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Entries in James Holmes (46)

Monday
Jul232012

Biden Avoids Politics in Speech to Police

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- In the wake of one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, Vice President Joe Biden praised the victims of last week’s movie theater massacre for inspiring the nation with their acts of courage and valor.

Speaking to a group of police officers in Manalapan, Fla., Biden somberly recalled the everyday heroes of the Aurora, Colo., shooting that left 12 dead and more than 50 injured — including a man who died while shielding his girlfriend from the attack, the Air Force reservist who dove to save his colleague’s life and the others who sprung into action to help wounded victims during the shooting.

“These are the people who define who we are as a nation. They are the hymns of our hope,” Biden said at the National Association of Police Organizations’ annual convention in Palm Beach.

“People stepped up. They make us proud of our country, and maybe more importantly at this moment, they make us confident that this country is made of that sterner stuff,” he said.

Biden’s talk was originally scheduled as a campaign event to discuss collective bargaining and security policy, but in light of Friday’s shooting, he said, it “doesn’t seem appropriate” to talk politics.

In 1994, then-Senator Biden championed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which banned the manufacture of 19 semiautomatic assault weapons. The law, which enjoyed NAPO support, expired 10 years later — making it again legal to buy AR-15-style rifles, like the kind authorities believe alleged shooter James Holmes used in the theater attack.

During his talk, Biden did not mention Holmes, whose first court appearance came Monday. Instead, the vice president used his solemn 20-minute speech to honor shooting victims and thank police officers for their continuous bravery.

“There’s no group of Americans who understand, who have internalized, who have had to deal with, every day of their life, the national tragedy that we’re coping with now, more than all of you,” he told a packed room of officers.

Biden pointed to Aurora’s police department for their brave work, touting that officers arrived on the scene of the shooting within 90 seconds. Some refused to wait for ambulances, he said, instead literally picking up victims and driving them to hospitals in their squad cars.

“In this moment of our grief, the entire nation is reminded of how grateful we are for what you do,” Biden said. “Not withstanding all the political chatter we’ll hear, I truly believe that the vast majority of the American people are as committed as I am to never letting you down.”

The vice president also offered words of comfort for victims’ families and loved ones.

“There will come a moment when the memory of your daughter, your son, your husband, will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes,” he said.

“My only prayer is that it will come sooner than later — but it will come.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul232012

Colorado Shooting Suspect Was Turned Away from Gun Range

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(AURORA, Colo.) -- James Holmes, the man who allegedly killed 12 people and wounded 58 at a packed screening of the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, applied to join a Colorado gun range last month, but was rejected by the owner, who found him "creepy."

Glenn Rotkovich, who owns the Lead Valley Range in Byers, Colo., told ABC News that Holmes applied for membership about a month ago via email, but when Rotkovich called him to follow up, he said he got a "bizarre," Batman-inspired voicemail message.

He told his staff not to allow Holmes into the club if he showed up for an orientation.

The gun range owner's reaction adds to a growing portrait of the 24-year-old accused of carrying out the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, and who police say rigged his apartment with dozens of explosive devices set to go off when the door was opened.

The search of Holmes' apartment yielded a computer and a variety of Batman paraphernalia, including a poster and a mask, more evidence of his apparent obsession with the comic book hero.

Investigators also found 10 gallons of gasoline, which were removed from the apartment and detonated at a remote site.

Holmes is currently in custody at Arapahoe County Jail.

Some recently released inmates from the jail said Holmes is not likely to get a warm welcome from the other prisoners.

"They're paying really close attention to keeping him separate," Steven Phillips, who was recently released from there, told ABC News.  "He's in red, he's in chains, his arms are chained up in like a jacket.  When he came in, they said he had a bullet proof vest on over his clothes so somebody wouldn't stab him."

Phillips heard that Holmes is being kept in 23-hour lockdown, one of the most protected types of confinement.  He is given one hour outside his cell per day to shower and use the phone.

Jacob Wesson, also recently released from Arapahoe County Jail, said that because Holmes allegedly killed children, if he was kept with other inmates, they would hurt him.

"He wouldn't last," Wesson said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul232012

Colorado Movie Theater Shooting: Suspect to Appear in Court

University of Colorado Denver/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(AURORA, Colo.) -- Prosecutors are considering pursuing a death penalty case against James Holmes, the alleged gunman accused of a movie theater rampage in Aurora, Colo., last Friday that left 12 dead and 58 wounded.

A decision on charging Holmes, 24, with capital murder has not yet been made, but Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers told reporters on Monday that she is talking with victims and their family members about it.

There are currently only four people on Colorado's death row, and only one person has been executed in that state since 1976.  Nevertheless, experts expect prosecutors to seek the death penalty when Holmes is formally charged later this week.

Holmes is expected in court Monday for a preliminary hearing.

Members of the Aurora community are anxiously awaiting the hearing, which will mark the first time Holmes will been seen in public since his arrest following the deadly rampage at a midnight screening of the The Dark Knight Rises on July 20.

"He has harmed so many people," Police Chief Daniel Oates told ABC News.  "Not only the victims, but all of their extended families.  So I think it will be very hard."

Oates also said that Holmes' parents have remained silent.

"They're not talking to us right now," he said.  "Maybe that will change, but right now they are not talking to us."

The suspect will be brought to court from his jail cell at Arapahoe County Jail through an underground tunnel.

The court appearance is expected to be brief and will start the clock on the 72-hour deadline for the district attorney to file formal charges at an arraignment where Holmes will enter his plea.

The police chief told ABC News that his team is getting significant help from the FBI's behavioral analysts in trying to figure out what could have changed Holmes from a promising young student to a suspect in one of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history.

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Sunday
Jul222012

Movie Theater Shooting Prompts Gun Control Debate

AbleStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The worst mass shooting in U.S. history has sparked a renewed debate about gun control laws in the country.

James Holmes, a 24 year old student at the University of Colorado Medical School was detained Friday following the shooting of 70 people inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Twelve people were killed in the attack, which was carried out with an assault rifle, a shotgun and a pair of Glock pistols at the midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Not much is yet known about Holmes, but investigations into the weapons he owns show that he purchased them legally. He purchased the four guns at local shops, and bought more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet in the past 60 days, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said.

“All the ammunition he possessed, he possessed legally, all the weapons he possessed, he possessed legally, all the clips he possessed, he possessed legally,” Oates said. As far as investigators know now, Holmes had a clean background, with the exception of a single traffic ticket.

The right to bear arms is a constitutionally protected right in America, and in Colorado, the laws aren’t very strict. Background checks are required for purchases at gun shows, under an initiative voted into law after the Columbine shootings in 2000. However, there is no ban on assault weapons or high capacity ammunition clips. Registration and gun owner licenses aren’t required, and background checks for online sales aren’t required.

Advocates of increased gun control laws point to events like this one as evidence that the nation needs to adopt stricter laws about who can buy firearms, and what firearms they can buy.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg has been an outspoken advocate of stronger gun control rules as a chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. On his radio show Friday, Bloomberg called on top politicians to make their stance on gun laws clear.

“Maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they’re going to do,” Bloomberg said. “Because this is obviously a problem across the country.”

Polls indicate most Americans favor stricter gun laws, but the issue hasn’t been rated as a highly important political one, because of conflicting sentiments about how to respond. Many people think stricter enforcement of existing laws is preferable to creating new laws, and that the availability of guns is not itself the primary cause of gun violence.

In the past, attitudes toward gun laws haven’t changed in response to gun crimes like the Aurora movie theater shooting.

Still, gun sales are climbing, and few politicians are willing to work towards strengthening gun laws.

This debate isn’t a new one for the community surrounding Aurora. Columbine, where 13 years ago two students opened fire on their high school classmates, killing 13, is just a short drive from Aurora.

Tom Mauser, whose son Daniel was killed at Columbine, became a gun control advocate following his son’s death.

“It makes me angry. It makes me angry for America when other countries are looking at us saying, ‘are you nuts?’” Mauser told ABC News’ Clayton Sandell. “When you have magazines that can hold 30, 50, 100 rounds, that makes it easy for people like [the Aurora movie theater shooter].”

According to the latest numbers of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, there are 123,000 licensed firearms dealers in the United States, meaning there are roughly as many gun dealers as there are gas stations.

Between 2006 and 2010 more than 47,000 people were killed in the United States by firearms, according to ATF reports.

Pro-gun rights advocates argue that gun ownership is a protected right, and that law-abiding gun owners shouldn’t be punished because of those who break the law.

“You can’t stop selling guns. If you’re going to be in an armed country, you’re just going to have to deal with the occasional fruit loop,” gun owner Andrew Wright told Sandell. “That’s the way it goes. It’s unfortunate, it really is.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jul222012

Colorado Shooting Suspect: Authorities Find Evidence of 'Calculation and Deliberation' 

Thomas Cooper/Getty Images(Aurora, Colo.) -- Investigators have learned that James Holmes, the man accused of perpetrating the largest massacre in American history, had received a significant number of commercial deliveries to his home and office, as they try to build a picture of the alleged shooter and the events leading up to the largest mass shooting in American history.

"What we're seeing here is some evidence of calculation and deliberation," said Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates.

Bomb technicians spent much of Saturday morning making Holmes' Aurora, Colo., apartment safe to enter, and investigators then worked into the evening collecting evidence and securing the scene, said Jim Yacone of the FBI.

After 7 p.m. local time, residents in neighboring buildings were allowed back into their homes for the first time since early Friday morning, though tenants in Holmes' building would have to wait until Sunday.

"An extensive amount of evidence" is being collected and will be sent to the FBI's crime lab in Quantico, Va., Yacone said.

Authorities conducted a controlled detonation on Saturday as they slowly entered the booby-trapped apartment, which authorities said was "set up to kill."

"It was an extremely dangerous environment. If [someone] had walked in that door, they would have sustained significant injuries or lost their life," Yacone said.

A robot driven by a bomb technician and dynamic destruction tools were used to slowly and methodically disable explosive devices while also preserving evidence, Yacone said.

A loud pop was heard, but there was no visible smoke or fire at the scene. The street outside the apartment was shut down and residents were notified of the explosion by a reverse 911 call.

Police said Friday that a large number of explosive devices and trip wires were found at Holmes' apartment in an "elaborate" set-up.

One official told ABC News there were wires everywhere and described Holmes as a like a mad scientist.

Some devices appeared to be strapped to boxes of bullets and what looked like mortar rounds, police said.

The "flammable and explosive" materials could have blown up Holmes' apartment building and the ones near it, police said.

After a thorough search of Holmes' apartment, police moved into the investigation phase, hoping Holmes' computer -- if he has one -- and any writings could provide a gateway to understanding his motive.

A former doctoral student, Holmes is suspected of killing 12 people at the screening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora early Friday morning. Fifty-eight people were wounded.

Authorities have finished sweeping the Century 16 theater and plan to turn it over to Holmes' defense on Tuesday and back to theater owners on Wednesday, Oates said.

Personal belongings that were left behind amid the chaos and carnage were recovered by Aurora police, who plan to work with victims advocates to help reunite people who were in the theater that night with their belongings, providing there is no forensic link, Oates said.

Among the dead include Micayla Medek, 23; Alex Sullivan, 27, who was attending the movie for his birthday; Ohio native Matt McQuinn; and Alex Teves, 24.

Two other people died at the hospital, including 24-year-old aspiring sportscaster Jessica Ghawi. Police said 30 people remained hospitalized with 11 of them in critical condition. Bullets from the shooting spree tore through the theater and into adjoining theaters, where at least one other person was struck and injured.

John Larimer, a member of the Navy, was also confirmed by his family to be among the dead. The family said they were notified at their Illinois home by a Navy notification team that Larimer was dead.

Veronica Moser, 6, was killed, according to the Denver Post. The girl's mother, Ashley Moser, 25, is in critical condition after she was shot in the throat and abdomen, said her aunt, Annie Dalton.

Oates announced Friday that Holmes had purchased four guns at local shops and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet in the past 60 days.

"All the ammunition he possessed, he possessed legally, all the weapons he possessed, he possessed legally, all the clips he possessed, he possessed legally," an emotional Oates told reporters.

The chief said "he could have gotten off 50 to 60 rounds, even if it was semi-automatic, within one minute," Oates said.

Eyewitness and victim accounts of the mass shooting in the packed movie theater paint a picture of panic and horror.

Eric Hunter said this morning that he was in an adjacent theater to where the shooting took place, when bullets "came right through the walls."

"When the first three shots rang out, we didn't know if it was part of the movie or not," he said. "I saw blood on the stairs and I turned to the crowd and said there's something wrong and we need to call the cops."

Hunter then said he made his way to the emergency exit door, where he saw two teen girls outside, one of whom had been hit by bullet and was asking for help. That's when Hunter said he saw the shooter.

"I saw the gunman coming around the corner so I held the door for about five seconds," Hunter said. "He's banging on the door, banging on the door... I didn't know if he was going to shoot the door. I didn't know what he had."

Holmes allegedly entered the movie auditorium wearing a ballistics helmet, bulletproof vest, bulletproof leggings, gas mask and gloves. He detonated multiple smoke bombs, and then began firing at viewers in the sold-out auditorium, police said Friday.

Holmes, who is being held in jail and will make his first court appearance Monday, is originally from Riverside, Calif., where he attended the University of California branch, Oates said Friday.

"Neighbors report that he lived alone and kept to himself," he added.

Holmes was apprehended within minutes of the 12:39 a.m. shooting at his car behind the theater, where police found him in full riot gear and carrying three weapons, including an AR-15 assault rifle, which can hold upwards of 100 rounds, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, and a .40 Glock handgun. A fourth handgun was found in the vehicle.

Agents from the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms are tracing the weapons.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul202012

Colorado Movie Theater Shooting Suspect Identified as James Holmes

ABC News(AURORA, Colo.) -- A California woman who identified herself as the mother of James Holmes, the 24-year-old man federal authorities said is the suspect in a mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, told ABC News her son was likely the culprit, saying, "You have the right person."

The woman, contacted at her home in San Diego, spoke briefly with ABC News and immediately expressed concern her son may be involved in the shooting death of at least 12 people overnight.

"You have the right person," she said, apparently speaking on gut instinct. "I need to call the police... I need to fly out to Colorado."

Holmes, 24, was identified by federal authorities as the man in custody, accused of killing at least 12 people and injuring 50 others, including members of the U.S. military, during a midnight showing of the blockbuster movie "The Dark Knight Rises."

Holmes was a student at the University of Colorado Denver Medical Campus until he withdrew in June.

An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect. Several other local residents with similar names were also contacted via social media by members of the public who mistook them for the suspect.

Local news reports showed aerial video of police cautiously searching Holmes' apartment, some five miles from the Century Aurora 16 theater, as the suspect reportedly told police he had explosives inside. A thousand miles away in San Diego, several police cars have arrived at the home of Holmes' mother.

Witnesses to the shooting said that a man appeared at the front of the theater about 20 minutes into the movie with a rifle, handgun and gas mask. He then threw a canister that released some kind of gas, after which a hissing sound ensued, and he then opened fire on the crowd packed into the early-morning screening of the film.

"We were maybe 20 or 30 minutes into the movie and all you hear, first you smell smoke, everybody thought it was fireworks or something like that, and then you just see people dropping and the gunshots are constant," witness Christ Jones told ABC's Denver affiliate KMGH. "I heard at least 20 to 30 rounds within that minute or two."

A man who talked to a couple who was inside the theater told ABC News, "They got up and they started to run through the emergency exit, and that when she turned around, she said all she saw was the guy slowly making his way up the stairs and just firing at people, just picking random people."

"The gunshot continued to go on and on and then after we didn't hear anything," the couple told the man. "We finally got up and there was people bleeding, there was people obviously may have been actually dead or anything, and we just ran up out of there, there was chaos everywhere."

The FBI said approximately 100 of its agents are on the scene assisting with the ongoing investigation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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