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Aurora, Colo theater shooting timeline, facts

July 26, 2012 9:28:15 AM PDT
See a detailed outline of the events and facts surrounding the mass shooting at a Colorado theater, which was showing "The Dark Knight Rises" on Friday, July 20, 2012.

Shooting timeline

  • At 12:05 a.m. MT, "The Dark Night Rises" started to play at the Century 16 Movie Theaters at the Aurora Town Center, where throngs had gathered, some dressed as characters from the highly anticipated Batman sequel.
  • According to ABC News, Holmes bought a ticket to the movie and went into the theater as part of the crowd. After the movie started, he left through an emergency exit and propped open the door. Then, he donned riot gear and re-entered the theater, tossed two gas canisters and began shooting into the crowd at about 12:38 a.m. MT
  • At 12:39 a.m. MT, hundreds began calling 911 to report the shooting, according to Aurora police.
  • A witness told ABC News that it all happened during a shooting scene in the movie, leading moviegoers to believe it was some sort of stunt for the film.
  • The gunman slowly walked up and down the theater aisles, shooting at random people. There was no word of any motive.
  • 12 people were killed and a total of 58 people were injured. Most of the victims were admitted with gunshot wounds, while some were being treated for shrapnel wounds. Eleven people were in critical condition as of Friday night, according to Gov. John Hickenlooper.
  • Law enforcement officials were on scene within a minute and a half of the incident. Twenty-five police officers first responded to the scene, eventually 200 officers were on the scene.
  • At about 12:45 a.m. MT, James Holmes was identified as the suspect and was arrested without incident near his car parked behind the theater. He was carrying three weapons, including a .223 caliber Smith & Wesson assault rifle equipped with a drum magazine, which can hold upwards of 100 rounds, a Remington 12 gauge shot gun, and a .40 Glock handgun. A fourth handgun was found in the vehicle.
  • At the time of his arrest, Holmes spoke of possible explosives in his home. Investigators evacuated his apartment complex and four other surrounding buildings at about 2 a.m. MT. Police say the apartment was booby-trapped and loaded with incendiaries and small improvised explosive devices.
  • At about 11:40 a.m. MT, two buildings at the medical center where Holmes worked were evacuated and the ventilation system was shut down. University of Colorado Medical Campus officials said police were conducting a walk-through of the buildings and there was no reason to be concerned.
  • At 12:22 p.m. MT, President Obama announced flags will be flown at half-staff at the White House and all public buildings through next Wednesday as a mark of respect for the victims of the Colorado shooting.

Shooting suspect - James Holmes

  • The gunman was identified as 24-year-old James Holmes. He was arrested after the shooting near a white Hyundai parked just behind the theater.
  • Holmes was dressed all in black and was wearing a ballistic helmet, a gas mask, ballistic gloves, a bullet-resistant tactical vest and leggings, and throat and groin protection, according to police.
  • Holmes told authorities he was "The Joker" and may have had his hair painted red or orange, according to reports.
  • Holmes is a PhD student who recently withdrew from his neuroscience studies at the University of Colorado. He grew up in San Diego and attended high school there before moving to the Inland Empire, where he graduated from UC Riverside in spring 2010 with a degree in neuroscience. Riverside officials say he had no history of arrest while he lived in the city from 2006 to 2010. He started at the University of Colorado in the fall of 2011 and took his last class in spring of 2012.
  • Holmes was carrying three weapons, including a .223 caliber Smith & Wesson assault rifle, which had a drum-style magazine with the capacity to hold upwards of 100 rounds, a Remington 12 gauge shot gun, and a .40 Glock handgun. A fourth handgun, another Glock pistol, was found in the vehicle.
  • Holmes had purchased the four guns at local shops and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet in the past 60 days, according to Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates. All the weapons and ammunition were purchased legally.
  • Holmes graduated from Westview High School in San Diego in 2006, and he played junior varsity soccer. A neighbor who attended high school with Holmes described him as very smart but didn't really stand out otherwise.
  • In 2010, Holmes graduated from UC Riverside with a bachelor of science degree in neuroscience. He was a distinguished student during his four years, according UCR Chancellor Timothy White, and was also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.
  • University and Riverside police say Holmes had no record of run-ins with the law during his four years in Riverside.
  • Holmes enrolled in a neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in June 2011. But he dropped out last month for unknown reasons.
  • ABC News phoned Holmes's mother, Arlene Holmes, at 5 a.m. PST, at her home in San Diego, Calif., according to notes and email records by ABC News producer Matthew Mosk, who placed the call. The mother told ABC News that she suspects her son is involved in the shooting. "You have the right person," she said, speaking on gut instinct. "I need to call the police. I need to fly out to Colorado." The mother later sought to clairfy her remark, saying that she was referring to herself when she said, "You have the right person." However, ABC News stands by their report.
  • Holmes' father Robert was seen leaving his home in the Rancho Penasquitos neighborhood in San Diego with bags packed. Reporters caught up with him at the airport, but he did not have any comment about the incident.
  • Holmes' family members issued a statement Friday saying their "hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved" and that they are cooperating with authorities in San Diego and Aurora.

Victims

  • 12 people were killed and a total of 58 others were injured. Most of the victims were admitted with gunshot wounds, while some were being treated for injuries sustained during the ensuing chaos. Eleven people were in critical condition as of 7 p.m. MT Friday.
  • Three members of the U.S. Armed Forces were wounded in the shooting and one is unaccounted for. One Navy sailor was injured by shrapnel, treated and released. Another sailor who was at the theater early Friday morning cannot be located. The sailors are part of a Navy Cyber Command unit at nearby Buckley Air Force base. Two Air Force airmen were also wounded.
  • A 4-month-old baby boy named Ethan was among the victims being treated. He was checked for bumps and released to his parents. His mom, Patricia Legarreta, was shot with buckshot in the leg while trying to protect her 4-year-old daughter. She had shrapnel wounds from her ankle to upper thigh. She was treated at the hospital and released. After surviving the shooting, Legarreta is now engaged to Jamie Rohrs, 25, who is the father of the two children and was also in the theater at the time of the shooting.
  • Sports blogger Jessica Ghawi, who was also known as Jessica Redfield, was among those killed in the shooting, her brother said. Ghawi's last tweet stated in all caps: "movie doesn't start for 20 minutes." Ghawi, who recently moved from San Antonio, Texas, to Denver, had narrowly escaped a separate shootout in a Toronto mall last month.
  • Alex Sullivan, who was celebrating his 27th birthday with friends at a special midnight showing, was killed in the shooting. He also had plans to celebrate his first wedding anniversary on Sunday.
  • Alex Sullivan, who was celebrating his 27th birthday with friends at a special midnight showing, was killed in the shooting. He also had plans to celebrate his first wedding anniversary on Sunday.
  • Micayla Medek, 23, was also among the dead, her father's cousin, Anita Busch, told the Associated Press.
  • Bonnie Kate Pourciau, 18, of Baton Rouge, survived, but was undergoing surgery for a bullet wound to the knee. She was traveling through Colo. with a church group and saw the movie with friends.
  • Brent Lowak, 27, of Bulverde, Texas, was shot while trying to help his friend Jessica Ghawi, who later died from her injuries. Lowak underwent surgery but was expected to recover.

[Cellphone video shows chaos inside Colorado theater after mass shooting]

[Colorado reporter describes scene at theater]


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