I woke up this morning in a pretty good mood. Its Friday........the end of the work week, and a start for a new weekly schedule for me that I have been looking forward too. I called my husband when I got up this morning, just like I always do, and I got the news......... " Did you hear about the shooting in Aurora"
The first thing I could think of.....was "who lives in Aurora that I know"........a lot of people. I was frantic to get online and see what was going on. My next thought was......."My Mom passes that sign every day when she goes to work!" She told me that her phone has been going off with updates from the hospital all morning. Making it hard for her to push back her feelings about everything long enough to get ready for work.
It is 10:30am right now, and my morning from 7:00am until now has been filled with anxiety, relief, anger, despair, and numbness. My hands wont stop shaking, and I still cant figure out if it is because of fear or anger or both.
I'm not one to preach at people. I believe that everyone has their own beliefs and that within those beliefs everyone has the potential for good and bad. But this.........this I don't get. I'm angry for children being out so late......but then, its the parent's right. I'm angry at the shooter........and can not understand why.
I would NEVER condone anything like this......but with some of these types of events there is a "target". Perhaps is a school full of classmates for making you feel unwanted and worth less than you are. Or a workplace full of CEO's that just laid you off........what ever the reason, they usually find the "target". But this.........a movie theater filled with children, teens, adults.........how can this possibly have a "target". It makes a senseless act, that much more tragic........because you can not even find a backward sense of reasoning behind it.
Please don't misunderstand me.......wrong is wrong.......but this feels almost worse! This........is just.........I don't even have words. A 6 year old was hurt........shot in the back.......I don't even know if she has lived.
I just can not even comprehend it!!!
Suspect in custody, 12 dead in Aurora movie theater shooting, suspect named James Holmes
AURORA - There is one suspect in custody after 12 people were shot and killed at the Century 16 Movie Theaters at the Aurora Town Center. There were at least 50 people injured, according to Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates. Oates says 10 died at the theater and two died at the area hospital.
The new Batman movie called "The Dark Knight Rises" was opening at the theater during the shooting.
NBC News has confirmed through two federal sources the shooting suspect's name is James Holmes. He is 24 years old.
Police say Holmes "appeared" at the front of one of the theaters, threw some type of gas or explosive device and started shooting. Police recovered a rifle, a handgun and a gas mask when they arrive on the scene. Another gun was discovered later inside the theater. Holmes was wearing a bulletproof vest, according to federal authorities.
Holmes, after being captured by police, told authorities he had explosive materials in his apartment. The police went to Homes' apartment building at East 17th Avenue and Peoria Street in Aurora and evacuated the building immediately as a precautionary measure.
Police are searching Holmes' apartment to confirm that claim. 9NEWS is waiting to hear more information to see if they discovered any explosives in his apartment.
9NEWS Reporter Jeremy Jojola interviewed two eyewitnesses who were in the theater when the shooting started.
"I saw a man walk in through the exit," one eyewitness told Jojola. "[He] looked like he had a gas mask on."
The witnesses say he threw a two gas canisters into the theater after busting down the door. The witnesses said no one reacted at first - thinking he was a stunt for the movie.
"He looked so calm when he did it," the eyewitness said. "It was like scary. He waited for both the bombs to explode before he did anything. Then, after both of them exploded, he began to shoot."
The witnesses said he - at first - fired into the air and then started shooting towards the people.
"He had no specific target. He just started letting loose," the eyewitness said.
Both witnesses said one of the scariest parts was the shooter didn't say a word.
"Honestly, I thought I was gonna get shot," the eyewitness said. "I thought there was no way I was going to get out of there without getting shot."
Another eyewitness spoke to 9NEWS Reporter Brandon Rittiman about the mass shooting.
"It was a shootout scene," Alex Milano, who was in the movie theater next to the one where the shooting took place, said. "There were guns firing. Then, loud bangs came from the right of the theater. Smoke took over the entire theater and everything, and it was really thick. No one could really see anything."
Milano told Rittiman he and her sister thought the shooter was part of the movie.
"Me and my sister and my friends were wondering what was going on," Milano said. "Then, at that point, I saw something come through the wall. Multiple objects flew through the wall. I saw holes in the wall."
People slowly started to get up out of their seats and evacuate, Milano said.
"People stood up and started checking themselves," Milano said. "A couple of people were walking away, holding areas. I heard moaning like they were in pain. That's when I started to get worried."
Even at that point, Milano said there was mass confusion in the theater.
"We didn't really know something was happening until someone came [in] from the left entrance and told us we shouldn't go outside because there was a guy with a gun out there," Milano said.
Milano said he walked out of the theater and instantly smelled the tear gas bomb in the nearby theater.
"It was very thick, and it was choking me," Milano said. "I couldn't breathe at all. That's when the alarm started to sound, and that's when we knew things were serious. As soon as the alarm sounded, everyone stood up and started to make their way to the exit."
Milano said, at that point, he started to talk to witnesses who were in theater 9.
"I don't want to upset anybody by anything I say, but I don't think anyone should be kept in the dark about what happened," Milano told Rittiman. "The witness in theatre 9 was a young woman. I had asked her if she saw anything or if anything happened. What she described, at first, I didn't translate well because it sounded like madness to me. She said a man taller then her kicked through the door, and she said he was in a riot helmet. She said he had a bulletproof vest on. She said he was completely covered in black with guns. She said, after that point when she saw he was holding a gun, her and her boyfriend dropped to the floor and started to crawl to see if they could get away. They got up and started to run through the emergency exit. She said that when she turned around, all she saw was the guy slowly making his way up the stairs and just firing ... just picking random people."
Milano saw people coming out of the theater injured.
"I saw at least four or five people limping, wounded [and] slightly bloody," Milano said. "The most that I saw was a girl who was covered in blood, and she didn't have any wounds on her. It made me think the worst."
Milano says he also saw a little girl who looked extremely injured.
"A cop came walking through the door carrying a little girl in his arms and she wasn't moving. The really messed up part to me was [another witness] told whoever that she was talking to that she saw bullet holes in the little girl's back. I honestly can't think of any person who would intentionally hurt a little girl, so unfortunately, I think she just got caught in the crossfire."
Milano says his sister grabbed his arm and wanted to leave immediately.
"It was terrifying," Milano said. "As the older brother, you tell yourself over and over again, 'Don't lose your mind, don't lose your head. Keep calm and keep stress free so that you can help the ones who can't.' My little sister, unfortunately, was one of those. She was in tears, shaking, gripping as tight as she could to my arm and not letting go. Where I went, she wanted to be close to me. It is the scary thought that runs through your mind that you know you have to do everything you can do keep her safe, and at the same time you are worrying about everyone else."
Nicole Williams, with Swedish Medical Center, says the hospital was alerted to a mass casualty incident at 1:15 a.m. Friday.
Williams says the hospital was told to prepare for at least 20 patients. University Hospital confirmed to 9NEWS the youngest patient they have in their care is 3 months old. That baby's condition is unknown at this time. Hospital officials say the baby was not shot, but was taken into the hospital as a precautionary measure after the shooting.
"This is ridiculous," the eyewitness told Jojola. "We really want to know what was the point of it? There's no sense to it. We have no idea what to make of it. He's shooting little kids, he's shooting adults, he's shooting our friends we went to school with. It's just sad."
Both of the eyewitnesses grew up going to this movie theater.
"It was just a terrible sight," the eyewitness said.
Watch the full interview with two eyewitnesses below:
People started to flock to the theater once they learned about the shooting - checking to see if their friends and family were OK.
"We've been saying for a long time, this theater is not the safest theater in Aurora," one witness told 9NEWS Reporter Kevin Torres. "But when we go see movies here - I came to see Men in Black III [the other day] - there were two or three officers up front all the time. How are you supposed to know who's the bad guy and who's the good guy when something like this happens."
The witness said he knew a 12-year-old who was going to see the movie at the theater.
"All I know is the 12-year-old is OK," the witness said. "I'm not sure if he was in the theaters, but we know that he came to see the movie. I know he was taken to Gateway High School."
The Aurora Town Center is in the 14000 block of East Alameda Avenue in Aurora.
The FBI responded to the shooting to investigate further. Officers and deputies responded from almost every local police and sheriffs' department in the metropolitan area.
"Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come," President Barack Obama said about the shooting.
"Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took ... lives ... in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice," GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said about the shooting.
9NEWS has crews on scene. This article will be updated as more information is confirmed.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)