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Valley Public Radio Staff
Sun July 22, 2012
Tragedy In Colorado: The Latest
Originally published on Sun July 22, 2012 8:12 am
-- President Obama is headed to Aurora today to meet with the families of the victims. Obama, reports USA Today, is also scheduled to meet with state and local officials.
-- By evening, Aurora Police said that "all hazards" had been removed from the suspect's apartment. Residents in surrounding buildings were allowed to return home after law enforcement conducted a controlled detonation.
-- The Aurora Coroner released a full list of the victims who were killed. We've collected them on a separate post along with short biographies.
-- A vigil is scheduled 6:30 p.m. Mountain Time.
-- Police discarded reports that a second person was involved in the shootings. The Denver Post reports that the Aurora Police Department interviewed an associate of the suspected shooter James Holmes.
"There is no reason to believe that he is involved," the police department said.
On Friday, a gunman walked into a midnight screening of the latest Batman film The Dark Knight Rises and opened fire. Police suspect 24-year-old James Holmes first threw either tear gas, smoke or a chemical irritant of some kind into the theater, then used three weapons to shoot into the crowd.
Twelve were killed, another 58 people were injured and at least seven of those were in critical condition by yesterday afternoon.
We will keep tabs on the story as the progresses. So click refresh to read the latest updates.
Update at 10:43 a.m. ET. 'A Human Problem':
As we said earlier, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was on Meet the Press. He said that as far as he has heard there is "not an iota" of evidence as to a motive.
Hickenlooper was asked if Colorado should revisit its gun laws after the incident.
He said that debate was already happening. But, he said, this is a "human issue."
"How are we not able to identify someone who is so deeply, deeply disturbed?" the governor said. He said that even if the country had stricter gun laws someone with that kind of "diabolical" mind would have found another way to inflict harm.
Hickenlooper ended the interview by saying, "We're not going to let this son of gun win."
He opened the interview by quoting Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms:
"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places."
Update at 10:16 a.m. ET. 'By Any Standard' He Was 'Normal':
Steve Hogan, the mayor of Aurora, said there were no signs that anything was wrong with the suspect, James Holmes.
"He appeared to everyone to be a very normal ... intelligent man," Hogan said on ABC News' This Week. "He just by any standard appeared normal."
Hogan was asked if Holmes had any friends in Colorado.
Hogan said he did and those people said they weren't concerned about him. But obviously, he said, "something very seriously wrong" happened.
But, the mayor said, "we can't let this guy win. We have to start healing."
Update at 9:55 a.m. ET. 'Diabolical, Demonic'
In an interview with NBC's Meet The Press, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said suspected shooter James Holmes was uncooperative.
Here are a few quotes via the twitter feed of Betsy Fischer Martin, the show's executive producer:
"CO Gov on James Holmes: 'He is actually lawyered up. He is at this point not cooperating.' @meetthepress"
"Co Gov on James Holmes: 'we're getting through this but we still can't get into the mind of this twisted, really delusional individual' #MTP"
"More CO Gov on Holmes: 'He was diabolical. Demonic in this twisted sense. I mean, I think of him almost as a terrorist.'"
Update at 9:21 a.m. ET. Detonating Chemicals:
After police removed the hazardous chemicals from the suspect's apartments, they were taken to an undisclosed location in Arapahoe County, the local CBS affiliate in Denver reports.
There, authorities buried them and performed a "counter charge." Two big explosions can been seen in the chopper footage posted by station.
Update at 8:58 a.m. ET. Had Just Learned To Swim:
The Denver Post has a heartbreaking profile of Veronica Moser, the youngest victim.
She was vibrant and "beautiful and innocent," her great aunt told the paper. She was also a great comfort to her grandfather, who passed away two months ago.
The Post reports that Moser, 6, had just learned to swim.
Update at 8:50 a.m. ET. A Makeshift Memorial:
Near the Aurora Town Center Century 16 entrance, KABC reports, the community has setup a makeshift memorial. The station reports that a large crowd began gathering on Saturday, just hours after police declared they had cleared all hazards from the suspect's apartment.
Some were hugging, others were crying, reported KABC. "Some people left candles, others stuffed animals. Children could be seen holding American flags as mourners sang songs. A sign read, '7/20. Gone Not Forgotten.'"
Westword, the alternative weekly in Denver, was at that memorial. They report that in speeches, the Columbine tragedy from 1999 was a constant reference. Tom Mauser, the father of a victim from that high school shooting, addressed the crowd.
"The way people reached out meant so much to us," he said according to the paper. "That's why I'm here today."