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Aurora Officers Recount Bloody Theater Shooting

January 07, 2013  | 

Screenshot via CBS News.
Screenshot via CBS News.

At a preliminary hearing Monday for suspected theater shooter James Holmes, three Aurora (Colo.) Police officers recounted the carnage they encountered after responding to the July massacre.

Holmes faces the death penalty for allegedly killing 12 people and wounding 58 others during a July 20 shooting rampage.

The officers described theater patrons covered in blood, critically wounded children, and the evacuation operation.

During testimony Monday, Officer Jason Oviatt described first encountering Holmes. Oviatt thought Holmes was a tactical officer because of the way he was dressed, but then realized he wasn't rushing toward Theater 9. Oviatt then handcuffed Holmes and searched him. He found two knives and a semi-automatic handgun on top of Holmes' car. An ammunition magazine fell out of his pocket and Oviatt found another on the ground, reports the New York Times.

Officer Oviatt said Holmes seemed "very, very relaxed" and didn't seem to have "normal emotional reactions" to things. "He seemed very detached," he said.

In his testimony, Officer Justin Grizzle described encountering the handcuffed Holmes outside the theater and asking if there was anyone with him. Holmes gave Grizzle "a smirk" before the officer entered the theater, reports the Denver Post.

Another officer who testified, Sgt. Gerald Jonsgaard, said he saw patrons inside the theater cowering in the first two rows of seats.

The officers described evacuating wounded, bleeding patrons to their patrol cars and driving them to Medical Center of Aurora South.

On Tuesday, FBI and ATF special agents detailed the two elaborate, deadly booby traps set by Holmes in his apartment as a distraction to draw law enforcement away from the theater, reports the Denver Post.

Earlier Tuesday, 911 calls from inside Theater 9 were played in court.

Tags: 2012 Aurora Shooting, Aurora (Colo.) PD, Death Penalty Cases, Active Shooters, Officer Court Testimony


Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

naynaybeme @ 1/8/2013 3:43 AM

I want him to get the lethal injection after spending plenty of time in general population and the showers!

Trestles @ 1/8/2013 7:33 AM

While I would agree with you, I feel this guy has no grasp on reality anymore and no 'benefit' would come from being in general population, etc, it would probably just increase his inability to realize the impact of his actions. Just send him on his way and give thoughts to the families who have lost loved ones.

Marshal @ 1/8/2013 1:05 PM

I don't see why they need to waste so much money on this nut job. He did it and either way he isn't fit for society. Lock his ass up for life and call it good. Let's face it if he is given the death penalty he will probably die in jail before they get around to carrying out the sentance anyway.

mtpgman @ 1/9/2013 5:55 AM

Since we all know that the wheels of justice turn slowly, and it will be several years before Holmes meets his fate, there exists a rare opportunity here, and I hope someone takes advantage of it: active shooters almost universally die in the process. They either reach a point where they are spent and take their own life, or they keep shooting until we put them down.

If he would be willing to talk openly and frankly, or if the interviewer is good enough to wade through the b/s, it could give us some insight into the mindset of these types of offenders. I think we have ample proof that these types of crimes are going to continue. It would be helpful to know what brought this idiot and the others like him to this point in their life, and to identify any recognizable red flags that could help us prevent more disasters like this one.

Kudos to Officer Oviatt for recognizing something was off and not just blowing past this guy. The only ways this could have been worse was if this idiot got away or if he back-shot a bunch of officers as they went in.

Lt.Nus @ 1/9/2013 10:05 AM

I'm venting more than anything else but, tell me why we should lock this guy up for the next ten to thirty years while his attorneys fight to stave off the death penalty? The thought of how much money is going to be spent to keep him alive and comfortable with cable T.V. and such makes me want to vomit.

Where the hell is the justice for the poor victims and society as a hole? This either ends with him in an institution forever or DOC for many years wasting millions of dollars. Either way society foots the bill. My apologies for sounding like a raving madman but this is stupid.

Trigger @ 2/26/2013 7:48 AM

Lt.Nus you are not a raving madman but a concerned tax paying citizen. Justice will prevail, maybe not in this life but he will receive his just penance.

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