Update July 20, 2012
During a press conference Friday evening, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said there were a total of 70 victims with 12 dead. Initially officials believed there were 71 victims. He also said a “handful” of the victims suffered injuries because of “the chaos.” More details will be provided in our next column.─The Editor
Officials held a presser on Friday afternoon after a gunman killed 12 people and injured 59 others during the first showing of the new Batman film at an Aurora theater.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, spoke first, mentioning President Barack Obama and saying the obvious, that this is “clearly…a tragic day” for the community. Nothing the governor said was substantive and two things he said were out of order.
Hickenlooper then made a misstep by saying the shooter’s actions were those of “a very deranged mind.” Hickenlooper called it an “aberration of nature.” Those remarks are prejudicial and are not appropriate for a public official in the aftermath of a violent crime.
Hickenlooper’s remarks were followed by those of another politician who offered no new information and a local official. Everyone who spoke gave nods to the federal government for assistance with what is actually a local crime.
Aurora police chief Dan Oates gave some information, but not much that media hadn’t already reported:
- The suspect’s full name is James Eagen Holmes; date of birth 12-13-1987.
- Holmes had no criminal record. The only violation on file is one traffic summons for speeding in October, 2011.
- Holmes was apprehended behind the theater. Officials said he had 3 weapons in the car he was in, a white Hyundai. One weapon was left in the theater.
- Holmes’ apartment was booby-trapped, with what Oates described as incendiary and chemical devices as well as trip wires.
- Many of the 59 people injured are in critical condition; 10 people died at the crime scene.
- The suspect set off two devices to distract the crowd; the devices, said Oates, produced “some kind of irritant and smoke.”
- Oates said officials are “confident” the suspect acted alone.
- Some rounds fired by the suspect penetrated an adjoining theater. The film was sold out and it was being shown on 4 screens.
- Five buildings have been evacuated in the area where Holmes lived.
- The suspect was dressed all in black; he wore protective tactical gear even on his groin area.
Oates cautioned the public about social media inaccuracies, but he didn't mention the greatest fabrication came from ABC's Good Morning America where an individual claimed the shooter might be a member of the tea party movement.
Oates said another presser will be held on Friday evening.
Holmes will be charged next week.
(Filed by Kay B. Day/July 20, 2012)
Related at The US Report