beneath him. hearing the gunman walk and wait. he must survive for his two sons, he says, whose picture he carries in his wallet. 9-year-old and 7-year-old. then the gun jammed. >> if that gun had not jammed, do you think you'd be here? >> i know i wouldn't be here f that gun did not jam, i am full
certain that i probably would not be here. >> how are you feeling today? >> i'm scared. you know, of course i'm glad it's over with and, yes, i am glad i am alive and i get to see my kids but i also think about, you know, the other people that aren't as lucky as i was. i mean, there was kids, mothers and fathers that was there and they are dead. i'm still alive. >> amid the horror of what happened inside theater number 9, we're hearing an extraordinary story repeated, the number of people who threw themselves on top of friends and family members to shield them from a the flying bullets. >> brandon and denise are two of the people people that you would ever meet. >> is that why you jumped on top of them when the bullets started flying?
>> i did. they had ever right to live and be happy. they just got married. >> it's no longer a friendship. it's not even family. it's like something deeper. >> because there's -- this is something that will never leave. >> no. >> his friends won't leave his side now, helping knowlan through a second surgery and therapy. nowlan has only one thing that he must do for his emotional recovery. >> i want to go back into that theater, in the auditorium, look down that same seat and say, i beat you. you did not take this life. >> very emotional story. live pictures of the memorial that's expected to take place. started at the top of the hour
here on cnn, this is -- you're looking at live pictures now of the aurora municipal center. these are the grounds there where that memorial will take place live. again, the governor will be speaking. the governor of colorado, governor hickenlooper. we're going to go to church here for a little bit and we are going to pay our respects to the people who lost their lives and we're going to support the families and do it all live here on cnn. originally the president was supposed to speak at 7:30 eastern, about 30 minutes ago. but we hear he is a bit behind and probably taking his time meeting with those family members, speaking to them, and also meeting with some of the victims at the university of colorado hospital. we'll have live coverage, both the memorial, president's remarks moments away. [ cellphone rings ]
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he was in the army reserve before joining the air force and one of those guys, you just always wanted to be around. there were 11 more victims like that, too. we have been telling you about it throughout our coverage since this happened, very early on friday, early in the midnight hours of thursday night when people were in that theater, that theater that's right over my shoulder, right across the street from the makeshift memorial that you're looking at now when this suspected gunman, james holmes, police say walked into that theater and also witnesses and two canisters of something, they believe it was tear gas. he ignited those and then opened fire on innocent people,
injuring 70 people total in all. many people are still in the hospital tonight. and this is right where you're looking at -- right over my shoulder and right across the street from the century 16 theater where this happened. and this was really set up here, just a couple of hours, when the sun came up the next day and people have been gathering there really # paying their respects. we have been moved by what we saw and what we read on the posters there. many people, as i said, paying their respects to the victim. a lot of people, instead of negative things about this shoot every, they don't want to focus on that. what they are trying to focus on is positive words. the sign behind me saying the community of aurora with signatures on it, going to come back. we're going to support you.