On July 19, 2012, crowds of eager and excited Millennial fans across the country anxiously awaited the first showing of Christopher Nolan’s Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. It was almost midnight when sports blogger, Jessica Ghawi, 24, tweeted “MOVIE DOESN’T START FOR 20 MINUTES.” Little did she know that James Holmes, 24, was sitting on the right side of the theatre near the emergency exit maliciously waiting to interrupt the film.
The sold out theatre hosted an audience ranging in age from 3 months to 65 years old with some attendees dressed in character supportive clothing. Witnesses said Holmes exited the theatre just as the movie started and returned about 15 minutes later at 12:30am dressed in what appeared to be the villainous character’s costume. He was packing an AR15 military-style semi-automatic assault rifle (shoots 60+ rounds per minute), a Glock .40 caliber pistol, and a Remington 870 shotgun. Holmes was also fully suited in body armor which included a ballistic helmet, gas mask, and bulletproof chest, leg, groin and throat protectors.
When the character Catwoman appeared on the screen during a somber moment in the film, Holmes threw his first tear gas grenade into the audience to create mass attention and confusion. Some witnesses said they thought the smoke was part of a live performance stunt coordinated with the movie, but when Holmes hurled a second smoke grenade into the air followed by shots fired at the ceiling, they realized it wasn't a show. Holmes sprayed bullets at random into the audience, walking up and down the stadium-style aisles as people fled in horror. In the theatre next door, witnesses said bullets penetrated the walls, and one woman’s forehead was reported to have been burned by bullet casings.
A victim in the second row said she froze like a deer in headlights when Holmes pointed his gun at her only 4 feet away. She quickly dropped to the floor as he shot the people sitting behind her. CNN iReporter Adam Witt who was in the audience that early Friday morning, said, “It was the longest minute of my life. The gunshots just kept coming. I knew it could be over any second. I knew my wife could be gone any second. It was absolutely surreal. I felt something hit my left arm, and my first thought was, ‘At least it’s just my arm.”
When 200 policemen, ambulances, and emergency crew arrived on the scene, Holmes stopped his rampage and calmly went back to his vehicle through the emergency exit. Authorities confirmed 12 were dead and 58 seriously injured. A handful of people were hurt during the stampede. Among those killed were a 6-year-old girl, 10 Millennials, and a 51 year old man:
Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6
Alexander J. Boik, 18
Micayla C. Medek, 23
Jessica Ghawi, 24
Alexander C. Teves, 24
Jonathan T. Blunk, 26
John T. Larimer, 27 US Navy Officer
Alex M. Sullivan, 27
Matthew R. McQuinn, 27
Jesse E. Childress, 29
Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32
Gordon W. Cowden, 51
A local CBS news affiliate reported that "Holmes was taken into custody shortly after the shooting.” He was found standing by his car when police arrested him. His hair was painted red and he referred to himself as “The Joker” - the infamous Batman villain in the DC Comic book series. Police officials told CBS he made no threatening attempts to resist or harm officers, and admitted to booby-trapping his apartment with explosives. A fourth handgun was found in Holmes’ car along with more SWAT clothing, explosive equipment, and 4000 rounds of ammunition.
In response to the horrific massacre, the film's director, Christopher Nolan, issued a statement on behalf of the cast and crew expressing their "profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy."
According to NY Daily News a jailhouse employee said that Holmes continued to show no remorse and maintained his “Joker” persona, saying “he thinks he’s acting in a movie.” One released inmate told Daily News Holmes was acting irrational, “ He was spitting at the door and spitting at the guards. He was spitting at everything. Dude was acting crazy.” Holmes is being held in solitary confinement for his own safety authorities confirmed. Inmate Dima Danilov, 22, told Daily News if Holmes had been sent to the general jail population, “he wouldn’t have lived to see Monday’s court appearance.”
Police found Holmes’ apartment filled with trip wires, water explosives, and intricate chemical mixtures that had the bomb squad and police department on edge. Police Chief Dan Oates evacuated everyone in a five block radius. After a grueling 24 hours, bomb technicians were successful Saturday, July 21 in disarming some of the most dangerous explosives. Robots cameras on 12 foot poles were used to investigate the apartment before entering with detonators. Oates told CBS “pictures from inside the apartment are fairly disturbing and the devices look to be sophisticated, adding the booby-traps were 'something I've never seen.'
With no prior criminal record, James Holmes is an anomaly of a suspect. Born and raised in an upper-class white suburban family in San Diego, CA, Holmes was an honor student throughout high school and college. He graduated the University of California, Riverside with a bachelors in Neuroscience, and went on to attain his Ph.D in Neuroscience at the University of Colorado. He lived in an apartment building that housed medical students and hospital staff. Classmates and neighbors described Holmes as being shy, introverted, extremely intelligent, and a loner.
Natural News journalist Mike Adams’ quoted The New York Times:
Billy Kromka, a pre-med student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, worked with Mr. Holmes for three months last summer as a research assistant in a lab at the Anschutz Medical Campus. Mr. Kromka said he was surprised to learn Mr. Holmes was the shooting suspect. "It was just shocking, because there was no way I thought he could have the capacity to commit an atrocity like this," he said.
Kromka said Holmes spent most of his time on the computer participating in role playing games. The University of Colorado reported that Holmes had withdrawn from school, and officials declared he collected unemployment.
Adams found inconsistencies in Holmes’ approach to his attack and arrest, questioning why someone who entered a movie theatre in SWAT attire with the mentality of killing everyone would surrender himself calmly to authorities. Or why Holmes would admit his apartment was booby trapped with explosives. He didn't go down fighting, nor use the massacre as a precursor to suicide.
Being an investigative journalist with expertise in law enforcement, Adams said the connection to military equipment and gear didn't quite add up. The weaponry, explosives, and protective wear that Holmes used could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000. A 24-year-old med school dropout collecting unemployment couldn't afford that kind of investment. Adams also questioned how Holmes acquired the training to operate the arsenal, and suggested that perhaps Holmes was a pawn in stirring a much larger political debate, gun control.
The Wall Street Journal reported Holmes bought four guns over the last 60 days from various local shops, and ordered 3,000 rounds of ammunition for the assault rifle, 3,000 rounds for the Glock handgun, and 300 shotgun rounds online. “The suspect also had a 100-round drum-style magazine for the assault rifle that would have allowed him to fire 50 to 60 rounds a minute."
With the media focusing their attention on the Batman Theatre Massacre, one has to wonder what is happening in D.C. that would benefit from a diversion in attention.
As it happens, on July 27, 2012, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is scheduled to push the ratification of a United Nations Small Arms Treaty. If President Obama signs this treaty, all gun sales in the United States will be regulated by the UN, and all American gun owners will be required to register their guns with the United Nations instead of their state. UNSAT also grants the UN power to seize all registered weaponry from United States citizens.
According to Forbes Magazine, the terms of the treaty are as follows: