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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
12 Dead, 59 Injured in Colorado Theater Mass Shooting
Aired July 20, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm Anderson Cooper coming to you live from Aurora, Colorado.
There is obviously a lot happening right now. Including efforts to defuse or blow up what may be a booby trapped apartment about four miles from my location right here near the movie theater where this massacre took place, the suspect's apparent apartment.
And new details tonight about the man police say committed last night's mass shooting here in Aurora Colorado, seen as one of the nation's worst mass shooting.
But before we go any further, those kind of breaking developments, while important, obscure our view of the people who are truly at the center of what has happened here, not the suspect whose name we will tell you and we will tell you what we know about him coming up. But the 71 people he's accused of attempting to kill, 12 who have died.
We know only one so far by name. This woman, Jessica Ghawi, a journalist and blogger who also went by the name of Jessica Redfield. She narrowly escaped a similar but less deadly shooting last month in Toronto. She was only 24-years-old. I'm going to talk to her brother shortly tonight in the hour ahead.
She's the only fatality identified so far. We would tell you more of their names, more of who they were, because we think it's important tonight to focus on the victims in this. Yes, we'll tell you about the shooter and, yes, we'll talk about how he got access to weapons. But all those kinds of debates perhaps can wait at least for though hour. We want to focus on the victims and those who have survived.
There were military personnel as well in the theater, in theater number nine, at the Century 16 complex last night. One sailor's unaccounted for, presumably killed, along with ten others. Their families either have or will be notified. They'll be mourned and their stories told. So many -- so many stories will emerge tonight of survival, of loss, of the tragically fine and utterly random line between the two, the fine line between good and bad fortune, between hugging a loved one who made it out safely and burying one who didn't.
People who spent the day at a police staging area in a high school nearby, not knowing if their son or daughter, mother, father, was dead or alive, waiting for word. Hours ago, we were told that the ten victims who were killed inside that theater were still inside the theater. We haven't got be any updates of that. So, for all we know right now, they are still there, inside theater number nine.
There were a lot -- there's a lot to get you up to date. Take a look at this.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
COOPER: People quickly realized what initially appeared to be some kind of promotional stunt for the Batman premiere, that's what some people thought. They were watching a promotional stunt. It was in fact a shooting, what turned into a massacre.
We'll tell as best we can the suspect's story, searching for clues to what motivated James Holmes. Authorities say that suit up in body armor, grab tear gas and unleash three firearms and shoot 71 people and leave a booby trapped apartment rigged to explode for authorities to defuse. And that's what they are trying to do right now. Our Randi Kaye is there and we'll take you there shortly.
We'll tell you who the suspect is. A guy who told police he was the Joker. But apparently dyed his hair red. We'll tell you where he bought the weapons he allegedly used, how he became the mass murder, authorities now say, he is, at least what we know.
We're going to look at how this story fits with and differs from what we've come to expect. And how people here are coping nationwide. Flags are flying at half-staff. This is a state, a country, in mourning. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney have suspended campaigning for the moment, campaigning for the day. The president was awakened about 5:30 with the news. Spoke about it earlier this morning. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will take every step possible to ensure the safety of all of our people. We're going to stand by our neighbors in Colorado during this extraordinarily difficult time. I had a chance to speak with the mayor of Aurora as well as the governor of Colorado to express not just on behalf of Michelle and myself but the entire American family how heartbroken we are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A short time later, Mitt Romney offered his condolences.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Each one of us will hold our kids a little closer, linger a bit longer with a colleague or a neighbor, reach out to a family member or friend. We'll all spend a little less time thinking about the worries of our day. And more time wondering about how to help those who are in need of compassion most. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that sentiment and the president's, they both speak volumes. And we are going to our best tonight to honor them as we bring you late developments throughout the hour and throughout the night.
I want to start though, just after midnight last night. What we know about what happened inside theater nine. Take a look.
COOPER (voice-over): It's about 12:30 a.m., 20 minutes or so into the sold-out premiere of "the dark knight rises." A gunman dressed head to toe in bullet proof gear and a gas mask, drills a canister what may have been a teargas into the room through the exit door which he propped open earlier after purchasing a ticket to the movie and sneaking out of the theater. The canister ignites causing confusion among theater goers who don't yet realize the danger they're in.
DONOVAN TATE, WITNESS: When this popping started happening, I thought it was fireworks, like someone playing a prank or joke or something, you know, but then some smoke started rising in the lower right corner of the theater.
COOPER: Witnesses say the gunman enters the theater, first fired at the ceiling, then turns his gun on the crowd.
JENNIFER SEEGER, WITNESS: When he went straight for the air, he came down with his gun in my face. He was about three feet away from me at that point. In that instant, I honestly didn't know what to do. I was terrified.
COOPER: The terror spreads. Eyewitness described the gunman as, quote, "calmly firing into the crowd."
CHRIS RAMOS, WITNESS: Somehow, I got my little sister. I grab her. Then we just go down on the ground. Hiding below, like, the chairs. And the guy's just standing right by the exit, just firing away. He's not aiming at a specific person. He's just aiming everywhere. Trying to hit as many people as he can. All I remember is, like, I was down be the ground. I was covering myself. Right when I was going up, like the tear gas was getting me. My eyes were, like, watery. I was, like, crying, like a girl felt weird. And I felt like I was bleeding from my nose. Like it was hard to breathe. So, I kept on going down. Like ducking down. Telling my sister to go forward. Pushing her forward. Where there's like guys, girls, running on top of me, jumping away from the seats, just trying to escape it the guy was firing. Like the shooting lasted probably like a minute or two minutes.
COOPER: The gunman doesn't discriminate. Children are also shot. This mother's wounded in the leg as she tried to escape the gunfire with her 4-month-old son and 4-year-old daughter. PATRICIA LEGARETTA, WITNESS: I just grabbed the baby and I just drugged -- I just grabbed my daughter and just got her out as fast as I could and just ran out. I didn't turn around. I didn't look behind me. I just got out. Then there was a moment where my daughter -- tripped and I just pulled her up, dragging her, just thinking, we got to get out. I just got to get out the doors. Even if I just fall dead, just get my kids out here. It was -- it was just so horrible.
COOPER: At 12:39 a.m. the first calls come into 911.
911 FEMALE DISPATCHER: 315 and 314, first shooting at Century Theaters 14 300 East Alameda Avenue. They're saying somebody's shoot in the auditorium.
COOPER: Police arrive within 90 seconds to soon learn that 71 people have been wounded. The cell phone video shows panicked and bloody victims streaming out of the theater. Inside, ten people are dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE POLICE: We need rescue inside the auditorium, multiple victims.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE POLICE: I got seven down in theater nine! Seven down!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE POLICE: I've got a child victim. I need rescue at the back door, theater nine, now.
COOPER: Two more victims later die at the hospital. Bringing the death toll so far to 12.
TATE: There was this one guy who was on all fours crawling, there was this girl spitting up blood. There were bullet holes in some people's backs, some people's arms. There was this one guy who was stripped down to like his Boxers. It looked like he had been shot, like, in the back.
COOPER: While the police and emergency workers helped the victims, the suspect is spotted standing by a white car in the parking lot of the theater.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE POLICE: I need a marked car behind the theater stable side, the suspect in a gas mask. Everyone, hold the air, one second. Cars where that white car in the rear of the lot is that our suspect?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE POLICE: Yes! We've got rifles, gas masks. He's detained right now. I've got an open door going into the theater.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE POLICE: OK, hold that position, hold your suspect!
COOPER: Within seven minutes of the first 911 call, the gunman surrenders to police. He's identified as 24-year-old James Holmes. A student in the process of withdrawing from the University of Colorado's neuroscience Ph.D. program. Holmes, who lives just four miles from the movie theater, tells police he's left a bomb in his third floor apartment.
DANIEL OATES, CHIEF POLICE, AURORA POLICE DEPARTMENT: We are not sure what we're dealing with in the home. They appear to be incendiary devices. There are some chemical elements there and there are also some incendiary elements. They're linked together with all kinds of wires. It's a lay man. It's not something I've ever seen before.
COOPER: Police won't speculate on a motive for Holmes who's now in custody awaiting his first court appearance on Monday.
COOPER: Obviously, the theater now over my shoulder is closed off. Police are still scouring it. And nearby, as I said about four miles from here at the suspect's apartment, there was also another police cordon where they -- bomb units are on the scene. They're very carefully trying to figure out how to defuse whatever devices may be inside Mr. Holmes apartment. Our Randi Kaye's there. We'll go to her shortly.
This is happening though, in a city recently named as one of the ten safest in the country where some are taken as a sign of America's ongoing epidemic of violence, however you want to interpret it. In fact, it simply underscores deranged acts of mass murder can and do happen anywhere. Whether it's a massacre at a youth camp in Norway, the shooting in a mall in Toronto, a school shooting at Columbine, or last night this, last night here.
Joining me now are two survivors, Emma Goos and Marcus Weaver. Both of whom were in theater number nine. Where were you sitting when the gunman came?
EMMA GOOS, EYEWITNESS: We were sitting close to the emergency exit that he entered in. We were about four rows back on the flatter plain of the theater because it's split into two sections. The raised section and the very front.
COOPER: So, what did you first see?
GOOS: We saw him kick off the door and then take a couple steps forward and sort of plant his feet very wide apart and look around. All in the span of like three seconds.
COOPER: Did you see him in a gas mask?
GOOS: Yes, he was wearing a gas mask, wearing the full armor. He had arm pads and leg pads. And he was taking very wide steps because of that. He seemed to be struggling with all the weight. I saw the huge gun he was carrying. And the canister of gas that he lobbed over the audience.
COOPER: And Marcus, where were you sitting, what did you see? MARCUS WEAVER, EYEWITNESS: When he first came out, after the smoke bomb, I went across the theater and it hit the other side and it was smoking and smelling. We all thought maybe it was a, you know, a prank or something that went along with the movie. Then, the next two shots like hit the front row. Almost like it hit the iron. Made like it was fireworks. And then the barrage of shots started changing out. And all you could see is the dust from the -- the smoke bomb or the -- the spray. And just him shooting and just this white light and this huge, like, boom, boom, boom. And it went of six to eight times.
And so at that point, my friend Rebecca and the people next to me, we ducked for cover. And we were behind -- just a little -- it would seem like it was only like six inches of seat from the next step down in the stadium seating. So we just held on for dear life, hoping the bullets didn't hit us. But it was hitting chairs. It was hitting people. People are topping over us.
COOPER: When did you realize you had been hit?
WEAVER: I didn't realize I was hit till actually I got outside, but --
COOPER: So you didn't feel the bullet enter you?
WEAVER: No, I think I had such an adrenaline rush till I got outside and everybody was coming, are you injured, are you injured?
COOPER: Because your shirt was bloody?
WEAVER: Yes, I got sprayed with some bullets right there.
COOPER: And how is your arm now? Obviously, it is --
WEAVER: Well, it's got -- still got the two holes right there, where they entered and I thought it might have --.
COOPER: This is where the bullet entered?
WEAVER: Fortunate it didn't enter anywhere else because it had done some damaged. And then, the shrapnel still like on my shoulder right here.
COOPER: So, shrapnel still inside your shoulder?
COOPER: Are they going to take that out?
WEAVER: They said they're going to wait. Because it's a complicated surgery because of the muscle. So, I might never heal. They might not be able to repair it.
COOPER: How was your friend?
WEAVER: My friend, she's still missing. Her name is Rebecca Wingo. And there was a report somewhere between on good will where they were looking on the internet, her friend and family and her dad has called me. And so, they've been search in the hospitals. And she's yet to be found.
What happened was when we got up off the ground, there was a moment where he stopped shooting. And so I picked her up and she had blood all over her face. And her body was bloodied. She was unconscious. So, I tried to pick her up with my left hand and get her through the row but there were people trampling over the seating coming down. There were people in my aisle who were, like, laying down, injured, dead, crying. I mean, it was awful. So I ended up tripping and then had to set her down. And then, at that point, I realized once he started shooting again, that's when probably I might have got the injury because when I was laying down, I was on this side where the bullets were coming so it had to be during that period. Then I ran out and there were three other movies trying to merge to get out the door. It was just a mess when --
COOPER: Emma, you actually went into theater number eight. How did you -- what happened when you realized what was going on?
GOOS: Like Marcus said, I thought it was a joke at first. I thought it was a prank being pulled by maybe the theater because he came in through the emergency exit. So I thought he needed some key from the staff. Once I realized it wasn't --
COOPER: He apparently had come in with all of you, with the audience and then had left and left the door ajar, that's the latest report.
GOOS: Yes, and during that pause, everyone on the lower part of the theater had hit the floor. And in that pause that we heard -- because it was just rapid gunfire and then suddenly it was silence for about 15 seconds and everyone bolted for the exit as fast as they could.
COOPER: Did -- there's a report from the police his hair had been dyed red. That he said he is the Joker. Did you see his hair though?
GOOS: No, he was covered head to toe in an armor. He was wearing like a riot mask and a helmet and a gas mask and he had goggles underneath the gas mask so even if you saw through the Plexiglas, you wouldn't be able to see, make out anything --
COOPER: And when you got outside, you actually tried to help other people?
GOOS: Yes, I got separated from all my friends. I didn't know what to do. And I was on my way over to where we had parked the car hoping that we would meet there. And on my way there, the first responders, the very first police squad cars to arrive there, the police just jumped out and ran straight into the theater. And there was a man who was asking the police to help him. And he was absolutely covered in blood. His whole face and his whole arm. He was asking for help but no one stopped to help him. And I thought well, I have to at least talk to him. I'm not trained in paramedics at all but I should talk to him. And I went over and he had been hit in the head.
I thought he was just grazed because there was only a small scratch. But when I looked again, I realized that it was very, very swollen and there seemed to be discolored tissue. So I don't know if -- if the bullet penetrated his skull or anything but I told him he need to put pressure on the wound. I don't know if that was right to tell him. I was trying to calm him down. He said he couldn't feel his arm. He was panicking. I told him, you know, it's OK, you're all right. There's not a hole in your skull. He kept saying, is there a hole in my head, is there a hole in my head, and I --
COOPER: How are your friends?
GOOS: My friends are all OK, thank God. The six of us were in a group. And miraculously, we found each other. Two of them ran from the theater to my house which is about two miles away. And we thought they were dead. Again, we were, like, twenty feet away from the gunmen. And then, when he started moving up the aisle, we were maybe five feet away from him. And so, I thought for sure that they were gone. It was absolute pandemonium.
COOPER: How are you both holding up? I mean, I know you haven't had any sleep, it's been --
WEAVER: I haven't been able to sleep. I've been, you know, just thinking about everything that's happened and about my friend, who we have yet to contact. Lots of family and friends have been calling, you know, and I'm thankful for my family back in Virginia and my family here. I'm just thankful. You know, I thank the Lord I'm alive and I know that, like, even through all this, that we can grow, still, as a community and maybe this will be a binding force for us because something just -- its sinister as evil like that, I mean, it makes you afraid to even go to the movie theater which is something we all were enjoying. We were all clapping at the beginning of the previews, remember, and at the start of the movie. It was young kids there. There were kids ages 13 through 25. And they'd probably been saving up money the whole summer to go to this movie or waiting for this one event at midnight where their parents let them go. And now it's just -- it's just -- its destroyed.
COOPER: It says something about both of you and so many of the people in the theater that in the midst of this horror you reached out to try to help your friend and you reached out to help a stranger. I just want to thank you for talking to us. I'm so glad you guys are OK.
GOOS: Thank you.
COOPER: All right, stay strong.
We've talked to so many people and heard from so many people like Marcus and like Emma who were able to get out. And who immediately tried to turn and help others. And these first responders who got to the scene really quickly.
And as you heard from Emma, saying rushed directly right into the theater. There are a lot of people whose bravery we want to talk about tonight.
Let us know what you think about this. Follow me on twitter right now @andersoncooper. I have been tweeting about this all day long. Join the conversation on our blog at ac360.com.
As we told you earlier, police say the suspect turned his apartment into a time bomb. Efforts are still under way right now to defuse it. We're going to take you to that scene. Four hours from now - four miles from here. Live pictures you're looking at. We will talk to Randi Kaye who is on the scene. We have a live report from her, coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEGARETTA: I just remember thinking I'm not going to die in here. Me and my kids, we're not going to die in here, I need to get them out. All I could think is if I stand up, he's going to shoot, because that's what he was doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Welcome back. I'm coming to you live from Aurora, Colorado.
A state, frankly, in shock, in mourning at this hour. Still try to comprehend what occurred just over my shoulder at the movie theater earlier this morning.
Our breaking news tonight. The aftermath of the deadly shooting here in Aurora, Colorado. And the tricky effort you are looking at right here to try to defuse the suspect's booby trapped home. We don't know what kind of devices exactly are inside the home. This is occurring about four miles from the movie theater, my location. Four miles away is where the suspect, Mr. Holmes, lived.
Randi Kaye is near the apartment, a safe distance away. Police have obviously cord bed off the whole area. She joins us now.
Randi, what is going on there? What what's the latest?
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Anderson, I can tell you, they have this whole area taped off with crime scene tape so nobody can get too close to where this is all happening. But let me show you exactly the scene here that I'm talking about, the apartment.
There, on the third floor, is the apartment. You can tell there are some windows broken out. I'm going to take out my ear piece here just because I'm hearing myself a little bit. But I'll tell you what's happening.
Law enforcement said that this place is completely rigged, booby trapped. There are incendiary chemicals and devices inside. In fact, James Holmes told them when he was questioned in the parking lot that he had put some explosives, left some explosives there in his apartment. And boy, he wasn't kidding.
In fact, Anderson, it is so dangerous here, that they actually had to send in robots earlier today with tiny cameras to take a look at what's happening inside. And they found in the living room a web of trip wires. Attached to some of these incendiaries that could blow at any moment.
So, of course, they've evacuated here. There are about five buildings that they have evacuated. But they're still not really sure what they're dealing with. They want the tech experts to take a look, the explosive experts to take a look and see what they have. That could take days or it might take hours. But they want to know what they have before they send a human inside there. But they may actually have to use a robot to detonate what he has set up in there.
There were a lot of fire engines here earlier today. They had cranes going up to that window there on the third floor just trying to get a peek at what exactly was happening inside. But this guy apparently, according to law enforcement, knew what he was doing. And they believe that he targeted these first responder because he told them to come to his apartment. He told them there were explosives but he didn't tell them there were trip wires, Anderson.
COOPER: Interesting, Randi. We will continue to check in - check in with you throughout this hour. Also, we are going to be live, obviously, at the 10:00 hour with Randi with the latest.
Joining us know phone is an expert in dealing with exactly these kinds of situations. He is a retired FBI agent, Ray Lopez. He headed up the bureau's hazardous response unit.
Agent Lopez, appreciate you being with us. We saw agents go in with a response vehicle using a long pole with a camera at the end. What do you make of what's happening now?
RAY LOPEZ, RETIRED FBI AGENT (via telephone): Anderson, those bomb technicians were using that known as pole cam. It allows them to view this remotely.
COOPER: And we're told the suspect's apartment may be loaded down with booby traps. You're a bomb expert. You say there are three possible conditions a bomb expert has to consider. Try to lay those out for us.
LOPEZ: Well, the first one is victim activated. And we're seeing that now with the trip wires. The second one would be time. The individual in this case, the suspect, had left some kind of timed mechanism that if he was not to return to his apartment in 24, 48, 72 hours, whatever the time may be, the device would function via time as an anti-forensic or deny the police and the law enforcement the evidence they could recover in the apartment. And finally, the third one would be a command. But I think we can write that off given the fact he was a lone wolf, indicated he started he was a lone wolf. And more importantly, he has no access to a telephone or the internet or any kind of remote control items he could use to detonate it remotely.
COOPER: How much of an enemy is time right now for these bomb experts?
LOPEZ: Well, I'm watching the same video as I guess everybody else is. They're moving with a purpose. They're not moving recklessly of course. These guys are experts. They are very careful of they do. But they're moving with a purpose.
Again, a time is always your enemy till you absolutely know that time is no longer your enemy. And more importantly, they have what they can see and it is what it is as far as the bobby traps and the trip wires they're look at inside the house. So, they're going to take this little by little, slow as it goes. It's not a hostage situation or a victim is not in that apartment that needs to be rescued so they're going to go methodically through and try to do this correctly.
And again, the key future, there's no victim in there. If they have to use the robot to pre-detonate these things, they will, instead of putting someone in harm's way.
COOPER: So, is there a -- there's only so much I assume you can learn from something like a camera on a pole. I mean, do all -- can you definitely identify what a device is just visually? Or you have to send the robot in and see if something explodes?
LOPEZ: I think ultimately, you know, the next step would be, as you mentioned earlier, would be sending in the robot. And the, they're going to ultimately at the end of the day -- even after they do this, if they use the robot, they are going to have put a human being, a bomb technician, in that building to clear the rest of the apartment. Last thing they want to do is put in a forensic team or investigative -- into that apartment and not have cleared the apartment, putting these people in danger.
Again, these are the bomb tech experts. That's their job, is to make it safe, so the forensic evidence can be collected. So, they're going to handle this very carefully.
COOPER: Well, agent Ray Lopez, I appreciate your time. Thank you for your expertise and letting us know what you think, maybe going on.
Up next, you know, we've been trying to focus as much as possible on the victims. And frankly, a lot of the people's names have not been released. We're not going to speculate on people who may have been one of the 12 who with killed. We've talked tom so of the survivors.
We do want to tell you what we know about the alleged shooter, James Holmes. We'll have the latest developments ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
911 DISPATCHER: 315 and 314, there's at least one person that's been shot but they're saying there are hundreds of people just running around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: One of the young women killed in the theatre behind me was an aspiring sports caster. She was killed in theatre number nine. Just weeks ago, she escaped a deadly shooting at a mall and blogged about it. We're going to talk to her brother and find out about her life when we come back.
COOPER: We want to focus as much as possible on the victims, on the survivors, on the first responders who rushed into that theatre at great risk to themselves and apprehended that suspect just minutes after the 911 call came in.
But we do want to try to find out as much as possible about the suspect and his possible motives that we can at this point. I've told you his name, his name is James Holmes.
I'm trying not to use his name too much because frankly all too often I think in these kinds of situations we focus on the killer, on the shooter, and it's that person's name that is remembered weeks and months from now.
I think this person's name shouldn't be remembered. This person is ultimately not important, that the names of people should be remembered. Those who lost their lives here and the family members whose lives will be forever changed.
But what we know about the suspect, at this point, we know he's scheduled for a court appearance on Monday. That's going to be the first time he's actually scene in court.
Outside the theatre, the gas mask he allegedly wore along with head to toe body armor and police he went on this rampage, that was also found.
Drew Griffin's been looking into his alleged arsenal, his background, and how he became what police say he is. Drew, what do we know?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, when we come to these scenes and we've been before, we look for the obvious. YouTube rants, any kind of postings on Facebook, e- mails, court cases, ex-girlfriends who might have something to say.
We find nothing about this person that would point to anything that says why he did it.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): He'd been living not far from this movie theatre for the past year because it was also close to the University of Colorado Medical School where Holmes was a graduate student in neurosciences. According to the school, he was in the process of withdrawing as student last month. The school, frankly, won't tell us much about his grades, the classes he took or anything else.
We do know he did give a student lecture this past March on something called micro RNA biomarkers. If you look it up, it's about an emerging area of neuroscience, the study of nerves that relates to cancer research.
And the school says Holmes worked in a paid position there as well but no details. Before that, it was a middle upper class upbringing in California, high school in San Diego and undergraduate degree from the University of California in Riverside in 2010. School administrators there said he had an outstanding academic record.
TIMOTHY WHITE, CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA RIVERSIDE: He was an honor student. So academically, he was at the top of the top. You know, he really distinguished himself from an academic point of view during his four years with us, graduating with highest honors.
GRIFFIN: So how is this honor student, this PhD candidate, this budding neuroscientist, suddenly becoming a completely different person? Dressed and, according to police, armed to kill?
CHIEF DAN OAKES, AURORA, COLORADO POLICE DEPARTMENT: The suspect was dressed all in black. He was wearing a ballistic helmet, a tactical ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, a throat protector and a groin protector and a gas mask, and black tactical gloves.
GRIFFIN: Was the person delusional? Was there mental illness involved? As we try to piece this together, I want to share with you what New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly had released on what he learned of the suspect that may have a tie to the actual movie.
COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY, NYPD: We have some information I believe most of it is public. Clearly, he looks like a deranged individual. He had his hair painted red. He said he was the Joker.
GRIFFIN: Anderson, just like in the shooting in Tucson, Arizona, with the Congresswoman Giffords, just like in the shooting at Virginia tech. We're seeing plotting. We're seeing planning. We're seeing carrying out this act.
In those two cases the end result was mental insanity. Right now, we just don't have anything on this guy that would indicate any kind of reason behind this.
COOPER: We're going to talk to Congresswoman Gabby Gifford's husband, Mark Kelly, coming up shortly. When we talk about planning, did he buy these guns recently? Do we know?
GRIFFIN: We do know. We do know an incredible a lot because of the police work. He had four guns. We're going to show you what they looked like. These are not the guns, but he bought them all locally. Two at a bass pro shop in Denver. Two at a gun store in Aurora, a semiAR-15, A semi-assault rifle. It had a large magazine, 100 round magazine. A 12-gauge shotgun and then two Glock handguns, all of these legally purchased.
The owners of those shops say this guy passed the federal inspections. I want to show you something else, Anderson, that we've got just late this afternoon.
This is a receipt you're looking at of an online suspect, and I won't say his name based on what you said, Anderson. But he bought this tactical gear on July 2nd. He had it second day shipped to the apartment police are at right now.
It contained stuff like urban assault vests, a triple pistol magazine, an M-16 magazine pouch and something called a B-1 knife specifically all colored in black. That was on July 2nd. He had it shipped to his apartment.
COOPER: I guess for investigators, was he always planning to do it at this event, at the opening of this movie, or was he looking for some other target of opportunity? We don't know that at this point.
GRIFFIN: I think the receipt from July 2nd as news of this movie was really getting out, it could lead to an answer there.
COOPER: Drew, appreciate the reporting. We're going to continue to follow all the aspects of this.
So far, there hasn't been much information to come out about who the victims are. And I've gotten a lot of tweets from people saying we want to know about the people who lost their lives. I understand that.
We don't want to speculate. We only want to obviously talk about people whose names have been released, whose families have been notified and whose families we can actually talk to. Just out of respect for them, no one should find out their loved one has been injured or killed on the television.
But we do know about one young woman who was killed inside that movie theatre, Jessica Ghawi. She was just 24 years old, Jessica Ghawi.
I'm going to speak with her brother and we're going to learn a little bit about who Jessica was. About her life and what she was looking forward to in her life. That's coming up.
COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing live coverage from Aurora, Colorado. Tonight, Aurora's facing the same nightmare frankly that rocked Tucson, Arizona, last year where former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot. Her husband, Mark Kelly join us shortly. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Welcome back at our continuing coverage live from Aurora, Colorado. As we mentioned at the top of this program, the top of this hour. On a day like this, one of inexplicable violence, so much attention goes to the suspected gun -- everyone understandably wants to know who he was.
What possibly could have motivated him to carry out this attack? But tonight, we want to focus on the victims and the survivors and the first responders who risked their lives to try to help others.
We want to try to honor their lives and learn about their lives. We want to tell you about a young woman whose life was cut short by the massacre at this theatre.
Of the 12 that we know were killed here, we only know the name of one of the victims. Her name is Jessica Ghawi. She was a sister, a daughter, an aspiring sports reporter with by all accounts a wealth of potential.
In a moment, I'm going to speak with Jessica's brother who's here. But first, Poppy Harlow's here with a look at Jessica's life -- Poppy.
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: You know, what's interesting, Anderson, as you've said, this is the only victim that we have identified. The family of Jessica, I've been in touch with all day.
I spoke with her father this morning, and he told me, we hope her injuries are not that bad. So he was holding in his heart the hope she was alive. Her brother, Jordan, told me that indeed he had been told by the coroner's office that she passed away.
What I think is just even more disturbing about this is that Jessica was 24 years old and her alleged killer also just 24 years old. Take a listen and look and learn a little bit more about Jessica Ghawi's story.
HARLOW (voice-over): A fiery redhead, passionate about above all else in her personal and professional life her brother, Jordan, tells us. Just 24 years old, Jessica Ghawi beginning life on her own, an aspiring sports caster who lived in Denver and went by Jessica Redfield on the air.
(on camera): What do you want to tell the world about Jessica, your sister, who lost her life far too young?
JORDAN GHAWI, BROTHER OF VICTIM: I want her story to be told. I want her to be remembered and not this gunman. It's a tragedy, but we need to focus on the victims.
HARLOW: Jessica's grieving mother. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll never have her to hug again or get a text message again or get a funny Facebook picture. That's the hard part right now. Just knowing those are things I'm never going to get to experience again. I was blessed, only for 25 years, but I was blessed.
HARLOW: She moved from her Texas home to Denver after begging her parents to let her pursue her dream job. She'd been looking forward to this big night.
Jessica's close high school friend, Brent Lowic, was visiting her to, quote, "share a special screening of this Batman movie together." Brent's stepfather, Dan Green, told us.
Brent and Jessica were very close, he said. Brent was shot in the backside and also suffered shrapnel wounds. His stepfather says he's undergone surgery, but still has major injuries though is not in critical condition.
Active on Twitter, Jessica's last tweet came around midnight saying, movie doesn't start for 20 minutes. She had narrowly escaped tragedy just a month ago, a sad irony.
Her brother and friends tell us she was at the Eaton Centre Toronto Mall visiting her boyfriend, Jay, a Minor League Hockey player, when a shooting break out in the mall food court just three minutes after Jessica left it.
She recounted the horror on her blog. I was reminded that we don't know when or where our time on earth will end, when or where we will breathe our last breath. I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.
COOPER: That's Poppy Harlow reporting. Joining me now is Jordan Ghawi, Jessica's brother. Jordan, I don't even know. I'm so sorry for your loss and for your family's loss. How are you holding up?
GHAWI: I don't really have a choice. Right now, I'm just trying to be a pillar of strength for my family and our friends and try to decimate the information as we get it.
COOPER: You flew in from San Antonio where you live. You're a firefighter there. You got the first flight in you could. When did you find out what had happened?
GHAWI: I would estimate within ten minutes of the first shot.
GHAWI: From a victim that was with my sister.
COOPER: What do you want people to know about your sister? GHAWI: It's not just my sister. I want people to know about the 11 others and the others that had been shot. Specifically, my sister is her passion and what she stood for.
Her dreams cut short and how we're going to be able to try to sustain those dreams and push them forward. She was an asset to our family, an asset to her friend and an asset to her community.
COOPER: She dreamed of being a sports caster.
GHAWI: That's correct. She actually left everything she knew to San Antonio to come out her to pursue that dream.
COOPER: And she was doing well I think.
GHAWI: Yes, by all accounts, she was pushing forward and making the right contacts and getting her name out there.
COOPER: And she was big on Twitter. She was even tweeting just before the shooting.
GHAWI: Yes, 20 minutes, I believe before the shooting she sent out a tweet about how excited she was regarding the premiere.
COOPER: What have you been able to talk to -- have you been able to communicate with your parents?
GHAWI: Yes, immediately after receiving the phone call, went and saw my mother and saw my father before I left for Colorado. I've been in constant communication with them and more distant relatives throughout the day.
COOPER: Why do you want to talk? I mean, some people will kind of wonder in a time like this why people come forward. I always think it's because they want their loved one's life known.
GHAWI: People are questioning my use of social media and why I disseminate information that way. I've always been all about full transparency. I'm not going to sugar coat anything. I want the word out about my sister and her life.
And what happened as soon as possible, but I also don't want the media to be saturated with the shooter's name. The more air time these victims have, the less time that man gets his time on television.
I can tell you the shooter in Virginia Tech and Norway and not long ago here in Denver. I don't want that to happen here. I want the victims to be remembered rather than just this coward.
COOPER: I think you raise such an important point. I mean, I've said it. I really don't want to even use this guy's name very much. I don't think it should be known a month from now, a week from now or even tomorrow. I think it should be forgotten.
GHAWI: Of course, we're all going to speculate on a motive, but does it really matter? I'm personally going to focus on the victims and what we can do to keep those memories alive, rather than a coward with a rifle.
Who knows what causes or -- he has a manifesto, I don't care, I never want to hear about it. I don't want to hear his name. This is about the victims.
COOPER: What happens now? How do you -- what's your next step?
GHAWI: Bring her home. We want to bring her home and celebrate her life with family, friends and anybody she's somehow touched.
COOPER: Again, I appreciate you talking. I'm just -- I'm just so sorry for your loss.
GHAWI: I really appreciate your taking the time to get the victim's story out there.
COOPER: Take care. Give your best to my family. Jordan Ghawi. Earlier in the program when we were speaking with Marcus Weaver who was shot last night twice last night, he told us about his friend who was with him last night.
Her name is Rebecca Wingo. The woman you see on your screen. Marcus told us she was badly wounded. He tried to carry her to safety, but they got separated in the chaos and he hasn't seen or heard from her since.
If you know or have any information about her, anyone else or the investigation, there are numbers you can call for information about loved ones. The number is 303-739-1862. That's 303-739-1862.
If you've got any information about the shooting, authorities would very much like you to call crime stoppers at 720-913-7867. Our coverage continues ahead. We're going to take a short break. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage live from Aurora, Colorado. Every shooting is its own tragedy. We saw obviously a tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, back in January of 2011, mass murder in a public place.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was meeting with constituents then outside the supermarket when a gunman opened fire. No one can forget that. Six people were killed, 13 were injured.
Giffords was shot in the head. She's been recovering now since then. She left office this year to focus on her continuing recovery from her brain injuries.
In a tweet today, Gifford's husband, former astronaut, Mark Kelly, said they were horrified to hear about the tragedy in Colorado.
Mark Kelly joins me now live. Mark, it was only one and a half years ago when your wife was shot in Tucson. When you heard about what happened here, what first entered your mind?
MARK KELLY, HUSBAND OF FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN GABBY GIFFORDS: Well, this morning, immediately when I got up, I saw a text message from Gabby's former chief of staff who is now the assistant secretary of Homeland Security for Public Affairs, Pia Carusone.
And she said CO shooting. My national reaction was I thought it meant "commanding officer." So it actually took a while, I looked through my e-mail and then I saw the CNN breaking news e-mail that outlined what happened.
You know, Gabby and I had just gotten up. We were just horrified over how could this happen again I mean, just 18 months later.
COOPER: And that was her reaction as well obviously?
KELLY: Yes, it was, you know, just shocked, and sad. You know, sad for the victims and the community there in Colorado. This is going to a really, really difficult time for those folks. It's going to take a long time to recover.
COOPER: As a family member of someone who was shot, as a friend of people who lost their lives, how do you take the next step? I mean, how do you get up the next day? How do you get through something like this?
KELLY: Well, think everybody handles it differently and I think there are those stages of grief. You know, for me, the first thing was disbelief and shock and then I very quickly got to anger.
You know, even a year and a half later, this is a process that takes a long time. I mean, for me, a year and a half later, I think about this every single day. I think about what Gabby goes through.
You know, what the other families of the victims. Christina Taylor Green's family is an example. I mean, the story you just told that I was listening about Jessica that you and her brother talked about.
I mean, just, you know, seemed much like Christina Taylor Green, even though she was much younger. These are tragic, tragic, you know, stories. This is going to take a long time for this community to get over this.
COOPER: What's your advice? There are family members who have lost loved ones who are watching right now. And there are obviously the larger family in Aurora, Colorado, who's suffering through. What's your advice to somebody watching tonight?
KELLY: Well, I think for the folks that were directly affected by this, the victims, the ones that were not killed, and the family members, I mean, it really helped to come together as a community.
That happened in Tucson. I think these towns like Tucson tend to rise to the occasion and that support really helps those people that are experiencing this. So I think it helps. As an example, Gabby's staff, I mean, we immediately got, you know, some professional help for them. In January -- January 8th of 2011, that happened on a Saturday. By Sunday or Monday, there was, you know, professional help for those folks. So that is really important to do that as soon as possible.
COOPER: Well, Mark Kelly, we wish you the best. I appreciate you talking on this very difficult day and our best to your wife and her recovery as well. She's an inspiration. Both of you are inspirations to so many and a help to so many I think in this time. Mark, we appreciate it. We'll be right back.
COOPER: That does it for this edition of 360. We'll be live one hour from now with the latest information live from Aurora, Colorado. That's at 10 p.m. Eastern. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.