THE FAMILIES OF those killed in the Colorado theatre massacre are planning their final goodbyes.
Twelve died and 59 were wounded, including seven critically, when a gunman opened fire at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora.
The man accused of the shootings, James E Holmes, appeared in court yesterday.
Tom Teves, whose son died in the shooting, called Holmes “a coward” for allegedly mowing down defenceless victims, including a girl.
Somebody had to be in the courtroom to say, ‘You know what? You went in with ballistic protection and guns, and you shot a 6-year-old. And then when the cops came, you gave up? You’ve got the ballistic protection on. Take on some guys who know how to use guns.
After Holmes was led in handcuffs to the solitary confinement cell where he’d been held since Friday, the families of the dead were left to plan the next steps that they must take.
“We have people from out of town, and some of them need to go home and arrange funerals,” said Boulder Police Department information officer Kim Kobel.
Holmes is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, and he could face additional counts of aggravated assault and weapons violations.
He won’t be formally charged until next Monday, and police expect months of working with behavioural analysts and scrutinising Holmes’ relationships to establish a motive. As for a trial, that could take more than a year, said prosecutor Carol Chambers.
Chambers said her office is considering the death penalty, but that a decision will be made in consultation with the victims’ families.
David Sanchez said that would be the appropriate punishment if Holmes is convicted. He said his pregnant daughter escaped without injury but her husband was shot in the head and was in critical condition. His 21-year-old daughter, Katie Medley, was scheduled to deliver her baby at any time.
When it’s your own daughter and she escaped death by mere seconds, I want to say it makes you angry.
At a news conference in San Diego, where Holmes’ family lives, their lawyer refused to answer questions about him and his relationship to the family.
When asked if they stood by Holmes, Lisa Damiani said, “Yes, they do. He’s their son.”
Weeks before, Holmes quit a 35-student PhD program in neuroscience for reasons that aren’t clear.
“To the best of our knowledge at this point, we think we did everything that we should have done,” Donald Elliman, the university chancellor, told reporters.
Meanwhile, a man who was arrested and found to have an arsenal of weapons admitted bringing a loaded gun to a Batman showing.
The man, Timothy Courtois, was arrested in Biddeford, Maine, on Sunday morning after motorists reported him to the police for speeding with hazard lights flashing.
The Bangor Daily News reports that police found newspaper clippings about the Colorado shootings in his car.
Courtois told the police that he had attended a screening of the Dark Knight Rises while carrying a gun in his backpack the day before. He said that he had planned to shoot a former employee at another location on the day he was arrested, but police say they don’t know what his true intentions were.
- Additional reporting by AP