Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Remembering Colorado Victims; New Developments in Colorado Shooting

Aired July 27, 2012 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.

And we begin tonight with breaking news about the alleged gunman in the Colorado theater massacre.

For the first time, we are getting word that the suspect was under psychiatric care before last week's attack. Now, according to court documents filed today by the suspect's lawyers, he was a patient of a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado, an expert in schizophrenia.

And the package that the suspect mailed to the university, including, according to CBS, a description and drawing about shooting people, was apparently addressed to her.

Now, we don't know how long he was in treatment or what the exact nature of the treatment was. That word comes one week to the day after the massacre, a week first of vigils, then memorials, and now funerals.

Above all, though, it's been a week to focus on a dozen lives as they were lived not just as they were lost. So tonight, on this one week anniversary in this special hour of 360 as we have all week we're going to focus on those whose lives were lost and those whose lives were forever changed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO: Jon Blunk. We will remember. A.J. Boik.

CROWD: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Jesse Childress.

CROWD: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Gordon Cowden.

CROWD: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Jessica Ghawi.

CROWD: We will remember. HICKENLOOPER: John Larimer.

CROWD: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Matt McQuinn.

CROWD: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Micayla Medek.

CROWD: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Veronica Moser-Sullivan.

CROWD: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Alex Sullivan.

CROWD: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Alexander Teves.

CROWD: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: And Rebecca Wingo.

CROWD: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: We will remember you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

A. COOPER: Community promising, we will remember. That was Colorado's governor at the memorial just days after the shooting. You can hear it in the voices of the crowd. People determined not to make this about a gunman but about a father of four great kids. About a baby, a sister working to earn enough money to see the world. About a multitalented mom pushing new horizons. About a 6-year-old girl. We will remember. These are their stories.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

A. COOPER (voice-over): Not far from the Century Theater, 12 white crosses honor those whose lives have been cut short. Airman Kevin Thao came to mourn his friend, Staff Sergeant Jesse Childress, a 29-year-old cyber systems operator, stationed at Buckley Air Force Base.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I think of Jesse, I think of a big nerd, someone who was always humorous, someone who always made the office brighter.

A. COOPER: A.J. Boik is being remembered for his laughter as well. Only 18 years old, he'd recently graduated high school. His friends have made a Facebook page in his honor, posting videos of him dancing and smiling.

You can't find someone with a brighter smile and more positive outlook, one friend wrote.

Gordon Cowden was the oldest of those who lost their lives. The 51-year-old father, devoted to his kids. He owned his own business and loved the outdoors. He'd taken his two teens to see "Batman." The kids survived.

Twenty-six-year-old Jonathan Blunk was also a father. He had two young children. A Navy vet he died shielding his girlfriend. His former wife says their 4-year-old daughter now takes comfort listening to him speak on his voice mail message.

CHANTEL BLUNK, WIDOW OF SHOOTING VICTIM: Johnny was the type that always wanted to be the hero. Help anybody in any way he can. Always to make people smile and laugh. He was very optimistic and outgoing.

A. COOPER: Matt McQuinn also died protecting his girlfriend. They both recently moved to Colorado. His friends and family want to remember his great heart and his big personality.

JACKSON: I'm very proud of him. We're going to miss him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're nailing it, I'm telling you. So far so good.

JESSICA GHAWI, KILLED IN COLORADO MASSACRE: I know. I'm doing such a great job.

A. COOPER: Jessica Ghawi was a 24-year-old aspiring sports reporter. She'd moved to Denver to start her career. She was the first victim publicly identified. I spoke to her brother Jordan on Friday.

JORDAN GHAWI, BROTHER OF JESSICA GHAWI: Her dreams cut short and how we're going to be able to sustain those dreams and push them forward. She was an asset to her family, an asset to her friends. An asset to her community.

A. COOPER: John Larimer is also being remembered as an asset to his community. Like his dad and grandfather before him, he joined his Navy. He was just 27 years old.

CMDR. JEFFREY JAKUBOSKI, COMMANDING OFFICER OF JOHN LARIMER: John had that calming personality that everybody seemed to gravitate to. Everything he did either on the job or off the job, he was a true gentleman in every way, shape or form.

A. COOPER: Alex Sullivan was also 27. He was celebrating his birthday. Sunday would have also been his first anniversary with his wife Casey. Everyone says he was full of joy and was loved dearly by his friends and family.

Twenty-three-year-old Micayla Medek was known as Cayla by her friends. She attended Aurora Community College and planned to graduate in 2015. She described herself as an independent girl, just trying to get her life together while having fun.

Just a year older, Alex Teves was 24. He wanted to be a psychiatrist. And recently had earned a master's degree in counseling. He's survived by two younger brothers.

Thirty-two-year-old Texas native Rebecca Wingo has two young girls. She joined the Air Force after high school. Fluent in Chinese, she served as a translator before moving to Colorado.

HAL WALLACE, FRIEND OF REBECCA WINGO: The sweetest smile you'd ever seen. She got prettier as she grew older. In the blink of an eye, something happens and completely changes everyone's life forever.

A. COOPER: In the blink of an eye, everyone's life can change forever.

Little Veronica Moser-Sullivan's life had only just begun. The youngest of all the victims, she was just 6 years old. A vibrant little girl. She'd just learned to swim. A swimsuit, stuffed animals and candles now surround the cross placed in Veronica's memory.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

A. COOPER: Tom and Karen Teves lost a son, Alex, who was killed while shielding his girlfriend from gunfire. Alex died a hero. On Monday, his father faced the suspect in court and saw, in his own words, a coward.

I spoke with Tom Teves that night along with Alex's girlfriend, Amanda Lindgren and his best friend, Ryan Cooper.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

A. COOPER: I'm so sorry for your loss. I mean, it sounds like such a hole hollow thing to say. But, how are you holding up?

TOM TEVES, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: We got to move forward. Alex would have expected us to live. We're going to live. And Alex was all about life. And I can talk about being in white. I didn't really dress up but there's a reason for this. Alex was the type of kid who brought people together.

When he was in high school, for no reason whatsoever, well, Alex used to wear blue jeans and a white T-shirt every day to school. And my wife being the anal-retentive woman she is, there would be 16, on laundry day, T-shirts on my hangers, all hung up, ironed, and he would wear them every day. Through all of high school. Halfway through senior year they decided to have Alex Teves day and four or 500 kids came to school in blue jeans and a white T-shirt. There were girls that said "I love Teves" and, you know, it was pretty cool.

A. COOPER: How did you guys meet?

AMANDA LINDGREN, BOYFRIEND KILLED IN COLORADO MASSACRE: We met in school. We went to a grad school together at the U. We started as friends, but immediately it was something more than that so --

A. COOPER: And Ryan, how long have you been best friends?

RYAN COOPER, BEST FRIEND OF VICTIM ALEX TEVES: I have known Alex for ten years. You know, he was my best friend. But you know, saying friend almost doesn't even do it justice. I mean, he really was like the other part of me. I knew Alex for ten years. We went to high school together. We lived all four years in college together. We were extremely close.

A. COOPER: What do you think it was about him that drew you to him?

R. COOPER: I don't know. It's not even what drew me to him. It's about what drew everybody to him. Tom's story about everybody that dressed up as Alex that one day in high school just shows that everybody was drawn to him. And he was so funny. Like that's what I'm trying to tell everybody who doesn't know him. He was just the most hilarious person wherever he would go. His jokes and he was extremely caring.

A. COOPER: I'm obviously not going to pester you with questions about what happened that night. But you feel Alex did save your life?

LINDGREN: I mean, with every ounce of my being, he did. I wouldn't be here without him.

A. COOPER: You were in the courtroom today. I talked to a lot of family members who don't want to even look at that person. Why did you want to do that?

TEVES: Because I wanted to see what he looks like first of. Second of, he doesn't look like much. Third of, it's not about him. It's about this poor girl who is a victim as well. It's about my son who this individual dressed in riot gear, whatever it is, with guns, literally blew his head off, because he was protecting her. It's not about him. I just wanted to see him and I want him to see there's people who care and aren't afraid of him.

A. COOPER: What is it like being here in Aurora?

TEVES: Awful.

A. COOPER: Awful?

TEVES: It's the worst day of my life every day. Alex was my first born son. I loved him with all my heart. Just like I like those two. I liked them, I don't really love them. You know what I mean. But it's awful. It's awful and it's senseless. And if we don't stop talking about the gunman -- so if somebody took a gun and went in and shot a 6-year-old girl, why are we talking about that person? Why -- I would love to see -- and I will give you a challenge.

I would like to see CNN come out with a policy that said "moving forward, we're not going to talk about the gunman." What we're going to say is a coward walked into a movie theater and started shooting people. He's apprehended. The coward's in jail. He will never see the light of day again. Let's move on to the victims. Never talk to him again.

A. COOPER: It's also one of those horrible things that even years from now people sometimes remember the name of the killer.

TEVES: Give me one person who died in Tucson besides Gabby Giffords. No one can give me an answer. There was a girl from 9/11 who died. They made her -- but nobody can remember the name. But you can still remember the face of that coward because that's the only word I'm going to use on television.

A. COOPER: Listen, I appreciate you all being on and talking about Alex and helping people to get to know him because I think that's the most important thing, what we're trying to do right now.

TEVES: I appreciate it. Thanks for your time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

A. COOPER: As we continue to honor the lives of the fallen and showcase some of the people who risked it all to save lives, we also want to show you moment by moment what happened inside theater nine. As our special 360 coverage continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

A. COOPER: We began the hour with the people inside theater nine who did not make it out alive. We'll continue to honor their lives tonight while also spotlighting the people who risked everything to save others.

Before we go on, though, I just want to paint you a picture of those moments inside the theater. What we know as "the dark knight rises" played on the screen and the killer began his deadly assault.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

A. COOPER (voice-over): It's about 12:30 a.m., 20 minutes or so into the sold-out premier of "The Dark Knight Rises."

A gunman dressed head to toe enters in bulletproof gear and a gas mask throws a canister of what may have been tear gas into the room through the exit door, which he had propped open earlier after purchasing a ticket to the movie and sneaking out of theater.

The canister ignites, causing confusion among theater-goers who don't yet realize the danger they're in.

DONOVAN TATE, EYEWITNESS: When this popping started happening, I thought it was fireworks or firecrackers, like someone playing a prank or joke or something, you know, but and then some smoke started rising in the lower right corner of the theater.

A. COOPER: Witnesses say the gunman enters the theater, first fires at the ceiling, then turns his gun on the crowd.

JENNIFER SEEGER, EYEWITNESS: When he went straight from 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.

A. COOPER: The terror spreads. Eyewitnesses describe 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. 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 was, like, I was down be the ground. I was covering myself. And right when I was going up, trying to see the guy, just like the tear gas was getting me. My eyes were, like, watery. I was, like, crying, like felt weird. And it felt like I was bleeding from my nose. It was hard to breathe.

I kept on going down, like ducking down, telling my sister to go forward, pushing her forward, while there's like guys or girls running like on top of me, or like jumping away from the seats, and just trying to escape. The guy was firing. Like, the shooting lasted probably like a minute or two minutes.

A. COOPER: The gunman doesn't discriminate. Children are also shot. This mother's wounded in the leg as she tries 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 drug -- 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.

And then there was a moment where my daughter tripped and I just pulled her up, and I was just dragging her, and I was just thinking, we just got to get out. I just got to get out the doors. And even if I just fall dead, just get my kids out here. It was -- it was just so horrible.

A. COOPER: At 12:39 a.m., the first calls come into 911.

911 OPERATOR: Three-fifteen and 314 for a shooting at Century Theaters, 14 300 East Alameda Avenue. They're saying somebody's shooting in the auditorium.

A. COOPER: Police arrive within 90 seconds to soon learn that 70 people have been wounded. This cell phone video shows panicked and bloody victims streaming out of the theater. Inside, 10 people are dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need rescue inside the auditorium, multiple victims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got seven down in theater nine, seven down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have got a child victim. I need rescue at the back door, theater nine, now.

A. 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 just his boxers. It looked like he had been like shot in the back.

A. COOPER: While police and emergency workers help the victims, the suspect is spotted standing by a white car in the parking lot of the theater.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need a marked car behind the theater stable side, the suspect in a gas mask. Everyone, hold the air one second. Cars -- that white car in the rear of the lot, is that a suspect?

Yes. We have got rifles, gas masks. He's detained right now. I have got an open door going into the theater. OK, hold that position, hold your suspect.

A. 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.

DAN OATES, AURORA, COLORADO, POLICE CHIEF: We're 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 kind of wires. As a layman, it's something I have never seen before.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

A. COOPER: Hard to imagine, an apartment wired to kill first responders or anyone who came through that door with enough improvise explosives to potentially take down the building. The suspect was deprived of that sick pleasure.

And as we've been trying to do all week, we're trying to deprive him of anything that might please him and highlighting the people who truly matter. The people who history should remember. People like Rebecca Wingo. A mom of two. She was multitalented or friends say, multilingual. She devoured books in a single sitting and was putting herself through school again. She was just 32.

I spoke with her mother, Shirley Wygal and her best friend, Kate Wodahl.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

A. COOPER: What do you want people to know about Rebecca?

SHIRLEY WYGAL, MOTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: We want Rebecca to be remembered for the loving, giving, brilliant soul that she was.

We want her life in the military to be honored. She was in the Air Force for 11 years as a Mandarin Chinese linguist. She was going back to school. She wanted to work with foster children who are aging out of the system and have nowhere to go.

She was just the best-hearted person you ever would meet. And we also wanted to thank everyone who's helped us so much. And we wanted to clear up some confusion about the 529, that's fine, and also the (INAUDIBLE) AuroraHeroes.com Web site.

And we want you to know those funds are being used to bring in people from all over the world that love Rebecca and want to say goodbye to her. So thank you so much for letting us all get together.

A. COOPER: You're joined also by Kate Wodahl, a great friend of Rebecca.

Kate, you were Rebecca's best friend. What was it about her that drew you together? I heard one person say that she was like a catalyst when she entered a room. She sort of lit up the room.

KATE WODAHL, BEST FRIEND OF SHOOTING VICTIM: Oh, so true. Yes, she did.

I met her at a music show. Music was one of her favorite things. And she just -- she was so vibrant. And everybody was drawn to her. And we just -- it turned out we had so much in common. And we just became friends instantly. And we spent a lot of time together going to shows. And she was always there for anyone that needed her all the time. She was the most giving person and the most brilliant spirit I have ever met.

A. COOPER: She has left behind two daughters. Do they understand what's happened?

WYGAL: The 9-year-old has a better grasp, but the 5-year-old, no.

And we have been told by psychologists that they're too young to understand permanence. So even if the 9-year-old understands that mommy died, she doesn't -- she can't imagine that mommy is never coming back, ever.

A. COOPER: I know that you have all been gathering with friends and family and just remembering Rebecca and remembering all the good things about her. And I think it's so important to remember how somebody lived their life, not just how their life ended. And so I guess, Shirley, is there...

WYGAL: Oh, absolutely in this case. A. COOPER: Yes.

Shirley, is there anything else you want people to know about Rebecca?

WODAHL: She should be an example to everyone as the most amazing way to live a life, just go for it, and kindness all the time.

WYGAL: Yes.

WODAHL: She always showed kindness to everyone. She didn't have a mean bone in her body.

WYGAL: No.

WODAHL: If everyone lived that way, we would have a much better world.

WYGAL: That's right. We're going to do it Rebecca's way from now on.

(CROSSTALK)

A. COOPER: I know that the prayer vigil on Sunday -- I have said this before, but I thought one of the most moving moments was when a speaker would read out somebody's name and the whole crowd would roar back, "We will remember you."

And I just want to leave you with that tonight. And I think there's a lot of people.

WYGAL: Thank you.

A. COOPER: And we will remember her. And I appreciate you coming on and talking about her.

WODAHL: Thank you.

WYGAL: Thank you so much.

(CROSSTALK)

A. COOPER: Shirley, Kate, I wish you both strength. Yes, I wish you both strength and peace.

WYGAL: And thank everybody in the world for praying for us.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

A. COOPER: There is so much pain.

When we come back, we'll introduce you to a baby-sitter named Kaylan, one of the bravest 13-year-olds you'll probably ever meet. She tried to save the life of a 6-year-old girl killed in that theater.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAYLAN, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: There's no words to describe what was going through my mind. I thought I was going to die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

A. COOPER: Christian Bale, star of "the Dark Knight Rises," visited survivors in the hospital in Aurora.

There's a picture of him with Carey Rottman, who was shot in the leg. After the shooting, Bale said that words cannot express the horror he feels. The fact is, many people he spoke to might not have survived the shooting had it not been for real-life heroes that night, ordinary people who did extraordinary things, even knowing their efforts might be in vain, even knowing they might die trying.

As 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan was dying in the theater and her mother critically wounded, the baby-sitter, a 13-year-old girl named Kaylan, desperately tried to save little Veronica. She showed tremendous courageous even though she thought she herself was going to die.

Poppy Harlow has her story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we just put Kaylan into your hands, lord, your loving, merciful, healing hands.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Prayers for 13-year-old Kaylan, a survivor.

KAYLAN: He just kept firing, and then he would stop like he was reloading. And he kept firing at anyone he saw. I thought I was going to die.

HARLOW (on camera): You thought you were going to die?

KAYLAN: I have never had that feeling before in my life, and it's the scariest feeling to think that you're going to die.

HARLOW (voice-over): Kaylan watched as three people with her at the Batman screening were shot, including the 6-year-old girl she regularly baby-sat, Veronica Moser-Sullivan.

KAYLAN: I felt like it was partly my job to protect her. And even if I wasn't her baby-sitter, I would still feel the same because she was just a -- she was just a child.

HARLOW: Lying on the theater floor, she called 911.

KAYLAN: I put my hand on Veronica's, like, ribcage to see if she was breathing, but she wasn't breathing, so I started freaking out. And then they told me to do CPR. And I told them I couldn't because her mother was on top of her and couldn't move.

HARLOW: Veronica's mother, Ashley, was shot in the neck and abdomen. She lived. Veronica did not.

KAYLAN: And she liked to draw and she liked to look at the -- I had a bunny -- well, I have a bunny in my room and she always liked to look at the bunny.

HARLOW (on camera): You OK? Take your time.

(voice-over): Her pastor calls her a girl with a servant's heart.

PASTOR MICHAEL WALKER, CHURCH IN THE CITY: She's the type of kid that would come in the room and say, "what can I do to help?" You know, how can I give of myself? I mean, a young kid, that really can't be taught.

HARLOW (on camera): How has this changed your life?

KAYLAN: There's certain things I can't, like, hear, or certain things I can't look at or certain things that I can't do or even wear.

HARLOW: Like what?

KAYLAN: Like the clothes that I wore that night. I don't want to put those on again. Popping sounds or like banging if it sounds a certain way. And I can't really look at popcorn.

HARLOW: I know you want to say something to Ashley, the mother of Veronica, the little girl you tried to help.

KAYLAN: All I want right now is to go visit Ashley.

HARLOW (voice-over): Kaylan may not have been physically wounded, but she still bears the scars.

Poppy Harlow, CNN, Aurora, Colorado.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Alex Sullivan died in theater nine on his birthday two dies shy of his first wedding anniversary, another young life cut short.

His family began a frantic search after hearing about the shooting. They rushed the staging area for information. His father, Tom Sullivan carried a photograph of his son.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM SULLIVAN, SON KILLED IN THEATER MASSACRE: This is him. His name's Alex Sullivan. Today's his birthday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alex with an "x"?

SULLIVAN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How old is Alex?

SULLIVAN: He's 27. We're looking for him. They don't have him on any list yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was at the movie?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: At the movie to celebrate his 27th birthday. Now earlier that night, here's what Alex tweeted. "Oh, man, one hour until the movie and it's going to be the best birthday ever."

I spoke with his dad this week.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: First of all, I'm just so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine what you and your family are going through right now. I've read so many words describing Alex. People saying he was full of love, always laughing, a big heart.

How do you describe him? What do you want people to know about him?

SULLIVAN: Well, I mean, that's it. From when he was a baby, that's what we used to say to each other. He was my best buddy in the whole world. And we said that back and forth until, you know, even last week. You know, that's how we referred to each other.

Everybody I went -- I mean, I always went with him places. People would say, Tom, when I see you, you know, you're always with your kids. And I said, well, you know, that's why you have them. I mean, they're supposed to be with you. And that's what we did. We went everywhere.

COOPER: It was Alex's 27th birthday. He was celebrating by going to see that movie, right?

SULLIVAN: Well, they always -- we always have gone to the movies on his birthday. We started back when he was 6 years old. We went and saw "The Rocketeer."

And the reason we wanted to see "The Rocketeer" was because after the movie was over, they had a special at Pizza Hut. That he would get a special little kid's mug and a hat and all of that. And we went to the Pizza Hut and they were all out of the promotion.

So he was really disappointed, but him and Megan, his sister, were so hungry, we decided just to order a large pizza and we shared it.

COOPER: And --

SULLIVAN: But we always go to the movies. Several years after that -- yes, several years after that, we went to -- on his birthday, went and saw "Jurassic Park." And when the raptors come out, I have never even to this day had my hand squeezed as hard as it was when those raptors were running around.

And he was so scared and that was the only movie that he's never sat all the way through. We ended up running up to the top the theater and spending the rest of the movie peeking around the corner, trying to see it.

And when that movie was over, we went across the parking lot to the Red Robin and had his birthday dinner over there, which is where he was -- you know, all of his friends were with him at the movie there. He enjoyed, you know, even when he was 9 years old, his birthday with people from Red Robin.

COOPER: It was -- it was not only Alex's birthday. He was also getting ready, I understand, to celebrate his first wedding anniversary. I think it was going to be on Sunday to his wife, Cassandra. How is she --

SULLIVAN: It was Sunday.

COOPER: How is she doing?

SULLIVAN: She's coping. She's coping.

COOPER: Is there anything else you want people to know, that you want to say? We've been trying over the last couple of days just to talk to as many family members as possible and just remember as many -- and celebrate the lives of the 12. And I just wanted to give you an opportunity. If there's anything else you want people to know.

SULLIVAN: Well, he was just such a fun guy and he was so empathetic, you know, to people and cared about people. And don't be surprised if at some point somebody that you're talking with, you'll say something about Alex.

And they'll say, you mean that big guy in from Colorado who was the movie guy and loved hockey and all of that? And you'll say yes. Well, I know him. You know, I met him.

I mean, we're getting things -- we got a fruit basket from a company that he only worked for three months. And they didn't want to let him go but the business was doing so poorly they couldn't afford him. And that was eight years ago.

I mean, he affected, you know, that employer so much that, you know, we've got a fruit basket at our house. I mean, so don't worry, you'll run into someone who knows him and they'll tell you all about him.

I mean, he's just the best. As I say, my best buddy in the whole world.

COOPER: On Sunday, there was a memorial service and I found one of the things most moving is when they read out the names of each person and the crowd roared back "we will remember you."

And so that is my hope and my prayer. We will remember Alex and all the others.

Tom, I appreciate you being on. Thank you.

SULLIVAN: Yes. We will never forget him.

COOPER: Tom, thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We're trying to give as many family members who want to an opportunity to talk about their loved ones.

A woman's life was saved by a medical condition she didn't even know she had. Her amazing story of surviving a gunshot wound to the head, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Some people use the word "miracles" a lot after a tragedy like the one in Aurora. You certainly hear the word "heroes." The fact is though nobody wants miracles and heroes. They don't want this to have happened at all.

Instead, sadly, miracles and heroes are the best that we have. Despite the heartache, there's some comfort in that.

Randi Kaye has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a community draped in sadness, there are tiny miracles being born every day. Like baby Hugo, born to Katie and Caleb Medley just after 7:00 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Katie and Caleb are high school sweethearts. They knew Katie was expected to deliver the baby this week so as a treat decided to take in the midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."

Katie and the baby inside her weren't hurt when the gun fire exploded, but Caleb was shot in the face. He lost his right eye, has some brain damage and is in critical condition.

His friend broke down speaking with CBS.

MICHAEL WEST, CALEB MEDLEY'S FRIEND: We talk about him because we know he can hear us. We talk about he needs to get better because he needs to be a dad.

KAYE (on camera): Doctors here at the hospital have Caleb in a medically induced coma. His brother says Caleb seems to understand what's happened. What's unclear is whether or not he's aware he has a new baby boy. (voice-over): The miracle of friendship may have saved the life of Allie Young who was inside theater nine with her best friend, Stephanie Davies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's smoke. There's explosion. There's blood. There's death. There were guns being fired.

ALLIE YOUNG, COLORADO SHOOTING VICTIM: I just remember opening my eyes. I'm on the ground, blood everywhere.

KAYE (on camera): Alee was struck in the neck. Refusing to let her friend die, Stephanie did something, something so selfless. She stayed with her friend and applied pressure on the hole in her neck.

Even President Obama shared their story after visiting them at the hospital here in Aurora.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Allie told Stephanie she needed to run. Stephanie refused to go. Instead, actually, with her other hand, called 911 on her cell phone.

KAYE (voice-over): And after the shooting finally stopped, Stephanie carried her friend across two parking lots to an ambulance.

YOUNG: She saved my life, which I, you know, that's always going to be, you know, a little emotional for me.

KAYE: It is no small miracle that Petra Anderson is alive. The 22-year-old was hit four times when the suspected shooter opened fire in the movie theatre.

Three shotgun bullets hit her arm. Another sailed through her nose, up the back of her cranium, hitting her skull. Her pastor, Brad Straight, wrote on his blog, quote, "Her injuries were severe and her condition was critical. The doctors prior to surgery were concerned because so much of the brain had been traversed by the bullet."

(on camera): Doctors haven't shared exactly what happened, but the young woman was probably saved by something she didn't even know she had, a small channel of fluid running through her skull that can only be picked up with a CAT scan. That channel of fluid likely maneuvered the bullet in the least harmful direction.

(voice-over): In a stroke of luck her pastor blogs, the shotgun buckshot enters her brain from the exact point of the channel, like a marble through a small tube. It channels the bullet from Petra's nose through her brain.

It turned slightly several times. In the process, the bullet misses all the vital areas of the brain. According to her pastor, if the bullet had entered just a millimeter in any direction, her brain likely would have been destroyed.

Petra has already started to speak and walk again, and is expected to make a full recovery. Randi Kaye, CNN, Aurora, Colorado.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Not far from the theatre just a few blocks, there's a makeshift memorial site bearing 12 white crosses. People who lost friends and loved one have been going there all week.

Brook and Weston Cowden have the cross for their father Gordon. Brook was with him in the theatre that night. On the cross, Brook writes, "Dear dad, it was a surreal and disorienting night. What was certain was your calling to us. I love you both."

Underneath their father's name is a second inscription. "I love you, Dad and forever will."

Gordon Cowden was laid to rest today.

I spoke with Brook and Weston Cowden yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: I'm just so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what this has been like for you.

Brook, how are you holding up?

BROOK COWDEN, FATHER KILLED IN THEATER MASSACRE: It's a lot off and on. I think our dad raised us in continuous with the strength that we have strength but at moments you'll just break down and lose it.

COOPER: Weston, I read your dad described by a lot of different people in a lot of great ways. Someone described him as a true Texas gentleman. What do you want people to know about him? What was he like?

WESTON COWDEN, FATHER KILLED IN THEATER MASSACRE: My dad taught me what it meant to be a man. He was -- he was a father first and last and always. That was just what he was all about.

We were trying to go through and figure, out for the sake of the eulogy and such, what he was and what he was into. But, really, it was just, well, he had -- he had us four kids and that was just the life that he lived. And what he was all about.

COOPER: You guys were the focus of his life.

WESTON COWDEN: Yes. That was just -- he was a dad.

COOPER: Brook, your last days with your dad included some really special memories I understand.

BROOK COWDEN: Yes, sir. Actually, hours before we went to the premiere, he and I had recently declared ourselves running buddies. We went to a local park where there was a concert going on and we actually danced at that concert and, I mean, I'll remember that dance for a very long time so --

COOPER: You know, Weston, we've been trying to just give family members the opportunity just to talk about who they lost and what those people mean to them.

Is there anything else you want people to know about your dad, about the life he lived?

WESTON COWDEN: Just -- he was -- the world's a worst place without him. That's not to sound as grim as it came out, but he was -- he just brought so much life. He lived so passionately. And lived life like it was supposed to be lived I guess would be the biggest thing.

He was -- he was a father. Just -- that's honestly the biggest thing about him, was he was living for the four of us.

He was passionate in his faith. He was, like you had mentioned, a Southern gentleman. He was living his life for all the right reasons.

COOPER: I understand your family set up a special fund in your dad's memory.

BROOK COWDEN: Yes, he did. It's under our name.

WESTON COWDEN: It's -- I guess the -- you would go to Chase Bank and it's the Gordon Ware Cowden Memorial Fund.

COOPER: We'll put that on our Web site. So people have that information. They can go to basically any Chase Bank to make that donation.

Brook and Weston, again, my heart goes out to you, and I wish you peace and strength to you and your family in the days ahead.

BROOK COWDEN: Thank you.

WESTON COWDEN: Thanks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We'll bring you up to date on some of the other stories making news tonight. Then we'll go back to Colorado and show you how healing begins when our "360 Special Report, Massacre in Theater Nine: Remembering the Victims" continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Our special report honoring the victims in the massacre in Aurora continues in a moment, but first Isha's here with the "360 Bulletin."

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And this is a 360 follow. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. arrived at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic. The Illinois Democrat, he's receiving extensive inpatient evaluation for depression and digestive issues. Earlier this month, it was revealed that Congressman Jackson was being treated to a mood disorder at an unspecified location.

The battle for Syria could be nearing another brutal turning point. Troops loyal to the regime are gearing up to push into Aleppo, Syria's biggest city. Witnesses already reporting heavy mortar and chopper fire on the city's central district.

And in London, opening ceremonies. Big Ben rang, singers sang, fireworks lit up the night sky. Yes, the 2012 Olympics have begun -- Anderson.

COOPER: Isha, thanks.

A program note: this weekend, Don Lemon reports from Colorado for a special honoring the victims, survivors and heroes. Watch "Madness at Midnight: The Search for Answers in Aurora," Saturday and Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.

Coming up next on this "360" special, a final tribute to the victims from Aurora.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back.

You know, what strikes you in a tragedy any place in America is how quickly people come together, big cities, small town, really doesn't matter -- whether it's in New Orleans after Katrina, Joplin after the tornado or suburban Denver today.

The need to heal exerts a mighty pull. It's always humbling to see because no matter what kind of horror preceded it, the healing always comes even if it begins in tears.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight, we come together to pray and to be with one another. Some of us are survivors, family members or friends of those who have suffered through this senseless and evil act of violence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For those who are feeling the ripple effects, their families and friends, may you comfort them, may you walk with them in the days ahead, and may they continue to know that they have received an outpouring of new friends in this community, of new friends in this nation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We thank you, that you have not shrunk back from this challenge. And that you, with great skill and great dare, ran into the building, ran into places, willing to lay down your life for others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We weep because we have hope that tomorrow was going to be brighter. You are Aurora. We are Aurora. We grieve together.

GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO: July 20th should never be about remembering this event or the killer. It should be about remembering those victims.

Jon Blunk, we will remember.

A.J. Boik.

PEOPLE: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Jesse Childress.

PEOPLE: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Gordon Cowden.

PEOPLE: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Jessica Ghawi.

PEOPLE: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: John Larimer.

PEOPLE: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Matt McQuinn.

PEOPLE: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Micayla Medek.

PEOPLE: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Veronica Moser-Sullivan.

PEOPLE: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Alex Sullivan.

PEOPLE: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: Alexander Teves.

PEOPLE: We will remember.

HICKENLOOPER: And Rebecca Wingo.

PEOPLE: We will remember.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: One week ago today, so many lives lost. So many lives forever changed. We will remember.

That does it for us. Thanks very much for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.