Entries in Aurora shootings (7)


Aurora Theater Shooting Survivors Tie the Knot a Year Later

Comstock/Thinkstock(AURORA, Colo.) -- A young couple who survived the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting turned their worst night into their best day this weekend.

Eugene Han and Kirstin Davis tied the knot Saturday, exactly one year after the Colorado massacre that left a dozen people dead and more than 70 injured.

The couple got married at Village East Baptist Church in Aurora, where they were joined by other friends who also survived the shooting.

In an interview before the wedding, the couple said that the love and support of many along with their strong faith has helped them overcome a tragedy.

"Our faith is definitely a big part of this story," Han said. "Jesus saved me once because I accepted him, but then he saved me physically in the theater."

The Night of the Shooting

A year ago, Han, 21, and Davis, 22, didn't know if they would make it through the night.

The childhood friends who met in church in the fourth grade started dating three years ago. On the night of the shooting, the couple and three friends decided to go to the midnight showing of the new Batman movie.

Han was tired from a 12-hour day at his job at a medical supply company, but said he thought it would be fun to take Davis to her first midnight screening.

When they got to the theater, it was packed. The only place they could find five seats together was in the second row, close to the emergency exit that accused shooter James Holmes would soon enter through.

Han was so tired that he dozed off during the previews.

"When the movie started, I kind of woke up, but I woke up not to the movie, but more like something felt wrong to me but nothing was happening yet," Han told "I wasn't really sure what it was and kind of blew it off."

Soon after, he saw someone walk in through the exit door near them. The figure was only about 10 feet away in the dark theater.

"I've never seen anyone walk in an exit door," he said. "The next thing that worried me the most was seeing the gun strapped to his shoulder. The screen actually showed the outline of the gun."

Within moments, Han saw the person throw something into the crowd. He would later find out that it was a gas canister.

"I didn't even know what was going on at the moment. I thought it was a prank," Davis told "The next thing I know, I see red things coming out of the corner."

The "red things" were the little bursts of flame created by gunfire. Han threw himself to the ground and grabbed Davis.

"Next thing I know he's pulling me out of my seat and telling me, 'Don't move. Just stay still. Whatever you do, don't move," she said.

Han said he pushed Davis under the chairs and put himself between her and the shooter, who was spraying bullets into the crowd. Han got shot in the hip. His reflex was to lift his leg and then he got shot in the knee. He "saw pieces of flesh fly."

"The hip hurt more. The knee was more a through-and-through," he said. "I was kind of freaking out."
Then the shooting stopped and Han saw an opportunity, albeit a risky one.

"His gun jammed and I heard a clicking noise so I told her, 'If we leave, we need to leave right now,'" Han recalled.

The group of friends got up, with Davis supporting an injured Han. They decided to make a break for the emergency exit from where the gunman had entered.

"I just remember having my back towards the screen and looking up and down the hallway just a little bit," Davis remembered, right before locking eyes with the shooter. "He was looking up and he was looking at me."

She said the shooter had a mask on and his gun pointed down as he tried to un-jam it. Han saw Davis looking towards the gunman.

"He saw Holmes drop the gun he was working on and pull out another gun that he had on him," Davis said. "That's when God gave him strength to push us into the cubby hole."

The "cubby hole" was a small entryway between the theater and the exit. The group fell to the floor as the shooting began again. They made it out of the theater and ran as far and fast as they could, with adrenaline fueling the wounded Han.

He was treated in the hospital and has undergone physical therapy over the past year. Now, he's running again. Davis recovered from her minor injuries.

Nine months after the shooting, Han said he realized it was time to take the couple's relationship to the next level.

"We were still dating and I was planning on proposing even before [the shooting] but I never had the chance to," he said. "When the theater shooting happened, that's when I was like, I really need to do this because you don't know what's going to happen after tomorrow."

He proposed on April 9 while the couple was visiting South Padre Island in Texas. She said yes and he asked how she felt about getting married on the one-year anniversary of the shooting. Davis told him she had to think about it.

"I was kind of uncomfortable about the idea because I didn't think it was OK to take a bad day and turn it into a good day, so I had to really think about it," she said.

She thought about it and came to a conclusion about a half hour later.

"I think it would be a good date to have our wedding," she recalled saying. "That way we can make good memories and start a new chapter of our lives rather than allowing this memory from a year ago to stick with us every single year."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Judge Orders Daily Lawyer Visits for Aurora Shooter

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(NEW YORK) -- A Colorado district court judge has given a handwritten order for James Holmes’ attorneys to be able to see him at least once a day “so long as he is being held at the Arapahoe County Jail.”

In a motion filed Thursday, public defenders Dan King and Tamara Brady said that they were denied access to Holmes by the undersheriff after Holmes returned to jail from a trip to the hospital.  They said that they were “extremely concerned about the well-being of their client.”

Holmes underwent medical care, law enforcement sources said, because he rammed his head against his cell wall and on the floor on several occasions in “an attempt to harm himself.”

A hearing that was supposed to happen Thursday was postponed because Holmes was not in a condition to appear.

Denver defense attorney Larry Pozner said the fact that a client has been denied access to his attorneys is “extraordinary.”

“We’re 200 years past the point when you can keep defense lawyers from seeing their clients,” Pozner said. “It’s inappropriate, it’s uncalled for and it’s out of line.”

The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department would not comment as to why it wouldn’t allow Holmes’ attorneys to see him Thursday.

“I can’t talk to you about specific inmates or security issues,” said Undersheriff Dave Walcher.

Holmes’ attorneys have asked the judge to fine Walcher for his actions.

Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and injuring at least 58 in a theater showing of “The Dark Knight”  this summer.  The postponed hearing is set for Dec. 10 in Arapahoe County Court.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Colorado Shooting: Aurora Movie Theater Could Re-Open by New Year

Thomas Cooper/Getty Images(AURORA, Colo.) -- The site of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history could re-open as soon as the New Year.

The Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., has been shut down since July 20, when a gunman opened fire during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 people and leaving 58 wounded.  

In August, the City of Aurora launched an online survey asking what should be done about the theater.  The majority of people who responded said they supported re-opening the theater.  Those results were passed along to Cinemark, the owner of the theater, with a letter from Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan.

“We believe that we are hearing, and indeed have heard for some time, a collective wish and desire for the theater to re-open,” Hogan said.  He added that he had consulted with victims, victims' advocates and community members about the decision.

Hogan asked for special provisions, including victim and survivor visitation, memorials and a possible change to the exterior appearance of the building to be considered.

Tim Warner, CEO of Cinemark, responded, saying the company would work with the city to determine the best way to re-open the theater.

“We pledge to reconfigure the space and make the theater better than ever,” he said.  “We hope the theater will be ready by the beginning of the New Year.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Meets with Teen Wounded in Colorado Movie Theater Shooting

Joshua Lott/Getty Images(GOLDEN, Colo.) -- A 16-year-old boy severely wounded by a bullet that tore through his brain during the July 20 Aurora, Colo., theater massacre was well enough on Thursday to meet with President Obama.

Yousef Gharbi and his mother Amee met backstage with the president for a few minutes just before a campaign rally in Golden, Colo., Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

The president, Psaki said, was “in awe” of how Yousef is recovering.

“He’s up walking and talking and doing extremely well,” said Psaki, who spoke to reporters on board Air Force One as the president made his way from Colorado back to Washington, D.C.

On July 22, Yousef was in a hospital intensive care unit suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.  It was the same day Obama came to Colorado to meet with victims, families and first responders.

During that July visit, Psaki said Obama met Yousef’s mother Amee, telling her, “I hope when he’s recovered you’ll come back and see me when I’m back in town.”

On Thursday, Yousef and his mother did exactly that, apparently getting tickets to the campaign rally on their own, without any “special treatment” from the campaign, Psaki said.  The pair was recognized, she said, by campaign staff who helped arrange the short meeting with the president.

The Aurora theater shooting took place during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.  Twelve people were killed, and 58 were wounded.  Accused gunman James Holmes is in custody, facing multiple charges of murder and attempted murder.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


James Holmes Predicted to Be a 'Leader in the Future'

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(NEW YORK) -- Newly obtained records from the University of Alabama at Birmingham show that though suspected mass murderer James Holmes was declined admission to the school, one university staffer predicted Holmes would be "a leader in the future."

The documents further reveal a perplexing disconnect between a student who appeared to have remarkable academic ability, and the 24-year-old accused of the most extensive mass shooting in U.S. history.

Holmes is charged with opening fire July 20 inside an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, murdering 12 people and injuring 58 others attending a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.  He has not entered a plea.

Records obtained Wednesday by ABC News from the University of Alabama showed that a letter to Holmes dated March 21, 2011, said, "We regret to inform you that you have not been recommended for admission."

One unidentified university staffer who met with Holmes for an interview wrote that he was an, "excellent applicant!  Great GPA and GRE scores."

Others were not as impressed.

"He may be extremely smart, but difficult to engage," wrote one.

Another noted: "His personality may not be as engaging as some applicants, but he is going to be a leader in the future."

College transcripts obtained Wednesday by ABC News showed that while attending the University of California Riverside, Holmes earned almost all "A" grades, graduating with "high honors" in June 2010.

In subjects including biology, chemistry, economics and Spanish, Holmes received "A+" grades that helped him earn a 3.94 GPA.

In one philosophy class taken in the winter of 2010, "Ethics and the Meaning of Life", Holmes got an "A."

According to at least one former associate, however, Holmes' apparent book smarts did not translate to real-world ability.

"He was not an exceptional mind," said John Jacobsen, a former researcher at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., where Holmes was an intern in 2006.

Jacobsen recalled giving Holmes an experiment to be conducted on a computer.  According to Jacobsen, Holmes failed.

"He was a second-rate student.  Not very good at all," Jacobsen told ABC News.

A phone call to Holmes' attorneys -- who are under a strict court-imposed gag order preventing them from talking about the case -- was not returned to ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iowa Graduate School Rejected James Holmes in No Uncertain Terms

RJ Sangosti-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- There was something that the University of Iowa saw in James Holmes that made educators very wary of accepting the accused Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooter into their neuroscience doctoral program in January 2011.

Whatever that intangible was, the professors were adamant about rejecting Holmes' application for graduate school.

According to documents released Thursday, professor Daniel Tranel wrote an email to the University of Iowa selection committee that stated bluntly, "Do NOT offer admission under any circumstances."

Tranel's reasons for rejection were not uncovered but he apparently felt more strongly about keeping Holmes out of the program than six other applicants.

Meanwhile, professor Mark Blumberg also wrote about Holmes, "I agree with Dan.  Don’t admit."

In his letter to the school, Holmes said that he was interested in the neuroscience program because his mission was to improve people, including those with cognitive disabilities.  As it happens, Holmes was eventually treated himself for mental illness, a fact that came out following the shooting rampage on July 20 that left 12 people dead and 58 injured at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

Holmes did get accepted to the University of Colorado Denver graduate school but dropped out shortly before the shooting incident because of poor grades.  His attorneys are expected to plead insanity in his defense.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


James Holmes Defense Calls for Sanctions Against Prosecutors in Aurora Shootings

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(AURORA, Colo.) -- Attorneys for James Holmes, the accused mass murderer in the July shootings in Aurora, Colorado, have filed a motion asking a judge to sanction prosecutors for “reckless disregard for the truth,” according to court documents obtained by ABC News.

The motion was filed on Aug. 27, and Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester has indicated he will set a hearing on the matter.

The contents of the motion are sealed. Its existence was revealed in an index of court activity called a “register of actions” and was first reported by the Denver Post.

While it is not known what prompted Holmes’ attorneys to file the motion, it comes only days after prosecutor Karen Pearson said in open court that Holmes made threats and was denied access to campus buildings at the University of Colorado, where he was a graduate student.

Public defender Daniel King said prosecutors were engaged in a “fishing expedition.”

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have also been arguing over about 100 pages of Holmes’ school records that were turned over to the judge by the university. New documents reveal Judge Sylvester will allow prosecutors access to certain pages of those documents “with certain redactions of confidential information,” according to court documents.

Thursday, there will be a showdown in court over communications between Holmes and his psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton. Those communications include a notebook attorneys say Holmes mailed to Fenton before the shooting. It was intercepted by police and is currently in possession of the court.

Holmes’ defense team says the notebook is protected by doctor-patient confidentiality and want it returned to their client. Prosecutors argue the notebook is not privileged and want to use it as evidence.

Holmes is charged with 24 counts of first-degree murder and 116 counts of attempted murder for the attack on an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater just after midnight on July 20. Twelve people were killed and 58 were wounded

Defense attorneys have repeatedly said in court hearings that Holmes is mentally ill.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio