tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS July 20, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
>> they're saying somebody's shooting in the auditorium. there's hundreds of people just running around. >> he kept shooting at anybody and everybody. >> pelley: tonight, the biggest mass shooting in u.s. history. >> there were children that he was shooting. there were moms that he was shooting. >> pelley: a gunman opens fire at a crowded colorado movie theater. >> he was wearing a ballistics helmet, a tactical ballistic vest. >> pelley: more than 70 people were shot, leaving a nation in shock. >> we have to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation. >> pelley: police search the suspect's booby trapped apartment for evidence of a crime beyond comprehension. >> i don't ever want to see something like that again. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley.
>> pelley: good evening, the theater behind me was packed early this morning with people who had come to experience a big fantasy. but it was soon interrupted by a real-life plot so diabolical few could have imagined it. just a short time ago, authorities began removing the bodies of those killed in the massacre as the investigation continues. people have been coming here all day waiting for word of their loved ones. some of these images were captured by the "denver post". here's what we know: 71 people were shot at the midnight premier of the new batman movie. at least 12 are dead. many of the wounded are in critical condition this evening. 24-year-old james eagan holmes is under arrest. the police say that he booby trapped his apartment before heading to the theater to carry out the attack.
we have a team of correspondents covering this rapidly developing story, including the biggest mystery of all, the motive. first we'll turn to barry petersen. >> reporter: for theater goer this is started as a very special night for the many fans of batman movies. the suspect bought a ticket for the 12:05 a.m. special premier. law enforcement sources tell us holmes dyed his hair like batman's foe the joker. >> i was in the second row. >> reporter: shortly after the movie began, corbin date saw someone get up and leave through an emergency exit. >> i noticed a guy who was sitting to the far right went out to the emergency exit, which is unusual. >> reporter: parked outside the door was holmes' car. inside, an arsenal. he put in a helmet, bullet-proof vest, leg protection and armed himself. >> an a.r.-15 assault rifle, a remington 870 shotgun, 12 gauge
shotgun, and a .40 caliber glock handgun. >> reporter: aurora police chief dan oates. >> i imagine i will be asked how many rounds were fired. my answer is we have no capability now of calculating that number. there were many, many rounds fired. >> reporter: at roughly 12:30, the suspect reentered theater nine through the emergency exit door to the right of the movie screen. he lobbed one or two canisters that exploded in the audience and emitted smoke or gas. >> the door swings wide open, the emergency exit door, somebody walks in dressed all in black. helmet, gas mask, you cannot see anything. >> reporter: many in the theater were confused. they thought the smoke and shooting was part of the movie. >> the thing that flew across the room, like, it exploded and made a real loud boom. >> reporter: julia and her friend aaron say the suspect said nothing as he randomly fired shots into the crowd. how would you describe his attitude as he was doing >> it he was, like, calm. like if he just went in and
opened fire... exactly, like he knew what he was doing, like he preplanned it. >> reporter: jennifer seeger was near the gunman. >> he points the gun right at my face. he was three feet away from me with a gun in my face. at that point i was in a panic. >> 315 and 314, a shooting at century theaters. >> reporter: at 12:49, 911 was flooded with calls. >> they say someone is shooting in the auditorium. >> reporter: as hundreds of people flee for their lives. >> they're saying there's hundreds of people just running around. >> reporter: one of the shoots went through the wall into the next theater, wounding at least one person. >> get us some damn gas masks for theater nine, we can't get in. >> reporter: the first police arrive within 90 seconds. >> i've got people running out of the theater shot. >> reporter: there were so many wounded that police loaded some into squad cars and rushed them to one of six different hospitals. >> it was scary. a young girl just with bullet wounds in her leg and blood all
over. i don't ever want to see something like that again. >> reporter: james rohrs escaped with his children, including a three-month-old, as he saw others fall. >> when she got shot, when she got shot, it was just god washing over us. >> i need someone behind the theaters. there's a suspect in the gas mask. >> reporter: police spotted holmes behind the theater sitting in his white hyundai, he surrendered without a fight. >> hold that position, hold your suspect. >> reporter: people who lived through this know more about what happened but, scott, because the shooter never said anything they have no idea why. >> pelley: barry, thank you. the police are telling us at this hour that holmes had more to his plot than the attack on the theater. his apartment building about four miles from here has been evacuated. john miller is in new york talking to his sources and he has that part of the story. john? >> reporter: well, scott, according to police sources, the same suspect who would not tell police what the motive was for
the shooting did tell them if they went to his apartment they might find explosives. he didn't mention it was a trap. after arresting james holmes, police went to his residence but they moved cautiously and that may have saved lives. standing on top of an armored vehicle, a swat team member held a camera at the end of the a pole. he saw a sophisticated booby trap set to kill anyone coming through the front door. >> they appeared to be incendiary devices. there's some chemical elements there linked together with all kinds of wires. >> reporter: investigators now believe holmes used a timer to set off loud tech no music at the apartment just before midnight. it was meant to spur a noise complaint to police-- a ruse that would have drawn police to the apartment building, detonating a firebomb and then pulling all available police and rescue units to the other side of town before the shooting at the theater started. that would have allowed him more time to kill more people and
left a much smaller police response to the theater shootings. former f.b.i. profiler mary ellen o'toole. >> this is someone who was engaged in very predatory thought-provoking very well-planned-out behavior. >> reporter: all that planning, all that thinking about how to kill and all those questions and police say the suspect isn't talking. >> based on his behavior and based on the planning that went into it he very likely is sitting back enjoying the impact of the crime and that really is pretty unnerving when you think about that. >> reporter: police, arapaho county, and f.b.i. bomb technicians are still trying to figure out how to safely disarm that device. it's a large firebomb, but so far they're stymied. they are talking about the possibility of setting it off on purpose and having the fire department-- which is standing by-- extinguish the blaze. only after that can they go into
the apartment and search for evidence. >> pelley: john, thanks very much. in washington, justice correspondent bob orr has been talking to his sources to learn more about the gunman and his weapons. bob, the police are telling us that they think holmes acted alone. >> yes, scott. law enforcement sources tell us suspect james holmes seemed to be a classic lone wolf, an accused mass killer with no apparent accomplices or known connections to radical groups. in fact, prior to his arrest outside the theater overnight, holmes' only brush with colorado police involved a single speeding ticket. james holmes was completely under the radar, yet sources say over the past few months he assembled a deadly arsenal: multiple guns, body armor, bottles of chemicals and homemade explosive devices. sources say four weapons found at the crime scene were all legally purchased between may 22 and july 6 at three colorado gun
stores. a bass proshop in denver and shops in aurora and thornton. three of the guns police say were used in the deadly spree. a .40 caliber glock pistol and a smith & wesson semiautomatic assault rifle both of which can be fitted with extended clips. a 12 gauge remington shotgun was also used. the fourth gun, another .40 caliber glock, was recovered in holmes' car. evidence teams are still processing the crime scene but with 71 victims hit by gunfire law enforcement officials suspect the gunman fired at least 100 rounds, maybe more. police say holmes meticulously planned the assault. he apparently surveil it had theater and pre-staged his car and weapons near an access door. outside that door today, police recovered some of the body armor which the gunman wore during the assault. holmes has no criminal record and police say so far they've establish nod motive for the shootings. a search of social networking
sites has turned up no significant clues. now, sources tell us at first holmes was cooperative with police, but since then he's clammed up and has gotten a lawyer. so far he's offered no explanation whatsoever, scott, for the shooting. >> pelley: bob, thanks. james eagan homes has roots in southern california so we sent bill whit dore san diego to find out more about him. >> reporter: 24-year-old james holmes left different impressions on people he encountered in life. at the university of california, river side, where he graduated with honors in neuroscience in 2010 he's remembered as brilliant. tim white is university chancellor. >> he was an honors student. so academically he was at the top of the top. he really distinguished himself from an academic point of view during his four years with us. >> reporter: back in the northern suburbs of san diego, friends came and went from his family home all day. his father, surrounded by police left for denver early this
morning. julie adams lives around the corner. her son played soccer with james. >> people come here because of the school district, so it's very... lots of kids. lots and lots of kids because of that and obviously parents want to give them the best and that's why they live here. >> reporter: in high school he won a rigorous science boot camp and an internship in neurobiology at the press times you salk institute. tom mai and his family lived next door to the holmes' for a decade. >> seemed to be a very nice young typical american boy. >> i'm actually kind of shock that it happened. he didn't seem like that type of person and, no, he didn't seem like he'd have the guts to actually do something like that. >> reporter: but 16-year-old anthony mai says he was shy to the point of being a loaner. >> as much as he was always smiling when i was around, just the fact that he was quiet and... something just looked kind of weird. it was just a feeling in my gut that i had that something was going on but i wasn't sure.
>> reporter: neighbors say holmes seemed frustrated when he returned home with his degree in neurobiology and the only job he could get was at mcdonald's. the smart loner applied and was admitted to the graduate school at the university of colorado and, scott, he dropped out in june. >> pelley: bill, thank you. the university of colorado hospital here received about a third of the victims in a rush of ambulances, police cars, and private vehicles. earlier today, i spoke with dr. comilla sasson who helped lead the team in the emergency room. >> at 1:00 we were alerted that there had been a shooting that had occurred close to the hospital and so right away we'd heard there would be multiple gunshot victims and we put our disaster plan into place. then at 1:15-- so just 15 minutes later-- patients started pouring in through the doors. >> pelley: what did it look like? sound like? feel like in that moment?
>> you know, i've never been in war but i know that some of the folks who were on the scene actually had said they had done tours in iraq and that it felt similar to that in that same setting, just having bodies everywhere, blood, patients who were screaming. it was, again, something i think i'll probably relive almost everyday of my life as well as my colleagues. but, you know, i think at the end of the day it was just... you have to sort of drown out that noise and just really think about taking care of the patients and what does this patient need right now to make sure that we can keep him or her alive to make sure that they get to the operating room and can see their families. >> pelley: could you tell anything by the wounds themselves? what it had to these people? >> there were some shrapnel injuries and a few gunshot wounds, anywhere from the head, chest, abdomen, pelvis. like i said, i've seen a lot of gunshot wounds before and just the number of people and how sick they were, i think, really just is horrific.
>> pelley: how do you process that? how do you come to grips with that? >> at the end of the day... right now all we've done is take care of patients and that's my job. that's what i'm trained for years and years to do is to take care of patients. i think it's just finally starting to hit me, the gravity of what just happened and the... just the horrible, horrible injuries. again, my heart goes out to all the victims and their families. >> pelley: the youngest victim she saw last night was three months old but that baby was treated and released. it's an irony in this case that the alleged killer, james holmes was a student on the same university of colorado medical campus where his victims were treated. the police evacuated two large classroom buildings earlier today on the campus to search for possible explosives but none were found. the shooting here as led to
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have happened anywhere, and with the new batman movie playing on 4,400 screens nationwide, tonight anthony mason tells us security has been beefed up in this country and beyond. >> reporter: in paris, where "the dark knight rises" was due to open today, the premier was postponed. warner brothers and the filmmakers said they were deeply saddened by the shooting in colorado. but t gunman didn't choose just any movie. the late-night batman screening was a national event. how big have midnight premiers become? >> huge. >> reporter: erin carlson of the hollywood reporter says the batman film took in more than $30 million. >> movies are where you go to escape your life. you don't expect something like this to happen. and when it does, you think twice about your own safety. >> it's depressing because now it's just another place being ticked off that you can't be safe going to.
schools, movie theaters, it's wherever now. >> i was thinking should i bring a bat? i was obviously not very serious but it freaked me out. >> reporter: a.m.c., the nation's second-largest theater chain, said today it was banning all masks and threatening costumes. in major cities like los angeles and new york police increased patrols at theaters. new york put two officers at most batman screenings. chief ray kelly. >> we're doing that to address the potential of a copycat event and to reassure moviegoers, particularly parents. >> reporter: in theaters, the violence used to be all up on the screen. the horror that happened in colorado was only supposed to happen in the movies. anthony mason, cbs news, new york. >> pelley: president obama and mitt romney reflect on the tragedy here in aurora when we come back.
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next at 7:00 much more on the tragic theater shooting including the latest from colorado and a psychologist weighs in on the toll of random violence. >> pelley: it's still early in the investigation of this shooting. we still don't know the names of most of those who were killed john blackstone tells us about one of the victims. at 24 years old, her life was really only just beginning. >> reporter: she was known as jessica redfield, an aspiring broadcaster. sports writer adrian dater met her in the press box at a hockey game. >> she was funny, vivacious, very, very funny. very intelligent. i mean, you knew something was there, you know? you knew there was a spark in her that she was going to be something someday. >> reporter: she had some dreams? >> she had a lot of dreams. she was going to do fine.
that's what just hurts so much. we never got to see that. >> reporter: just a month ago, she narrowly escaped being killed in another mass shooting at a shopping mall in toronto, canada. right after the shock she wrote this in her blog. born jessica ghawi from texas, her brother jordan wants people to remember that name. >> i don't want that gunman's name spoken. i want that to be the name to be remembered is jessica ghawi or another victim's name and remember what their lives meant. >> reporter: she wrote a blog about hockey in denver and interned at a radio station. she got a lot of attention on youtube when an interview on the ice went wrong. jessica was always sending text messages and on twitter last
night she joked about dragging friends to a midnight show and lamented about waiting 20 minutes more for the show to start. it was the last 20 minutes of her life. her boyfriend remembered her on twitter like this. 140 characters could never do you justice, nor could all the words in the world. never wanted to fall asleep because it meant missing time with you. john blackstone, aurora, colorado. >> pelley: that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. we will be back with the very latest on the shooting on a special cbs news program tonight at 8:00, 7:00 central time. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, i'm scott pelley in aurora, colorado. i'll see you soon.
crass -- this is 9 news now. >> we've got seven down in theater 9, seven down! >> that is the frantic sound of police trying to rescue pool trapped inside a colorado movie -- people trapped inside a colorado movie theater after a gunman opened fire. new details of the gunman accused of killing at least 17 pool and injuring dozens more. theresa gilbert arenas -- people and injuring dozens more. theresa garcia is live outside the theater. >> reporter: investigators at this point have started removing some of the bodies from the theater you see behind me and in the meantime the dark knight rises is one of the most anticipated films of the summer. it was showing on four screens at this multiplex here in aurora when this massacre started. in fact, some of the patrons
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