Friday, July 20, 2012

Horrific: Massacre At Colorado Movie Theater; 12+ Killed

It's absolutely horrific to learn of the news this morning about the massacre in Aurora, Colorado overnight at a showing of the Batman movie. At least 12 people were killed when the gunman stormed into a movie theater during the showing of the Dark Knight Rises. Dozens more were injured. A suspect is now in custody and has been identified as James Holmes, 24, and that he was a former student at the University of Colorado.
Authorities recovered four guns -- a rifle similar to an AR-15, a shotgun and two Glock handguns, a senior official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms familiar with the investigation told CNN. It was unclear how many of the weapons were fired, the official said.

After the suspect told police there was a bomb at his apartment, officers went there and found a "very sophisticated" booby trap inside, Aurora police Chief Dan Oates told reporters. However, the senior ATF official said no explosives were found.
Some kind of device, either a smoke bomb or tear gas, was activated before Holmes opened fire.

People (particularly those on twitter) need to take a step back from their keyboards and think about what they're writing.

  1. A paucity of information means that your first impressions may end up being completely wrong.
  2. The discussions about gun control or concealed carry wait while investigators figure out what's going on here. They're dealing with what's an apparently still active crime scene at the guy's apartment; it's apparently booby trapped in a manner that may take some time to disable.
  3. The guy apparently withdrew from medical school last month; could have been a 4th year.
  4. Political affiliation may have absolutely nothing to do with the heinous crimes committed. Or not.
  5. Mental status may have something to do with it. Or not.

There's more to worry about now than the political fallout at the moment; there's a whole bunch of people who are sitting in hospitals around Aurora and Denver - they were spending an evening hoping to be entertained by a new movie and instead are facing a life and death struggle after being shot. Our thoughts and prayers should be with them, their loved ones, and their families and friends.

The politics of firearms, gun control, mental health, etc. can wait. Of course, since we're into instant gratification, everyone will now proceed to figure out the guy's motivations, make claims that wont hold up to scrutiny, or otherwise make calls for this action or that.

It seems that some folks have already made up their minds about the events - one person tweeted that this is the reason to expand concealed carry, as though having one more person with a firearm in a chaotic situation would have saved the day. The eyewitness accounts seem to indicate that the guy started firing on the crowds and they didn't know whether this was part of the movie or not since they were in the midst of a battle scene on screen. By the time they realized this was all to horrifyingly real, the crowds began to rush out.

Witnesses reported that bullets came through the walls into adjacent movie theaters, which means that even if there were other people at the movie theater carrying firearms under concealed carry, it wouldn't have mattered to someone in the adjacent theaters if bullets were flying in different directions. The shooter wouldn't have been in that particular theater. It was chaos as people didn't seem to realize the deadly events transpiring in their midst.

I've also seen reports that among those injured were kids as young as 3 months. That's just nuts on so many levels. Other Twitters are wondering why 6 year olds were at a midnight showing of Batman.

Also, I can't tell just how many people were shot and how many were injured just trying to get out of there, but at least 20 of the injured were shot:

Of the wounded, at least 20 were being treated at the University of Colorado Hospital, said spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery. All of the wounded suffered from gunshot wounds, which ranged from minor to critical, she said.

"They're arriving by police, by ambulance. Some are walking in," she said.
The victims being treated there ranged in age from 3 months to 45, the hospital said.

Denver Health Center had six patients from the shooting, one of them in critical condition, five in fair, said Shelly Davis, house supervisor.
Swedish Health Center spokeswoman Nicole Williams said her hospital was treating three people, two of them in critical and one in fair condition. A fourth patient was on the way, she said.

Parker Adventist Hospital was treating two people for minor injuries, according to a spokeswoman.

Hundreds of police officers descended on the theater, and the FBI has joined the investigation.
My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by today's events.

While this is going over in Colorado, closer to home, police in Paramus NJ arrested a guy on a warrant from a neighboring town - and found a significant stash of weapons:
Police entered the house and found Eng, 43, asleep in his bedroom with a fully loaded 9 mm handgun under his pillow and two other handguns on his nightstand, Brock said.

On their way in, officers found two bags of high-capacity, fully loaded firearm magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition by the front door, police said. In the kitchen, they found three military-style ammunition boxes that contained thousands of rounds of ammunition, Brock said.

Police ultimately recovered a total of five long-barrel firearms, three handguns and 3,500 rounds of ammunition. A 90-round capacity “drum” magazine was also seized, along with assorted firearms equipment including scopes, ammunition cans, holsters and rifle stocks, Brock said.

Before acting on a warrant out of Bogota, the Paramus police had learned that Eng might have weapons in his home. He also had stated in court that if the police came to his house, there would be “two dead Paramus cops,” Brock said.
The suspect was released on $65,000 bail, despite the threats to his now ex-wife, the threat about police, and the weapons cache he had. I'd say that was far too low considering his history, but police should be commended for carrying out the arrest without a loss of life and averting a potential massacre close to home.

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