Friday, July 20, 2012

Update on apparent Colorado Mass Shooting Suspect

So this guy appears to have been a successful med student until recently, and a law abiding citizen, (contrary to the misinformation of a commenter who didn't pass moderation - probably some misinformation from one of the right wing media propaganda sources).

Somewhere along the way he also became a gun nut, and part of the violent gun culture failure in the U.S., part of the gun culture stain.

From CBS News:

Colorado Movie Theater Massacre
Updated at 11:32 a.m. ET

(CBS/AP) The suspect apprehended in the mass shooting at a suburban Denver movie theater has been identified as James Eagan Holmes, 24, law enforcement sources told CBS News correspondent Bob Orr.

Twelve people died in the shooting at a showing of the new Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo., early Friday morning. A law enforcement source told Orr the shooting appears to have been carried out by a lone gunman.

One federal official told CBS News that at this time Holmes appears to have been "under the radar." CBS News reports Holmes doesn't appear to have a criminal record in Colorado or in California's San Diego County, where he lived previously. Pentagon officials said there is no record of Holmes having served in any branch of the military.

According to the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, Holmes dropped out of medical school last month, The Associated Press reported. School spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said she did not know when Holmes started school or why he withdrew.

There was no immediate word of any motive. Federal law enforcement officials were briefed on the attack, but at this point there is no indication it is terrorism-related, CBS News senior correspondent John Miller reports.

Police evacuated the area surrounding Holmes' Denver-area apartment, saying the residence was apparently booby-trapped. A law enforcement source told Orr that police saw what looked like "buckets of extra ammunition" and some kind of chemical inside his home.

Aurora Police chief Dan Oates said it could take hours or days to safely enter the apartment.

Police recovered four guns at the theater, including two pistols, a shotgun and what is believed to be an assault rifle, Orr reports. Authorities also recovered a ballistic helmet and a gas mask.

A law enforcement source told CBS News investigative producer Pat Milton that the attack appears to have been planned well in advance. Holmes parked his vehicle at the rear of the Century 16 theaters at the Aurora Mall and entered the theater through an emergency door in the back. He exited through the same door and was apprehended without incident.
The violent and chaotic scene erupted about 12:30 a.m. local time as the gunman stood at the front of the theater. Witnesses reported that the gunman entered the theater through an emergency exit door and threw a gas canister before opening fire.

"Witnesses tell us he released some sort of canister. They heard a hissing sound and some gas emerged and the gunman opened fire," Oates told reporters at a news conference.

Police, ambulances and emergency crews swarmed on the scene after frantic calls started flooding the 911 switchboard, officials said.

Officers found Holmes near a car behind the theater.

It was the worst mass shooting in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999. Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at the school in the Denver suburb of Littleton, about 15 miles west of Aurora, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school's library.

The shooting occurred in Theater 9, which has a capacity of around 300 people, according to CBS station KCNC-TV in Denver. The youngest reported victim is a 3-month-old, who is said to be doing fine at University Hospital, which is treating 20 patients, including nine in critical condition. Another victim is a six-year-old being treated at Children's Hospital, where a total of six victims were taken. Their condition wasn't known. Victims were rushed to six area hospitals overall.

Aurora police spokesman Frank Fania on ABC's "Good Morning America" said he didn't know yet if all the injuries were gunshot wounds. He said some might have been caused by other things such as shrapnel.

Police had earlier reported 14 deaths but later said that only 12 fatalities were confirmed.

An amateur video posted to YouTube showed people walking around outside the theater, apparently in the moments after the incident. One man was seen wearing a shirt that appeared to be bloodstained. He was being led by a police officer. Some people could be heard shouting.

William Kent, who was in an adjacent theater, said bullets came through the wall but, with the action on screen, people didn't realize what was happening.

"And they started the fire alarm or the emergency alarm, said that there had been something that happened in the building and evacuated everybody. There was a huge commotion to get out of the theater. When I exited, there were police officers with assault rifles running in," Kent told CBS News.
Benjamin Fernandez, who was also in an adjacent theater, said he saw a young girl, around 12 or 13 years old, laying on the concrete when he exited the building.

"From what I saw, she had two bullet wounds in her leg and just blood all over her stomach. Her friends were all just yelling, crying. ... We were just all pretty much in shock," he said on "CBS This Morning."
Witness Hayden Miller told KUSA-TV that he was inside Theater 16 and heard several shots.

"Like little explosions going on and shortly after that we heard people screaming," he told the station.

Hayden said at first he thought it was part of a louder movie next door. But then he saw "people hunched over leaving theater."

Paul Otermat, who told Sky News he was in the theater when the incident occurred, said he "thought it was a publicity stunt," when he saw a man in a long coat walk in and hurl what he believed was a tear gas canister at the crowd.

"Then he started firing shots into the crowd," Otermat said. He said he and his girlfriend ducked to the floor and crept out as gunfire continued. "My girlfriend saw a canister on the ground that was still foaming ... We ran through the lobby and we heard more shots, and we ran out into the parking lot and got into our car and left."

The police said 10 victims died at the theater and two at area hospitals.

Two people in critical condition were rushed to nearby Swedish Medical Center, spokeswoman Nicole Williams said.

She said emergency crews told her staff to prepare for several more patients from the shooting scene.

"We're on standby to receive," she said.

Aurora is located on the southeast outskirts of Denver, about 10 miles from downtown.

President Obama said in a statement that he and first lady Michelle Obama were "shocked and saddened" by the "horrific and tragic" shooting. Mr. Obama said his administration would do everything they can to support the people of Aurora.

"As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors," Mr. Obama said.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in a statement that he and his wife, Ann, were "deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence" that led to the loss of life and injuries. He said they were praying for the families and loved ones of the victims "during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice."


  1. Short of an outright ban on guns - which we know you are not in support of - what laws would have prevented this shooting?

  2. No sales of AK47s, which the shooter was reported to have used for starters.

    Mandatory background checks and registration of weapons on all sales, and testing for use of drugs and possibly mental health testing as well.

    Since the UK has had so very very few of these occurrences, and as that tends to be true in most places with relatively strict gun controls, we should follow the examples of what works. Australia hasn't had one of these incidents since the Port Arthur mass shooting back in 1996. The gun laws there and in the UK clearly work to prevent these occurrences.

  3. Jim, Jim, Jim, if only you had a brain.

    Heller-McDonald has said that background checks and registration do not offend the Second Amendment as they reinterpreted it.

    Historically, the Second Amendment was intended to address the issue of a federal standing army in relation to the State's Militias.

    There is far more evidence that this was the case than that it had anything to do with private arms for private purposes.

  4. If the dude was not a criminal and was recently in med school is it not likely that he could have passed a background check, drug screening, and pysch profile to legally purchase the weapons? In fact, it is possible that he did already pass a background check to buy the weapons from a dealer. Even if he was forced to register them, that would not stop him from legally buying them? I can see limiting his purchase of the Assault Weapon - (haven't seen anywhere where they said it was an AK-47) would have had some effect on the shooting, but he also had two pistols and a shotgun. What would have prevented him from purchasing those?

    1. Jim, the legislation passed in Australia has been effective in preventing this kind of problem. I suggest that a ban on assault style weapons is a first step but not enough.

      When you have fewer firearms and you have far far fewer shootings occurring the gun culture which supported that conduct also begins to change. Clearly the longer a country goes without one of these tragedies, the less and less likely they become - as in the case of the UK going from 1996 to 2010 without a single incident like this.

      Another report says he was a neuroscience grad student rather than a med student; more information will come out.

      Making these weapons prohibitively expensive would have prevented this from happening; we also need to find out if the firearms he used were obtained legally or not - we don't know at this point. But clearly SOME of what he had was not legal, including the explosives with which he has boobytrapped his apartment. He may have obtained the weapons, tear gas, body armor, gas mask etc. from the same sources.

      We have to choose - guns, or safety from the events like this, the killings of children, the murder suicides, the single killing suicides, the domestic abuse, the risks of terrorism, preventing the exporting of weaposn to drug cartels ad infinitum.

      Clearly what works are fewer guns in the hands of fewer people. I'd love to see mental health testing and some physical health testing as well such as drug testing become a prerequisite for gun ownership, renewed and repeated regularly.

  5. Lots of misinformation about this... when I woke up this morning the news was reporting that the guy's car had Tennessee plates. I thought, "oh no, not one of our nutwagons ..." Turns out that was incorrect.

    My guess would be this was someone with some deep mental illness .... one news outfit (ABC?) had contacted his mother in San Diego and she appeared to have expected something like this. And can I just say, if any of that is true, what a HORRIBLE thing to wake up to: someone in the national news media calling you up to comment on your son who just inflicted a blood bath on innocent people?

    Maybe we could start by funding mental health clinics all around the country. I know that won't solve everything but we've got to start somewhere.

    And then dammit, I want crazy people to stop having access to guns. If that means a couple non-crazy people can't access them too, TOUGH NOOGIES. So sorry. Why is collateral damage always okay when it comes to things like warrantless wiretaps, people trying to vote, etc.? You know, it's easy to buy a damn gun in this country than it is to vote. That's messed up. Because one fraudulent vote can't do nearly as much damage as James Holmes did last night.

    1. Great point.

      Gunloons are so worried that maybe somebody, somewhere won't be able to buy an AK-47 that they're willing to allow any crazy or criminal to get them.

      Look, maybe more regulation wouldn't have stopped this tragedy. Nobody knows. But what is certain is that doing nothing allowed this to occur.

    2. We have lots of shootings. We don't have lots of vote fraud; in fact we have so very little voter fraud as to be statistically insignificant.

      We have more damage done by denying legal voters the right to vote through voter suppression and disenfranchisement laws. We do more harm by preventing legal voters from voting, and making it difficult and costly for new voters to register to vote. It is a shame, it is a horrible stain on our nation and our way of government.