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The Aurora Theatre Shooting

The events of the horrific Aurora Theatre Shooting unfolded on July 20, 2012. The shooting transpired during the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises and ended with unthinkable losses. 


James Holmes, the sole perpetrator, initially entered the theatre and bought a ticket to the film, sitting in the front row. Approximately twenty minutes into the movie, Holmes exited the theatre through an emergency exit door. He propped this door open with a plastic tablecloth holder and proceeded to go outside to his car. Inside of his vehicle were protective tactical clothing items and multiple firearms. Holmes changed into the protective clothing, which included a gas mask, a ballistic helmet, a bullet-resistant throat protector, a load-bearing vest (which was not additionally bulletproof), bullet-risistant leggings, a groin protector, and finally a pair of tactical gloves. While at his car Holmes also retrieved the guns that he would use in the attack; a 12-gauge Remington 870 Express Tactical shotgun, a Smith and Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle with a 100-round drum magazine, and a Glock 22 .40 caliber handgun. 


Holmes then reentered the theatre through the same door he had propped open and entered the auditorium, wearing headphones and playing “techno music” as to not hear the audience’s reactions. He first threw two canisters that discharged a gas or smoke. This smoke caused eye irritation and obscured vision, as well as itchiness to the skin and throat. After this Holmes fired his 12-gauge Remington shotgun at the ceiling, then at the audience. He additionally fired his semi-automatic rifle, but it soon malfunctioned. Holmes lastly fired using his Glock 22 handgun. 


Holmes began shooting at the back of the auditorium, then towards people in the aisles. Three people in a neighboring room were hit by a bullet when it passed through the wall, and that area was subsequently evacuated. This room was also screening The Dark Knight Rises. Meanwhile, back in the auditorium where the shooting was taking place, the fire alarm began to sound. The scene was in complete chaos, and some were hesitant to flee due to shouts of an additional shooter in the theatre’s lobby. The first calls to 911 were made at 12:39am, with police arriving in 90 seconds. Some individuals reported the shooting on Twitter rather than calling the police, but officers were already present at the theatre when these tweets were sent. 


A total of 76 shots were fired by Holmes in the theatre; six of these were from the shotgun, 65 from the semi-automatic rifle, and five from the Glock 22 .40 caliber handgun. When Sergeant Stephen Redfearn, one of the first police officers on the scene, arrived, he decided not to wait for ambulances. Sergeant Redfearn instead sent a number of the victims to the hospital in squad cars. At approximately 12:45am, Holmes was apprehended behind the theatre by Officer Jason Oviatt. He stated that Holmes was calm and “disconnected” during his arrest. 


12 people were killed in the Aurora shooting and 70 non-fatal injuries were reported. 10 victims died at the scene and two more died at local hospitals. Four of the victims, Jonathan Blunk, Matt MqQuinn, Alexander Teeves, and John Larimer, were killed while protecting their girlfriends. Two of the victims were active-duty service members. For a full list of the fallen victims, click here


Two federal officials had stated that Holmes had dyed his hair red and called himself “The Joker”, but authorities later declined to confirm that statement. However, three days later at his first court appearance, Holmes had reddish-orange hair. Authorities found a first aid kit, as well as spike strips, in his car. Holmes later claimed that he planned to use the spike strips if police chased him or shot at him. Police interviewed a grand total of 200 witnesses during the investigation. Holmes was first incarcerated at the Arapahoe County Detention Center under suicide watch. 


The Aurora Shooting had claimed the largest number of victims of any mass shooting in the history of the United States, but was later unfortunately surpassed by the Orlando Pulse Nightclub Shooting in 2016, which had a combined total of 102 casualties. The Aurora Shooting was the deadliest mass shooting in the state of Colorado since the Columbine High School Massacre in 1999, which claimed 13 victims, not including the two perpetrators who committed suicide after their attack. 

#EndNegativeBlackStereotypes #BlackScholars #BlackUnite 

Simon-Peter Frimpong, a 13-year old Ghanaian American from Aurora, Colorado.


Earlier this year, he was invited to the 2016 White House Science Fair.

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In the notebook he titled “Course of Life”, James Holmes described his obsession with killing others, something he said he’d had since he was a child. He wrote down various ideas for murdering people, considering becoming a serial killer, but ultimately dismissing the idea because it was “too personal” and time consuming, and left “too much evidence”. He decided on mass murder, he wrote, because it was “easily performed with firearms” although he thought this was “primitive in nature”.

Nobody noticed the mental illness at this early age. Why? Because he was getting straight A’s. And he was causing no problems. And he was a good kid.
—  Dan King, public defender, about James Holmes

Aurora II, by MikeOlbinski

Another image from this gorgeous little supercell near Aurora, Colorado on June 3rd, 2015. My chase was over and I was heading home to Phoenix after having been in Wyoming all day and busting. I crossed my fingers for some weather on the way through Denver and sure enough some cells exploded over town and I was able to hang out with this guy, time-lapse it for a long time and get a bunch of lightning. A sublime way to end a 12-day chase! You can see this storm and a bunch of others in my time-lapse film The Chase: https://vimeo.com/134173961

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Colorado movie theater wants Dark Knight shooting victims to pay $700,000

In 2012, James Holmes opened fire during the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, resulting in the deaths of 12 and the injury of over 58. Now Cinemark, who owns the theater, has filed paperwork asking the surviving victims and the victims’ families to pay up nearly $700,000.

Robert Lewis Dear - Planned Parenthood Mass Shooter (Alive)
Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer - Umpqua Community College Mass Shooter (Alive)
James Holmes - Aurora, Colorado Movie Theater Mass Shooter (Alive)
Jared Lee Loughner - Tucson, Arizona Shooter (Alive)

If they can arrest white people after they’ve committed mass murder, they should also be able to arrest an individual who pointed a gun into the air.

There is no excuse.

While I liked the Presidential address as a whole:

I have a nitpick.

I don’t WANT us to have the strength to bear what happened in Orlando. I want this to be so unbearable, so irrevocably repulsive and absolutely inexcusable that we’re galvanized to make this not happen again

We bore Columbine.

We bore Virginia Tech.

We bore Aurora, Colorado.

We bore Sandy Hook, the murder of elementary school children.

But LGBT people are not on the same social rung as red-blooded american school children. We bore that, and it’s likely we’ll bear this too.

We’ll bear it, bury it, and go on just long enough for it to happen again to someone else.

I’m tired of bearing it.

My heart is so heavy this morning. I’ve been seeing the list of victims and their ages that have been released so far and I almost began crying.

When will this country fucking say enough? How many more innocent people have to die before change is actually made? In the past 2 and a half years, since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, there have been almost 1,000 mass shootings in the US. These have totaled to at least 1,100 people killed with thousands more injured.

The shooters at both Sandy Hook and Pulse had assault rifles. The movie theater shooting in Aurora Colorado was done with an AR. Those are only a FEW of the incidents these weapons have been used at, the the number has only increased dramatically in the past year or so.

Yet assault rifles are still legal to purchase in the US. A weapons ban bill was introduced last year that would have stopped manufacturing of assault weapons, and place harder restrictions on the sale of already existing assault weapons. This bill did not get passed.

The waiting period to purchase guns - yes, including assault weapons - is generally 3 to 5 days depending on the state. That’s it. A week. Omar Mateen, the Pulse shooter, obtained his weapons a few days before the shooting. Even the fact that he was on a government watch list did not restrict him from this legal purchase.

I am tired of gun rights being more important than LGBTQIA rights. I am tired of gun rights being more important than human rights. I am tired of politicians saying banning them “would not work”. I’m sorry, but look at the rest of the fucking world. Clearly it’s working for tons of other countries, why are we so goddamn different?

It’s disgusting. I’m angry. I’m fed up with this bullshit and I’m sick of seeing people say restricting gun laws would not fix things. I’m sick of people saying letting more men and women carry guns would be a better solution than more extensive background checks and longer waiting periods and stricter laws around owning guns. I don’t know what fucking world your head is in to think something like that.

There is no reason. ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. A citizen needs to own an assault weapon. NONE. An assault weapon is not a weapon for protection. It is not a weapon for sport. It is a weapon of WAR and it’s ONLY PURPOSE is killing.

I am angry. I am heartbroken. I am scared for our community and I am disheartened that these safe spaces are being robbed from us. I am upset that it’s necessary for us to say “most recent shooting” or “today’s/yesterday’s shooting” when discussing the tragedy. I am upset that this will affect Pride gatherings and parades, making them feel unsafe and causing people to no longer want to go - especially people who would be attending their first Pride.

To everyone in our community, everyone reading this: I love you all. You are all important and loved and strong. And stay safe. No matter what that means for you, stay safe. And my inbox is always open if anyone needs it.