On Friday July 20, an unsuspecting audience was shot at by suspect, James Holmes in what is being referred to as the largest mass shooting in the entire United States.
Aurora is the third largest city in Colorado with small town values and a community that is still in shock after this tragedy. As recently as December, Aurora was ranked number 9 by Forbes in “America’s Safest Cities.”
Forbes magazine determines the safety of the cities based on various criteria. They base these findings off FBI-reported violent crime rates and traffic fatality rates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The suspect bought his ticket and entered the theatre for the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” at a Century 16 movie theater. Soon after the movie began he exited the theater while propping open the door to re-enter.
After changing into a ballistic uniform protecting his entire body, he began to take fire on innocent individuals leading to the deaths of 12 people and reported injuries from 59 other people in attendance.
At approximately 12:39 a.m., the first 9-1-1 calls were made. Over 100 reported calls were made to alert officials of this shooting. Minutes later, the police apprehended Holmes behind the theater without any resistance.
It was allegedly reported that Holmes referred to himself as “The Joker” when police arrested him. “The Joker” is a villain portrayed by the late Heath Ledger in the second installment of the Batman films. This was inconclusive until people first saw him in his recent court hearing with his hair dyed completely red.
President Obama came to Aurora, Colo. on July 22, to give his condolences to the victims and the family members. After speaking with the families and the victims of this mass shooting, he gave a nationally televised speech addressing not who the suspect is, but what the innocent people who died stood for and the strength of the community.
“It reminds you that even in the darkest of days, life continues and people are strong,” the President said, “Out of this darkness a brighter day is going to come.”
While the community continues to mourn the loss of the innocent people, questions are beginning to arise of the suspect in connection to the shooting. Authorities are beginning to confirm that he acted alone in this.
Upon his arrest, authorities were alerted about the apartment where he was living. Bomb squads were called in after discovering his apartment was rigged to catch fire upon being entered. Allegedly, he timed his stereo to blast music around the same time the shooting began.
This would have caused police officers to go to his apartment for a noise complaint and potentially trigger
rigged explosives that would have led to potentially fatal injuries.
No other people or police officers were hurt in the removal of these booby traps. They safely removed them from his apartment and residents are now being allowed to go back to their apartments.
On July 23, Holmes had his first court hearing where he was read his rights. He is currently being held on the suspicion of murder in the first degree along with additional counts of aggravated assault, according to the Huffington Post.
Gov. John Hickenlooper read the names of those killed in the tragedy during a ceremony after President Obama spoke. After each name was read to the crowd the audience responded saying, “We will remember.”
Those killed were: Jonathan Blunk, aged 26; Alexander J. Boik, 18; Jesse Childress, 29; Gordon Cowden, 51; Jessica Ghawi, 24; John Larimer, 27; Matt McQuinn, 27; Micayla Medek, 23; Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6; Alex Sullivan, 27; Alexander C. Teves, 24; and Rebecca Wingo, 32.