aurora mass shooting

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Raw footage showing the ATF Bomb Squad seeking out the apartment of James Holmes to disarm the explosives he had set up prior to heading to the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where he opened fire at the midnight showing of Batman; The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 and injuring more than 70 people. Video obtained & edited by guns.com.

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James Holmes about regretting not getting admitted to a mental hospital.

James Holmes entered the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado on the 20th of July, 2012 and opened fire. Twelve people were killed and 70 others got injured.
He was sentenced to 12 life sentences plus 3,318 years without parole. 

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BBC Panorama Interview with the parents of James Holmes. His mother Arlene speaks of some of her personal struggles since the shooting on July 20/2012

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. 

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The Aurora Theatre Shooting

On July 20th, 2012, during a midnight screening of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ at a Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, a gunman set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms killing 12 people and injuring 70.

The perpetrator bought a ticket, entered the theater, and sat in the front row. About 20 minutes into the film, he left the building through an emergency exit door, propped it open, and returned with weapons and other gear before storming the audience and opening fire.

He was dressed in black and wore a gas mask, a load-bearing vest, a ballistic helmet, bullet-resistant leggings, a bullet-resistant throat protector, a groin protector, and tactical gloves. He was also listening to techno music through a set of headphones.

James Eagan Holmes, born December 13th, 1987 and 24 at the time, was arrested in the theatre parking lot.

He had booby-trapped his apartment with explosives before the shooting, which were defused one day later by a bomb squad.

For a period of time this was the highest casualty single mass shooter event in American history, up until the 2016 assault on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Prior to the killings, Holmes had been receiving treatment for mental health problems; he entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. His trial began on April 27th, 2015. The trial lasted 11 weeks after which he was found guilty. On August 24th, Holmes was sentenced to 12 consecutive life sentences plus 3,318 years without parole.

Aurora theater shooter James Holmes submitted this photograph of himself feeding a llama a piece of straw to the University of Illinois. He submitted the bizarre picture along with his university application, much to the staff’s amusement. He was accepted onto a course in Neuroscience and was even described as an “outstanding candidate”.

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
They had gone to see a caped, violent vigilante defeat bad guys, but what they got was a bizarre version of the reality. I felt like it was the most wicked and yet most American piece of performance art possible.
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Transcript of the 911 call made by 13 year old Kaylan Bailey in an attempt to get help for her cousin, Veronica Moser-Sullivan, during the shooting at the Century 16 Movie Theater on July 20th 2012. Unfortunately, Veronica did not survive and was the youngest to die in the attack. She was just 6 years old.


Dispatch - (Inaudible)… Emergency?

Kaylan - (Inaudible)… There’s been shooting… There’s a shooting at…

Dispatch - Okay, is that the Century 16 theater shooting?

Kaylan - Yes, yes!

Dispatch - Do you know anybody whose been shot?

Kaylan - Yes I do! You got to send somebody!

Dispatch - Okay. Whose been shot?

Kaylan - (Crying)

Dispatch - Who do you know that’s been shot?

Kaylan - Umm my co… My cousins.

Dispatch - Okay. Where are they right now?

Kaylan - They’re… They are on the floor. (Inaudible)

Dispatch - Are they breathing?

Kaylan - No! (Crying) Help me!

Dispatch - Mam, do you know if they’re breathing and do you know if they’re conscious?

Kaylan - One of them is not breathing.

Dispatch - Neither one of them are breathing?

Kaylan - One of them is.

Dispatch - Okay the one that’s not breathing, I want you to go up to him… Is he laying on the ground?

Kaylan - Yeah.

Dispatch - Okay, is he on the floor and on a flat surface?

Kaylan - Yeah, on a flat surface.

Dispatch - Okay, remove anything from under his head and kneel by his side.

Kaylan - What?

Dispatch - Kneel by his side and remove anything that’s under his head.

Kaylan - I… I can’t get in between the chairs.

Dispatch - Okay. What theater are you in?

Kaylan - Uhhh… I don’t know. Number 9. I’m in number 9!

Dispatch - Okay do you see any officers near you?

Kaylan - No, there’s not. None.

Dispatch - Okay I need you to go to your cousin that’s not breathing and go by their side and kneel.

Kaylan - Okay.

Dispatch - Place your hand on the forehead and the fingertips of your other hand under the chin.

Kaylan - (Crying)

Dispatch - Press down his forehead and lift up under his chin until his head tilts back and the chin points up.

Kaylan - I can’t hear you, the movie is too loud!

Dispatch - Okay, I need you to look into his mouth. Do you see anything in his mouth?

Kaylan - Do I see anything on the ground?

Dispatch - I his mouth.

Kaylan - I’m sorry. I can’t hear you, I’m so sorry.

Dispatch - Okay, Mam. That’s okay. Can you (Inaudible) in his mouth and see if he’s breathing?

Kaylan - No. She’s not. I already said that she’s not.

Dispatch - Okay, you said he’s not moving and he is not breathing, correct?

Kaylan - This is correct.

Dispatch - Okay, we need to start chest compressions. I’m going to walk you through the steps, are you ready?

Kaylan - What?

Dispatch - We need you to start chest compressions, I will walk you through the steps. We need to start CPR.

Kaylan - (Crying) I can’t hear you!

Dispatch - Mam, we need to start CPR.

Kaylan - But I can’t…

Dispatch - I can tell you how to do it, okay? I’m going to walk you through the steps.

Kaylan - What?

Dispatch - I’m going to walk you through the steps of CPR.

Kaylan - I can’t hear you.

Dispatch - Okay, is there an officer next to you?

Kaylan - (Crying)

Dispatch - Mam, can you hear me?

Kaylan - Yes.

Dispatch - We need to start CPR on your cousin, okay?

Kaylan - I can’t hear you. (Crying)

Dispatch - I can tell you how to perform the CPR but I need you to listen, okay?

Kaylan - Uh huh. (Crying)

*Voice in background* (Is somebody there?) *Inaudible sounds*

Dispatch - Mam?… Mam? Can you hear me, Mam?

*Inaudible sounds*

Dispatch - I have help on the way but I need you to listen to me, okay?

Kaylan - Okay. (Inaudible)

Dispatch - Kneel next to your cousin (Inaudible) that is not breathing.

Kaylan - (Inaudible)

Dispatch - Mam?

Kaylan - (Inaudible)

Dispatch - Mam?

Kaylan - (Inaudible) Hello? Yes?

Dispatch - I need you to start CPR on your cousin, can you hear me?

Kaylan - I can’t… (Inaudible)

Dispatch - I will walk you through how to perform CPR.

Kaylan - (Inaudible)

Dispatch - Mam, I cannot hear you.

Kaylan - (Inaudible)

Dispatch - Hello, Mam?

Kaylan - (Inaudible) You don’t understand. We need help!

Dispatch - I understand that and I need… I need your cousin that is shot and not breathing… We need to perform CPR on him.

Kaylan - Yeah I don’t know how (Inaudible) I never tried it.

Dispatch - I cannot hear you, Mam.

Kaylan - I’m sorry. (Inaudible) police here. The police are here.

Dispatch - The police are with you?

Kaylan - Yes.

Dispatch - Okay, go with the police.

Kaylan - Okay, thank you. Good bye.