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AC360° live from Aurora, CO: Massacre in Theater Nine
July 20th, 2012
03:11 PM ET

AC360° live from Aurora, CO: Massacre in Theater Nine

Today's tragic attack in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater marks one of the worst mass shootings in the nation's history. 12 people are dead, 58 others wounded and the violence left everyone asking what could motivate someone to go on a bloody rampage.

The suspect, 24-year-old James Holmes, opened fire on innocent moviegoers, using multiple guns, during a screening of the new Batman movie. The details are horrifying. A source tells CNN Holmes bought a ticket, exited the theater propping an emergency door open, dressed in head-to-toe tactical gear, and then went back into the theater armed with tear gas and deadly weapons. His apartment was prepared for a police search with booby traps and trip wires.

More details about him are emerging, along with new eyewitness accounts and heartbreaking stories of loss. Anderson is live from Aurora for the 8 and 10 p.m. broadcasts tonight. Tune in and join the conversation on the live blog.

Click here to access the live blog.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Colorado Shooting
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. David

    Call ME crazy, but I am trying as hard as I can to find ONE reason why the heavily armed terrorist should not be executed – and quickly so!
    It would be Justice Served and allow the families of the deceased to start a painful healing process. And will allow those who are wounded and their families to recover.
    Do not allow 'Court Drama' to make us all numb (as some lawyers would want us to be...) to crime!
    he should be executed now. That would show some real courage.

    July 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  2. Jeff

    Its pretty sad that we cant go out with family and friends to enjoy a day or night out without worry of someone doing something stupid. Its all good though. The shooter will be judged and will rot in Hell for eternity. There is no excuse for what he has done.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  3. David

    Where did an unemployed, full-time college PhD candidate had funds available to buy all the weapons, ammunition, battle gear and explosives??
    Is it possible that he got money from his parents or family to help finance this terror act and kill so many innocent people?
    If Anderson Cooper is NOT AFRAID to expose who is behind this horrific act, lets expose ALL that allowed such a criminal to act!

    July 22, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  4. Lin19

    RIP to those that were killed. Healing and prayers for those recovering. Hugs and support for those who were there but somehow escaped the pierce of a bullet. Comfort to those grieving for their lost loved ones. That said, I do not understand why at least two sets of parents had very young children at such a movie at such a late hour. I just don't get it. The couple who are all over the television screen talking about their two children with them have no common sense. Even a sleeping young child should not be there with the noise and violence of the movie. Clueless parents. I am sure we will see a movie and I hate to say it but the father of the two youngsters honestly comes across as if he is doing a screen test. Time to toss the baseball cap, dad. Tomorrow I hope everyone will do one nice thing for a stranger or casual acquaintence. Let the healing begin and the horror diminish.

    July 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  5. crystal

    Everyone is saying that the gunman was a loner , I am wondering if he had a girlfriend or any friends for that matter such as maybe a facebook page that could offer some insight, and then a possibility of one of those people having any clue of these purchases he made of ammunition and guns or his reasons for having purchased all of these items.

    July 21, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  6. Tim S

    Did the theater allow concealed carry, and if not why? How many people in that theater have a concealed carry permit and could have taken the shooter out.

    July 20, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Sandra

      Doubtful. He was clad in bullet proof clothing and was shooting everyone who was standing. He had the advantage of surprise. A handgun is no match for automatic weapons!

      July 22, 2012 at 7:08 am |
  7. T.J

    Sadness. sympathies to all the victims and their families. I was at the Trolley Square mall shooting in SLC some years ago and decided that day that I would obtain a concealed and carry and do so. I wish we could avoid talking about the coward and making him famous. I do not remember the name of the nut case that murdered the people in trolley that day. Had i been in that theater the crazy would be among the dead.

    July 20, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  8. Mario Romero

    Anderson thank you for focusing on the victims and not on the gunman. When will we have the courage in our country to address the problem of completly un-regulated access to as many firearms and ammunition to any person at any time? I affirm the Constitutional right to bear arms which really had a lot to do with having weapons to protect citizens from foreign aggression early on in the founding of the nation. Now we sadly affirm the right to purchase, and, use firearms over the sancity and value of human lives. In this case we continue to uphold the rights of a minority over the rights of the majority of the law abiding citizens. I am always amazed at how easy it is for guests on television shows in support of unlimited gun laws defend themselves. I wonder how these people would feel if it were their loved ones innocently murdered in a "safe" public event or public space?

    July 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  9. buddy lloyd

    does cololardo have the death pentely

    July 20, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  10. Richard Miller

    Is a 100 round magazine for an assault rifle legal to purchase and posess in Colorado? How did the internet store ship the items to the shooter? Does a person require a permit to ship explosive devices such as ammunition? The second ammendment aside, does not the shipping of such items constitute a danger to the public?
    There are more issues besides a person suffering a breakdown and change of life path.

    July 20, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  11. Laura

    Anderson, this is a very complex idea, I hope you can help convey it properly. How about the Exit doors at all major public venues be alarmed; and the alarm does not shut off until security inspects the situation? Might cost $200-300 per door to install. Your thoughts?

    July 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  12. Ashlee

    Gun Control needs to be taken care of now. How many people need to die before someone stands up and say this stops now. This should have been taken care of years ago. America needs to join together and say this stops now together.

    July 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • John

      It's not guns that kill, it's the human who does. Your never gonna get rid of all the guns, or the crazy's, it's not going to happen EVER. Your not going to have tight security at every single public venue out there, without taxes being raised so high you won't be able to afford to live anywhere, and no one wants MORE TAXES. I myself am sad to see this sort of stuff happen and yet I do believe in allowing people to have guns for protection reasons, if there was someone in the theater that had a gun this may have ended differently.

      July 21, 2012 at 2:16 am |
  13. debra lake

    Thanks for making such an effort to take the emphasis off the shooter. I believe that if we (society, media, law enforcement) start just referring to these people as the "guilty party" and taking their names and identification out of the media, these sick people's terrible actions might be reduced. Their so called claim to fame would be greatly diminished without publishing their pictures and names giving them credit for their crime.s. They seem to want to out sensationalize the last tragedy...if we determine not to let them receive the headlines, I believe there will be fewer of them doing these horrific things.

    July 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  14. Phil

    Thank you CNN for FINALLY taking down the coward picture!! It's about the victims not the coward behind bars

    July 20, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  15. Shawn Fulford

    Anderson -

    Thanks for focusing on the victims and not the killer.
    Question: I can't fathom why the police can't identify the 12 people killed for their loved ones. It is almost 24 hours and they are letting the families wait????? Ridiculous.

    July 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • John

      I can't understand why the bodies of the victims are left in the building many hours after, I consider that so disrespectful, do the body outline and get those poor victims out of the building, they don't need to be left laying in the building.

      July 21, 2012 at 2:18 am |
  16. Eliz

    Thank you for reporting about the victims, remembering and speaking about them. Too often the media does focus on the criminal. That person doesn't need anymore feedback.

    July 20, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  17. kathryn

    I live in AZ and what happened last year shocked the country and now this, I'm a psychology major and the more stories I hear about these sick people that feel the need to kill blows my mind. What I don't get is how did he get a hold of all this tactical equipment, know and understand how to assemble the guns he had let alone assemble a booby trap that extensive, this kid was smart and he knew what he was doing. Now we want to know why? Revenge or possibly a mental illness that has not yet been DX, but then his mother knew it was him.....

    July 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  18. Gale

    Can you tell me? What is it going to take for this country to start thinking about the human aspect of what is happening today. The ALL MIGHTY BUCK, its all about profit, its about who can cheat who, its about we need to push more profil. What is and has been the cost? Guns made for killing, easier to get them, then going to be seen by a doctor. So many made and for what? Profit!! The beckering between this government to hold this country together has become childish and all so self serving and for what. THE ALL MIGHTY BUCK,,,,,, WHAT HAS HAPPEN TO US

    July 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Karl

      Gale, Im sorry, profit not involved in this tragedy. Even a donut is sold for profit and some say they'll kill you to. Gun control is debateble forever. Goverment control?? billions in the red, Lets add more to tax burden. I carry a gun And I would have shot him . Maybe the answer is more family friends and aquaintences that dont get involved till a tragedy like this happens. I guess i grew up kicking a few butts before asking or whining to a cop or goverment to solve my problems. My condolances to the victims and their families

      July 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  19. pam

    do you think he put on loud music hoping someone would enter the apartment and cause a horrific explosion. thus the emergency peoples, fireman, policemen, etc. would be so busy that he could of carried on with his rampage and/ or enabled him for a clean getaway.. thus maybe starting on a serial killer situation.

    July 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  20. southernpoliticalvoice

    I can't even imagine what the people of Aurora are going through, I am completely speechless. It is now time for our government to do something about gun control. However, politicians will do what they always do, talk about the situation and do nothing and bow down to those who lobby against gun control, namely the NRA. How many people will have to lose their lives?

    July 20, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Kimberly

      I am so sorry to let U know, but our, the US of A's constution give;s us the right to bare arms to protect our self's and families! from nuts like this guy! The gun's are made easy to obtain, therefore the crimminal's are the one's who do the harm. It is a very sad thing that happened in Colorado, but leave the Gun thing alone.

      July 20, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  21. Carlos Rendon

    Sometimes people don't need motives. I think it was school that got to him. You put so much effort and time but then find out its still not enough by school standards. This guy just snapped from stress. I'm going the same route with neuroscience and I can definitely say you sacrifice so much for a future that's not guaranteed due to competition and high requirements.

    July 20, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  22. Ariel

    Did those two interviewed find their friend Rebecca?

    July 20, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  23. Luis Lopez

    cops wild go 2 his apt "after the explosion" then he got time to do what he did and escape i don't think the booby trap was too get rid off evidence it was a decoy

    July 20, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  24. James Klein

    This is a terrible event which probably couldn't have been stopped before it happened. My heart goes out to all the victims. I just wonder why babies were at a midnight showing of a movie. That is shocking!

    July 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  25. Lynne

    Anderson – I turned on CNN when I got home from work. I was so happy to see you on the scene reporting. I trust you and you are a great newsman. Best to you, Anderson, and thank you for your investigative reporting.

    July 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  26. Luis Lopez

    i think that he was using the bobby trap as decoy 2 escape just like joker would

    July 20, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  27. Thomas Lewis

    Anderson, I would like to send my thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by the situation in Colorado. As a former resident, I lived through the last tragedy at Columbine High School a number of years ago. I would also like to take a minute and ask you to take a broader look at the situation… this isn’t about “gun control”… this is about a country that has lost it way. The environment we are raising our children into today exposes them to the continue glorification of violence whether observed in morning cartoons, game boys, television, movies and the internet. We have a sociality that promotes the use of guns, which is having an unbelievably sad impact on humanity around the world. Please investigate how we address this continue trend in our culture and how we may want to address our laws to eliminate this continued use of violence and hatred against mankind.

    July 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  28. pat whalen

    as a retired state policeman, this individual bought numerous weapons from various stores within the last couple of months. There is a federal database which shows store purchases in any state. There was another mass shooting a couple years ago with the same M.O. which indicates most people don't do. that should be a red flag!

    July 20, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  29. Karen

    Is anyone looking at the new batman videon game for clues to behavior? Joker tells batman to meet him at the Monarch Theater and subsequently blows it up.

    July 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Brooke

      Most importantly- My thoughts and prayers are with the Ghawi family and all others who have yet to locate their loved ones or who have been personally touched by this great tragedy.

      Karen- If you are looking for/interested in behavioral clues- watch The Dark Knight. FX is currently showing it on TV (in poor taste, in my very humble opinion). The Joker (Heath Ledger) comes into a crowded party and his first shot is at the ceiling with a large gun, just as the killers was (according to many eyewitness accounts discussed on TV), this shot (in the movie) is followed by The Joker threatening with a knife that looks very similar to that purchased by the gunman (as shown on Anderson 360 in an image of items purchased by James online). Just some brief observations I noticed while watching the movie this evening after hearing on the news that the killer identified specifically with The Joker character. People are speculating as to motive- if he identified with that particular character/villain, then he likely did not have one.

      July 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm |