AC360 Thursday 8p

Are crews preparing to move to "Plan B" in the search for Flight 370? The latest tonight live on AC360.
July 26th, 2012
10:54 PM ET

Shooting survivor: 'God saved me'

Pierce O’Farrill, a survivor of the Aurora, Colorado massacre, has a message for the gunman: “I forgive you.” O’Farrill was sitting in the third row, one seat from the aisle near the exit door where the shooter entered.

“It was like I could feel a cloud of evil walking into the theater,” he tells CNN’s Randi Kaye. “When I saw him, literally everything almost seemed like it stopped.”

O’Farrill was hit three times, twice in his left foot and once in his upper arm, where the bullet shattered the bone. He dove to the ground and covered his head. He tasted blood in his mouth. When the shooting stopped for a moment he tried to make it to the exit, but he collapsed.

His head was inches from the gunman’s boot. “I could feel him walking around me,” he says. Pierce, who is deeply spiritual, started praying and made peace with dying. Then he started thinking about his brother and father and realized he didn’t want them to blame god for his death.

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July 26th, 2012
10:53 PM ET

Aurora shooting victim called "I love you" to daughters

Gordon Cowden, a father of four, was with two of his daughters when he was shot and killed in theater 9.

“We have strength but at moments you’ll just breakdown and lose it,” Brooke, who was with her father when he died, tells Anderson Cooper.

A makeshift memorial of 12 white crosses sits close to the Colorado theater. On the cross that has Gordon’s name written across the top, there is this message: “Dad, it was a surreal disorienting night, what was certain was your calling to us, I love you both.”

“My dad taught me what it meant to be a man. He was a father first and last and always,” says Gordon’s son, Weston. “He lived so passionately and lived life like it was supposed to be lived.”

Brooke reminisces about one of the last days she spent with her father. “We went to a local park where there was a concert going on and we actually danced at that concert and I’ll remember that dance for a very long time,” she says to Anderson.

If you'd like to donate in his memory, gifts may be made to the Gordon Cowden Children's Memorial Fund at any Chase Bank location.

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July 26th, 2012
10:47 PM ET

RidicuList: Santa problems in Disney

Disney takes exception to one man's resemblance of Santa Claus.

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July 26th, 2012
10:41 PM ET

Investigating charity's donations

Standing amid pallets of bottled water, suntan lotion and boxes of candies, Roy Tidwell says he is providing a service that can't be duplicated: shipping needed goods to dozens of charities at a low cost.

"Well, my portion of it is getting goods to help people who are suffering, goods that I can deliver for pennies on the dollar," he said. "And most places that get them are very appreciative."

Tidwell runs Charity Services International, which he says has 50 clients, all charities, including the Disabled Veterans National Foundation and SPCA International.

His business is in the middle of a debate over how charities put a monetary value on the items they donate.

In one instance, the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, using Tidwell's organization as a broker, shipped what it claimed were more than $800,000 worth of goods including chef's coats, hats and football pants to a small charity called U.S. Vets in Prescott, Arizona, in 2009.

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July 26th, 2012
10:31 PM ET

Rastan: Shattered city in Syria

A filmmaker documents sick and injured families under attack, struggling to survive in unmanageable conditions.

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July 26th, 2012
10:27 PM ET

Court gives baby Veronica to biological father

Jeffrey Toobin and Areva Martin look at the ruling in a complex custody case involving the Indian Child Welfare Act.

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The AC360 Weekly Buzz: Remembering Aurora shooting victims, Syria, charity investigation, Drew Peterson
July 26th, 2012
07:55 PM ET

The AC360 Weekly Buzz: Remembering Aurora shooting victims, Syria, charity investigation, Drew Peterson

What everyone’s talking about:

We’ve been doing our best to focus our attention on the victims of the Colorado shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 injured last week. Anderson told the stories of each victim, some of their goals, interests, and legacies.

Jessica Ghawi, 24, was the first known fatality. Her brother told Anderson he wants his sister and the other victims remembered, not the suspected killer. Anderson also spoke to the girlfriend of Jon Blunk, 26, who shielded and saved her when the suspect entered the theater and started firing rounds into the audience. Alex Teves, 24, also died saving his girlfriend. Alex’s father attended the alleged gunman’s first court appearance and sat in the front rows of the courtroom: “It’s not about him. I just wanted to see him and I wanted to see there’s people who care and aren’t afraid of him,” Tom Teves said. Alex Sullivan was turning 27 and celebrating by going to the midnight movie. Anderson spoke with his father, who siad, “He was my best buddy in the whole world.” And the youngest victim’s babysitter tried to save her. Kaylan, 13, attempted to help 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan after she was shot by placing her hand on her ribcage to see if she was breathing: “I felt like it was partly my job to protect her. She was just a child,” she said. Rebecca Wingo, 32, was a mother of two and had served in the Air Force for 11 years. Her best friend Kate Wodahl told Anderson that Wingo was “vibrant” and “was always there for anyone that needed her, all the time.”

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July 26th, 2012
07:54 PM ET

Letters to the President #1284: 'Olympic fever'

Reporter's Note: President Obama gets a letter from me each day. I have yet to receive a reply, but I’m pretty sure this could be the week.

Dear Mr. President,

Well, it has happened already, and I never would have expected it. I have Olympic fever.

I was not sure it would happen this time around. Over the years, I have become a gold medal cynic when it comes to the Five Circle Games. The steadily growing role of professional athletes has spoiled the so called “amateur” contests for me a bit. I often find myself thinking back to the days when I was a child and the competitors were…well, they were pretty much professionals back then too, but at least they hid it better.

Anyway, I was all set to be less than enthralled by this summer’s games, and yet this afternoon I stumbled across one of the soccer matches on TV, and before I knew it I was hooked. Of course I enjoy cheering on U.S. teams, but now I’ll probably watch any contest between any two nations.

I suppose part of it is the sheer uniqueness of it all. How many times a year can you find fencing, or rowing, or weightlifting, or ping pong even on ESPN 6? (Actually, I’m not sure there is an ESPN 6, but you get my point…) Some of my favorite Olympic moments usually revolve around some obscure contest I watch in the middle of the night, like fish tossing, or slap fighting.

And now I am poised once again to drink it all in. If I were President, I would be next to useless for the new few weeks. I’d hop Air Force One over to GB and go to every contest I could find. Probably not the best plan for the nation, but I sure would enjoy it.

Call if you can.

Regards,
Tom

Tonight on AC360: Questionable charity donations
July 26th, 2012
05:11 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Questionable charity donations

After trying for months to take a first-hand look at the source of those donations sent around the nation by the Disabled National Veterans Foundation, we were finally allowed exclusive access to a small company based in South Carolina whose owner says he is proud of what he does.

The company is called Charity Services International and on the day we visited, we saw a lot of bottled water ready for shipment. We also saw candy—boxes and boxes of M&M’s and Three Musketeers. And we saw carton after carton of hand sanitizer and suntan lotion. We also saw hundreds of “Rambo” T-shirts.

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July 26th, 2012
01:07 PM ET

3D software recreates Aurora crime scene

Investigators can use sophisticated technology to analyze complicated crime scenes with multiple victims. CBS' John Miller explains how it works.

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