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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  July 21, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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lives. >> "nbc nightly news" begins now. >> this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt substituting tonight and reporting from aurora, colorado kate snow. >> good evening from the scene of one of the worst mass shootings in our nation's recent history, this community is still struggling to understand what happened here early friday. at this hour, the number of dead remains at 12, 58 others wounded. either by gun fire, or in the chaos as the shooting started. right now 26 people still in the hospital. nine of them in critical condition. right now we are learning more about the victims at least one child among them. we are hearing stories all this as authorities expand their investigation about the suspect. today they are finally able to
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enter his heavy booby-trapped apartment. that is where we begin tonight. >> reporter: good evening. police used a controlled detonation. police were able to enter the apartment. they say it was successful but it was the first step not the last step in learning what secrets might be hidden in the apartment. part of the james holmes mystery is becoming clear. how a clean-cut kid everyone called jimmy changed into a man with pink died hair was seen fitting a scope to an assault rival on an assault rifle weeks ago. william mckee was in the store. >> i had a feeling a guy like that shouldn't be buying that kind of a gun. he had a weird look about him. >> they found the apartment was booby-trapped as he had reportedly warned it was.
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a controlled detonation defeated the first of those triggers. triggers that could well have delivered even more tragedy beyond the unspeak al mayhem miles away. >> it was clearly set up to kill that person. >> reporter: as the day wore on, it was clear there was much to be done before investigators could safely enter the apartment. >> we saw containers with accelerants and triggers wires and fuses. >> what changed james holmes? or changed for him? he had always been a gifted student and a soccer player, a teammate remembered hip. >> he was reserved, kept to himself, but at the same time he was a nice kid, very smart and quiet. >> but it was academics that propelled him. he won scholarshiped to the university of california riverside where he earned a degree in neuroscience.
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>> he was an honor student. he was at the top of the top. >> at the next self the medical college at the university of colorado graduate school proved tougher. he faced a preliminary elimination in june and instead he quit. days later place say he brought the last of four weapons like these that were recovered at the scene of the massacre. late this afternoon explosives were removed from his apartment. his father was as shocked to learn as he headed to the airport as anyone that his gift ed son was the sole suspect in a genuine horror. what is left for others to figure out the how and why but they are not there yet. >> if you think we are angry we sure as hell are angry.
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>> holmes has been buying ammunition that supplied online. and are reportedly not speaking to police right now. his first court appearance scheduled for monday when is usually the case more will be revealed. kate? >> thank you. we have been all over this city all day long speaking with the families and friends of many of the victims some of their heart-breaking stories are beginning to come to light. miguel they are still recover ing trying to figure out how this could happen. kate it has been 24 hours since the shooter and tonight we still have no motive or reason for the bloodshed but we know more about the victims. >> beyond the crime tape a tribute for the victims. >> this violence has to stop. it has to stop. >> detectives say the man behind the violence is 24-year-old james holmes with high powered weapons opened fire in the crowded theater.
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>> we need gas masks for theater 9 we can't get in it. >> marcus weaver was among the dozen shot. today he learned his friend rebecca was killed. >> marcus can't shake the nightmare. >> you heard little kids screaming for their mom. you heard people trampling over each other. >> with 26 hospitalized tonight nine victims remain in critical condition. among them 25-year-old ashley moser alive but paralyzed her 6-year-old daughter was killed by her side. >> a vibrant six-year-old just learned how to swim. >> among the dead gordon cowling was the oldest. staff sergeant jesse childress was in the air force. mikala attended the local community college and alex tevis was a grad student at the
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university of colorado. aj boice was an aspiring journalist. >> she was a fiery red head. there were so many word to describe her and none were negative. >> alex sullivan was killed on his 27th birthday. tomorrow would have been his first wedding anniversary. >> this can't be real. jansing young spoke to savannah guthrie on today. about her boyfriend, john blunk who also served his country. >> he was a hero, he has been a hero forever. >> matt quinn died saving his girlfriend samantha. when gunshots rang out, he shielded her with his body. >> that are just really devoted to each other and very much in love. >> stories of personal loss pain shared by an entire community. >> tomorrow night there will be
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a memorial miles from here. the governor and the victims will be in attendance. there might have been more deaths here. if it weren't for a speedy response by police and emergency rooms. the university of colorado hospital treated the most patients on friday morning 23 in all. doctor sasson treated everyone of those patients the first call came in around 1:00 am and 15 minutes later she says it was chaos. >> it felt like a dream in a way. the police officers had put people in the backs of their cars. we met them with stretchers and started pulling people out of cars. >> over the next few hours 23 people pulled in. teenagers young adults most younger than the doctor herself. >> what kind of injuries? >> folks with gunshots to the head, the chest, the belly. some were crying and moaning and
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some weren't saying anything at all. >> they were in triage mode jamming six patients into a bay made more two. the least seriously wounded kept in the hallway. >> i have seen other things people dying on a daily basis. i think what is different about this is how many people. >> similar scenes were repeating at four other hospitals in the area. 20-year-old adon was taken to swedish medical center his wife was franticly looking for him. >> i had no idea if he was dead or i mean -- it was terrifying. >> stephen barton landed at the medical center of aurora. he was on a cross-country bike trip when he decided to catch a movie. >> the thought was he was going to call up the aisles and kill everyone. i thought this might be the end.
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>> this man said the gunman was 30 feet from him. >> i thought of the poor people that weren't so lucky and their families. >> it was only after her shift ended that doctor sasson started to process what happened. >> it starts hitting you how sick these people were and how tragic i think it is. >> how many lives you saved. yeah. and that is why we become doctors is to save lives. >> the accused shooter is due in court on monday. >> um-hum. >> anything you want to say to him? >> how does somebody do this? just don't understand. >> dr. sasson says it has helped to get messages from all over the world strangers thanking her for what she and her colleagues did. as has happened after other mass shootings, this has prompted
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lawmakers across the country are calling for stricter gun laws. authorities here say the weapons found at the scene of the shooting were purchased legally from gun stores in the last two months. plus nearly 7,000 rounds bought online. also legally. we get our report tonight from justice correspondent pete williams. >> aurora, colorado is aware of the devastation of a shooting ram page. in 1993 an employee of a family restaurant went on a shooting rampage. four people were shot who worked there. nathan dunlap was up so the over being fired. the shootings at columbine high school in 1999 prompted the state to change laws causing the gun show loop hole that allowed purchases at gun shows without a background check.
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but the purchases are commonly allowed nationwide with only a few exceptions. allowed handguns are legal to buy across the country and the shotgun is widely used by hunters. only the semiautomatic rifle is restricted. five states ban it's sale, four in the northeast, new york, new jersey, connecticut and massachusetts, california is the 5th. both the rifle and the 100 magazine found at the scene would have been illegal under the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. >> members of congress and legislators across this country should not be afraid of the nra or the gun manufacturers and should be standing up to say we are going to do something you still have a right to own a gun but we can help people. defenders of gun rights say this will not end mass shooters.
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>> putting restrictions on the law- abiding wouldn't have much impact in this case. >> officials say the weapons used in friday's shooting were purchased legally starting in may and ending in two weeks ago in gun stores in the denver area. >> as for tightening gun laws, even the rumor on possible restrictions caused a run on am ammunition weeks ago. a powerful reminder of why congress is unlikely to do anything. >> still ahead as we continue on this saturday. stepped up security at theaters across the country amid a lot of jittery nerves. will this tragedy change the way we go to the movies? and later the worst of times bringing out the best on this community.
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we're back now in aurora, colorado the theater behind me is closed indefinitely. and theaters coast-to-coast have stepped up security. despite that millions of americans did go to the movies unwilling to let this senseless act keep them home. we get more on that from nbc's ron allen. >> reporter: with heavy security across the country. moviegoers are thinking about colorado while going to see the "batman: the dark knight rises."
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>> i don't think it should scare people off from going to the movies. >> the film makers aren't boasting about what is going on this weekend. warner brothers and five other big studios are staying quiet for now. >> when a tragedy like this happens, that trumps everything and they have to say we don't want to sit there and be cold and calculated. >> numbers crucial to promoting films like "the dark knight". that can promote box offices. it was expected to be the biggest weekend ticket sales ever. >> so it is crucial for the industry to get it right in terms of being sensitive to what has happened. >> warner brothers has pulled trailers for "gangster squad". and a scene of mobsters firing into a crowded theater.
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the studios won't say it, but some industry watchers think all of this may increase the film's numbers with more curious to see and understand the backdrop for such an unprecedented national tragedy. meanwhile they arrive some to see a movie and others to make a point. >> this is our way of pushing through the tragedy. >> reporter: ron allen nbc news, hollywood. >> we are back in a moment with some of the day's other news.
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we're back now from aurora, colorado and we want to check in on some of the other day's news. it may be hard to think about this right now but tonight a world away from this tragedy, they are gearing up for the summer olympics with opening ceremony just day as way. good evening. >> reporter: good evening kate. well you know the british people aren't known for being easily excitable. but with six days to go there are signs that london is catching the fever. with the flare for the dramatic the british royal marines choppered into london. >> it will spread the bushfire of olympic enthusiasm throughout the city.
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>> and for many it s as the flame finishes an 8,000 mile journey athletes pour into the country. and olympic organizers put final touches on the $14 billion final project. first rehearsals for the opening ceremony, and costumed extras rome the olympic park. london 2012 is still under budget. but there have been last-minute problems. a lack of security guards forced the british military to supply an additional 3500 troops. many say they aren't worried about security. >> the concern is more because of the appearances. in reality the plan is not compromised it is just the people carrying out the plan. >> the transportation system is another certain it has yet to really be tested. >> it is the oldest system in the world.
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the city is pouring money into it because it is far from perfect. with the slightest disruption it can turn into chaos. anyone searching for a good omen only had to look up today. the rain is gone, the sun is shining and the forecast is great. >> on a day like today how do you feel about the news? >> i feel elated. i can tell people it is going to be fine weather coming at last. >> the olympic games, just like the sun ready to prove they are worth the wait. >> for britain's attempted to complain, the mayor has a message for them, in his words, put a sock in it, we are about to stage the greatest show on earth. the mayor here certainly has a way with words. >> when we come back from colorado, one thing we have heard a lot. pay attention to the victims not the shooter and use this tragedy to build a better place.
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finally tonight, further proof that the worst of times brings out the best in people. about a block away from us tonight there is a pile of flowers and cards a makeshift memorial. one small sign of the outpouring of the support for the people of colorado. ♪ and nothing can keep us apart ♪
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♪ remember your father >> today the focus wasn't on a single deranged gunman. it was on the 12 who were lost and the hundreds that are coming together to honor them. players painted the date of the tragedy and held back tears. ♪ i once was lost but now i'm found ♪ >> there are glimmers of hope and comfort in each other's company. >> we want to make sure the victims are brought back and supporters in every way that we can. >> governor john higginlooper $150,000 hat poured into a victim's fund in just hours. >> we can't accept or explain at this point but we are not going to let it happen to us.
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>> a lot has happened here it is a state that lived through the massacre in 1999 at columbine and just last month, the devastating wildfires, too much for anyone to bear. but jessica was going to help. she tweeted and tried to raise money and never got a chance. and now her family has a new mission. >> her legacy will be something along the lines of helping others. >> chris bower didn't know any of the victims personally. but was moved to visit his local blood bank to make a donation. >> i wasn't there but i can do something now. >> acts of kindness, determined to get through it together. >> reporter: kristen dalgren, nbc news, colorado. >> and that is "nbc nightly news" for this saturday night.
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i'm kate know for lester holt and all of us here at nbc nightly news, thank you for watching, good night. ♪ machine . good evening. we begin with developing news in oakland where police say a 5-year-old girl is in the hospital after she was shot this afternoon. oakland police say the shooting happened on 50th avenue near
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bancroft. the victim, the little girl, is listed in guarded but stable condition. no arrests have been made and police have not made available a suspect description. we have a crew on that story and we'll bring you more information as we get it. turning now to the tragedy in colorado. as police and federal agents continue their investigation in aurora today, we're beginning to learn more about some of the victims from the killing spree. one of the worst mass shootings in u.s. history. jay gray has been following the story in colorado and has the latest. >> reporter: the investigation is clearly centered on james holmes' apartment. >> this apartment was designed, i say, based on everything i've seen, to kill whoever entered it. >> reporter: that could have been neighbor caitlin


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