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Colorado Massacre

Aired July 20, 2012 - 21:00   ET


Dr. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Good evening. We are continuing to cover breaking news tonight. We are awaiting a live police news conference any minute.

Police say a gunman opened fire in a movie theater late last night in Aurora, Colorado. Now, I have been watching this footage all day with, I know, all of you as well.

Twelve are dead, 59 are injured. Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just watching a movie and everything is all quiet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A man kicked through the door.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All you hear is just gunfire, left and right. Any time somebody just tried to get up and runaway, he would just shoot them.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little girls were shot. Little boys were shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got seven down in theater nine!

CHIEF DAN OATES, AURORA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Our suspect`s name is James Eagan Holmes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just remember thinking I`m not going to die in here. Me and my kids, we are not going to die in here.

OATES: The suspect was dressed all in black. He was wearing a ballistic helmet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got a man shot in the leg, a female -- I got people running out of the theater.

OATES: His apartment is booby-trapped with various incendiary and chemical devices and apparent trip wires.


PINSKY: This is so emotional. Again, I share with you the horror and the outrage of this case. And what we want to do here tonight, obviously waiting for that press conference.

But the doctor in front of my name tonight hopefully will have a purpose, which is to hopefully look at this horror, this tragedy this catastrophe in a way that perhaps will help us understand what this was.

One other thing that I want to look at is the suspect. He`s 24-year- old James Holmes. How did he, why did he, what was going on that made a -- what seems to be a smart young man carry out a horrible massacre?

Tonight, we`ll look what the we know about him. We will have live updates throughout the hour.

The big question is: what can we do for the victims, the witnesses, the public and those of that you are watching who are terrified?

Joining me, HLN host, Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Jane, can you give me a brief update?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Well, I can tell you right now, the focus is on the suspect`s apartment, which has been booby-trapped and rigged with explosive devices. They are sending robots n they have evacuated five apartments in the area and they say it could be days before they actually get in there and dismantle everything, and it is a very, very complex web.

Now, that dovetails with the suspect`s back ground. He was studying to get a PhD. in neuroscience, no small feat.

But here is the interesting thing: even though he is highly educated and studying to get his PhD in neuroscience at the University of Colorado, the school has informed us that he was recently in the process of dropping out of the program. Does that suggest that he was having problems of some sort, psychological or emotional perhaps? We don`t know. Police are not speculating about motive.

But here is a fascinating tidbit. Authorities say when they captured him right outside the movie theater, his hair was colored red and he referred to himself as the Joker, who is, of course, the character who is the nemesis of Batman. Was he confusing fiction and reality? We don`t know.

PINSKY: Well, Jane, I`m going to tell you what, that is one of the points I want to go to, which is that this notion that somehow he had developed a fantasy life or he became the Joker.

When people become psychotic and delusional, they start believing that they are -- they can believe they are bigger-than-life characters. They can say, I`m Jesus Christ. I`m Napoleon. I`m Joker. I`m Batman. It`s a psychotic state. It`s not the state of a normal person fantasizing or planning that there`s something. It is somebody in a delusional state.

Now, on the ground in Aurora, I have Jim Spellman.

Jim, can you give us an update?

JIM SPELLMAN, HLN CORRESPONDENT: Sure, we are learning a little bit more about James Holmes. We know that in 2010, he got his undergrad degree at the University of California in Riverside. We have just heard today from the chancellor who said he was clearly a bright student.

Now, more recently, he spent the last year going for a PhD. here in neuroscience and he withdrew last month, Drew.

PINSKY: Jim, I`m sorry, Jim, I have to interrupt you. I`m being told I`ve got to go out to the press conference now. Thank you for cooperating with that.

Here is the press conference now.

GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO: This has been a long day and I appreciate how long a day it`s been for all of you in the media. We are seeing the community rise up and do the things that great communities do.

We`re dealing with this. Seventy casualties, not 71, there was a double reporting there, but the stories that are going to come out of this of how in a remarkably short time the police force in Aurora responded to this situation. Their efficiency in making an apprehension, the ability of our hospitals in remarkably short order to take care of al of these casualties, in an incredible system -- not to say -- I`m not saying it was all perfect but as this story is told, it will be remarkable.

As of 3:30, we still had 30 patients in hospitals, 11 still in critical condition. You know, this is -- it`s an act that defies description. You can`t connect emotions that we commonly think of.

I mean, everyone I`ve talked to all day is filled with an anger that can`t find focus. And I think the challenge for all of us as a community is to recognize we have to move past that.

Obviously there`s going to be a level of accountability to this. Individual is clearly disturbed. Either we will or we will not know exactly the roots of that, of how deep that disturbance is. We know how deep it is but where it came from.

But we are clear that we are going to rise back and lift ourselves above this. I visited several of the families in the hospital and we`re going to have obviously some -- when you have that many people that have been injured, you`re going to have people with lifetime disabilities.

And we`re already as a community beginning to come together., within three hours, we had $125,000 of matching gifts so as they raise money this is through one of the hospitals but all the hospitals are going to participate in this, to make sure the victims of this senseless act of violence that -- again, there just aren`t words.

We want to do everything we can to make sure the victims are brought back in every way and supported in every way that we can. We`re not going to let this community be defined by such a -- you know, if I had more sleep I might have a better vocabulary.

Anyway, I do think that the first responders were unbelievable, and their ability to work together and coordinate. Our support from the federal government has been incredible. Secretary Napolitano called me from Homeland Security earlier this morning and wanted to do everything she could. She was a little late because President Obama called me before that. But not until after he called Mayor Hogan. He called the police chief.

He called -- the whole country recognizes that this is something we don`t accept, we can`t explain at this point. But we`re not -- we`re not going to just let it happen to us. We`re going to -- we`re going to push back.

I also -- Mayor Hogan`s not here. His leadership has been remarkable. And in times like this, you see, you know, what is the true quality of people and how can they deal with situations that, you know, there`s no training, there`s no way you can prepare for something like this.

I think the way he`s handled all the integration of the different efforts between the federal and the state, the county and the local, it really is a remarkable skill. He`s been able to keep everybody focused together. No one`s pointing fingers. Everybody`s moving forward to the next step. All right, this has happened what do we do next?

So in that sense -- and Chief Oates is unbelievable. I don`t think I`ve ever done this but I think you should all give Chief Oates a hand.


HICKENLOOPER: So now, I`ll give it back to Chief Oates.

OATES: OK, thank you, Governor. I want to point out that standing behind me are quite a few of our elected city officials and our state representatives. Congressman Perlmutter is also with us. Also joining me here is special agent Jim Yacone of the FBI and special agent Andrew Traver of ATF.

And our federal partners have been absolutely tremendous in supporting us. I want to start by saying how proud I am of the men and women of the Aurora Police Department and fire department and Mike Garcia from the fire department, the chief of the fire department, is also here with us.

OK. We got to straighten out some numbers. There are a total of 70 injured in this event, and as of this time, 12 dead. Still the number is 10 in the theater and the last of the bodies were removed from the theater a little after 5:00 this afternoon.

I want to correct one thing. I think earlier today I said the others were all hit by gunfire. I now know a handful of the people who were brought to area hospitals were not hit by gunfire but suffered other injured as a result of the chaos and trauma in the theater. And I can`t tell you how many that is but it`s a small number. Nearly everyone was shot.

Little information about our subject and the weapons he obtained. In the last 60 days, he purchased four guns at local metro guns shops. And through the Internet, he purchased over 6,000 rounds of ammunition, more than 3,000 rounds of 223, ammunition for the assault rifle, 3,000 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition for the two Glocs in his possession, and 300 rounds for the 12 gauge shotgun.

Also through the internet, he purchased multiple magazines for the 223 caliber assault rifle, including one 100-round drum magazine, which was recovered from the scene. I`ve been asked, was the weapon automatic or semiautomatic. I can`t answer that question now. Even if it was semiautomatic, I`m told by experts that with that drum magazine, he could have gotten off 50 to 60 rounds, even if it was semiautomatic, within one minute. And as far as we know, it was a pretty rapid pace of fire in that theater.

This evening at 4:00, members of the police department and the many supporting agencies that have provided victim service advocates to support us met with approximately seven family and friends -- 70 members of family and friends who have not had an accounting of their missing loved ones. We met with them for approximately 90 minutes. We discussed all our efforts to identify the 10 bodies in the theater. And did the best we could to deal with their grief and anguish.

We are hopeful that sometime in the next hour we will get a confirmed list of the ten deceased and we will begin the agonizing process of meeting with those families and confirming what has happened to their loved ones. I can`t emphasize enough the support of all our colleagues in local law enforcement in handing that extraordinarily difficult task.

We`re also aided by our own police department psychologists. Aurora Public Schools has made available two high schools for tomorrow beginning at 9:00 a.m. for professional grief counseling and other resources, including the resources of aurora mental health and the red cross. Those two schools will open at 9:00 a.m. Superintendent John Barry was with us to meet with the families.

And the support of the superintendent and the Aurora Public Schools has been absolutely tremendous.

In addition, I`ll talk a little about the Paris Street location. We evacuated five apartment buildings including the apartment building of the subject. Those evacuees have been staying at Central High School.

PINSKY: And we are watching a live police press conference in Aurora, Colorado. We have to take a quick break. We will be right back.


PINSKY: Let`s get live to the police press conference in Aurora, Colorado.

OATES: -- SWAT team and the Denver Police Department SWAT team. If we have any demand over the days for those assets, since we are fully taxed, we will turn to our colleagues to help us.

The Aurora town center will be open tomorrow. They`ve been wonderfully cooperative with the Aurora Police Department. I have a new tip line. If there are further tips that anyone wants to call, it`s the crime stoppers number, 720-913-STOP, or 720-913-7867.

We`re also offering a general information line for the community. Not for the press. I think the press knows how to reach us. This is for the community if they have questions. The general information number is 303- 739-1862.

Our suspect is now in Arapahoe County jail. I just got a call from the sheriff. He asked me if I wanted his picture released. I said no. So I won`t be releasing his picture for investigative reasons.

He will be arraigned or have first court appearance 8:30 a.m. on Monday in Arapahoe County district court. There has been an overwhelming outpouring of support for our families, for or victims, for our community, for our cops, for our firefighters, for our EMS people, for our investigators, by this entire community. We`ve received concern and condolences -- just remarkable.

Our community restaurants started pouring pizzas and food into our station houses here. Just to show support for our police department. And it`s just absolutely wonderful.

I have an announcement on behalf of the city, Sunday at 6:30 p.m., there will be a prayer vigil right here in front of the Aurora Municipal Center. We know the governor and the mayor will speak and there will be an appropriate moment for reflection for our community.

Finally, I want to offer a huge thanks to our coroner, Michael Doverson (ph), for all he has done, to help us with the crime scene today and to expedite the recovery and identification of the bodies which is so, so important to our community.

And in terms of the next press briefing, we expect to be able to brief you tomorrow afternoon right here at 2:00 p.m. I will take questions.

REPORTER: Any sign of a motive at this point? Has he said anything about why he did this?

OATES: If we have information about a motive, we will not share it with you. We`d let that play out in the course of the criminal prosecution.

PINSKY: We`re watching a press conference live in Aurora, Colorado.

Also, I have live on the ground there in Aurora right, and Jim Spellman, who has a couple of eyewitnesses.

Jim, I`m going out to you. I understand you`ve got some technical issues with our witnesses being able to hear me, so I`m going to ask to you please ask them the questions.

Go right at it.

SPELLMAN: Sure. This is Derrick Poage and Naya Thompson. They were on date to go see the Batman movie.

Tell us what it was like when the gunman came into the theater.

DERRICK POAGE, WITNESSED COLORADO MASSACRE: He came in seven minutes into the movie and he threw a tear gas and right after he threw the tear gas, he started unloading fire.

SPELLMAN: Was he shooting in your direction, Naya?

NAYA THOMPSON, WITNESSED COLORADO MASSACRE: No, he was shooting down towards the bottom row at first and then he started making his way up the stairs, towards where we were.

SPELLMAN: What did it sound like what did it feel like to be in that these we are that gunman in there?

THOMPSON: I really didn`t know how to feel. We were just hiding. He ended up running to the top of the theater, and I`m like, oh, my gosh, trying to slide under my seat and then I couldn`t, the gunshots were getting closer and closer and closer, and he ended up coming back for me and we stay there had counting for three and then we ran to the top and we, like, fell over people.

SPELLMAN: Sounds completely terrifying.

POAGE: Very hectic. Very, very hectic.

SPELLMAN: What did he look like? Did he say anything?

POAGE: He actually didn`t say nothing. He just had on a black tear gas mask, armored vest and he was dressed in, like, tactical clothes, like a SWAT team would wear.

PINSKY: Jim, first off --

SPELLMAN: Did you think you were going to make it out alive?

PINSKY: That`s the question I wanted to ask. Did they think they were going to die?


SPELLMAN: Wow, what`s this last day been like knowing that -- decompressing, I guess, after going through this experience?

POAGE: Loss of words, like very sad, actually.

SPELLMAN: And, Drew, anything you`d like to ask?

PINSKY: Yes, I`m wondering how they knew to get up and run because my understanding was that this guy was shooting for the people heading for the exits. When did they decide to make their move and how were they able to get up?

SPELLMAN: How did you know to get up and run?

THOMPSON: We didn`t know. I actually didn`t know. I didn`t know what to think. We didn`t even know that there was an exit to the top left of the theater, because before the movie comes on, they always show a thing that shows where the exits are. They only indicated the two at the bottom, to each side of the theater, never the one at the top.

So we actually talked about it we didn`t even know why we got up and ran that way.

SPELLMAN: It almost sounds like you`re describing like an instinctual reaction to just get away.

PINSKY: Jim, I wonder if Naya particularly, because she seems very sort of -- she seems to want to talk about this incident, is she having flashbacks? Is she feeling OK? A lot of people have been reporting that all day.

SPELLMAN: Have you had any flashbacks? How are you feeling?

THOMPSON: Just when he left me, I didn`t know what to think. I tried to slide under my seat and there were poles, soda spilling all over me. I couldn`t breathe from the gas. So I don`t know.

SPELLMAN: Throughout the course of the day, have you been talking to -- has it been helpful to speak with each other about it and others?


SPELLMAN: How does that change the way you have been processing everything?

POAGE: Life`s too short. You really don`t never know what the other person is thinking. And actually, I just process like, you can`t take life for granted. You got to live every day.

PINSKY: Thank you, Kim.


PINSKY: And I know Naya and Derrick can`t hear me out there, but please thank them for us and we just heard in the press conference we were listening to that the Aurora victims organizations are providing tremendous amounts of mental health resources. So I hope they will please take advantage of that we are keeping an eye on that press conference.

Plus, we are going to begin now to talk about who this James Eagan Holmes was, what is he? What makes him dye his hair red, declare he is the Joker?

I`m going to tell you my analysis of this and it might surprise you. I`m back with that after a break.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got another person outside shot in the leg, a female. I got people who are running out of the theater, they are shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get us some damn gas masks for theater nine. We can`t get in it.

We rescue inside the auditorium, multiple victims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Christine, I have seven down in theater nine. Seven down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve got a child victim. I need rescue to the back door of theater nine now.


PINSKY: This is so, so distressing. I don`t know how to -- I asked them to just get rid of every script we have here and let me just speak to you as someone who is watching this with you in horror.

This is hard to watch, isn`t it? It is very, very difficult. And it doesn`t make it -- justified, we are going to talk about now.

But I want to try to help you understand what this is, what happened there. Not what it was like to be in that theater because the witnesses have been telling you all day. You don`t need a physician to tell you what they experience there in that theater. They have been telling you the story.

It`s as awful as we imagine. Who was this guy? Who was this guy that opened fire and systematically, methodically murdered people who were there for some evening entertainment, as a group. We gather as a group in theaters, it`s a shared experience. It is one of the places you feel safe as a group.

I have to wonder myself if we haven`t become too aggressive in our society. We are a violent society. There`s no doubt about that.

But the fact is that one thing our social psychological colleagues have told us is that when people get power, they lose empathy and God knows these days we have been reporting all year about the bullying in social media and the horrible venom spewed out through social media. People feel empowered, entitled to it. Their empathy goes down. And it makes me wonder as a result of that, people with real serious psychiatric liabilities break through and become violent.

I`m here with my host Jane -- with our host from HLN, Jane Velez- Mitchell. Jane is with me still. And psychiatric, Dr. John Sharp.

I`m emotional, Jane. I want to go to out to you first. What do you think about what I`m saying?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Drew, we don`t know why. But there is a problem in our culture. Massacre after massacre, we covered this. Virginia Tech, the list goes on and on.

And we have to do something about it. The time has come not to be reactive and wait for the next massacre but to proactively take a look at this and find out why our culture seems hooked on violence.

I wrote a book "Addict Nation" and one of the cultural addictions I studied was violence and how violence is something that our culture uses. We use it for entertainment. And then when it comes back in real life to haunt us, we are horrified. Is there a connection?

Now, experts told me that when people see violence on film, subconsciously or viscerally, they react as if it is real. That`s why we flinch in the movies. So, is there a connection, not to this movie in particular, but just to the saturation of violence in our culture? And is it coming back to haunt us?

PINSKY: I want to remind people, I`m still taking calls at 855 373 7395. That`s DrDrew5 Live. I`m here with Dr. John Sharp, Harvard psychiatrist.

OK, Dr. Sharp, here`s my assessment. He`s delusional. If people don`t -- I`m going to have word --- we`re going to talk to a psychologist later who are going to argue with that point, but I am going to say he is delusional.

SHARP: I agree.

PINSKY: By saying, "I`m The Joker," it`s the same thing as saying, "I`m Napoleon." He became grandiose. He began thinking he was something he wasn`t. And, maybe, he got paranoid and began believing, as The Joker, somebody was going to try to get him or, maybe, he needed to do something because he is The Joker.

Even with that assessment, this is bizarre. I mean, I would say, he maybe took hallucinogens, or may be schizophrenic -- you`re going to hypothesize why he became delusional.

But if he did, why this systemic element to all this. I don`t normally see that even schizophrenic patients. Do you.

SHARP: I don`t normally see it either. You know, this is a real combination of a descent into madness where he, apparently, was a bright young guy who got disappointed.

You know, apparently, he was unable to progress in his graduate program. I believe he felt powerless. I believe that he himself felt trapped and rageful. And I think what you see is the combination of those kind of normal feelings with a craziness that was ensuing so that this was the result.

PINSKY: A brain problem.

SHARP: A brain problem.

PINSKY: A brain problem on top of a psychological problem. Would that be a way of, sort of, understanding it.

SHARP: Sure. Understanding how circumstances and a medical disease can lead someone into this kind of crazy action, way beyond reason.

PINSKY: I want to show the viewers a look at a cellphone video of the scene, the chaos the people were exposed to. Take a look at this.


So, we have not only the victims -- not only -- the audio is just heartbreaking. Not only the people in the theater where the gunfire broke out, but the people who thought about going to the theater that night, the people who might had been buying popcorn in the lobby.

All of these people`s lives have been changed. And, by the way, the first responders, they are going to need treatment as well as the people that were in the theater.

SHARP: Absolutely. We need to be sure that they get what I would call psychological first aid. And it`s not just the people in the theater, not just the people who were injured and survived but anyone who even thought of going, or who was nearby or knew someone who was thinking of going.

It`s a very wide net we have to cast. Psychological first aid can prevent a lot of trauma in the end.

PINSKY: OK. Let`s go out to a phone call. I`ve got Nina in Nevada.


Nina, you wanted to comment here. Is that right.

CALLER: Yes, I did. Thanks for having me on your show. And, you know, about that shooting, I heard some young man make a comment on TV that we can`t let just one person ruin it for everyone else.

But the problem is, everyday, we hear on TV, somebody ruining the life of somebody by shooting them, raping them, whatever it is. And, how do you deal with that.

Because there`s hundreds of people in the world that are just ready to ruin the world for somebody else. So, how do you deal with that.

PINSKY: I`m not sure I understand the question. Do you understand what she`s asking, Dr. Sharp. It`s, sort of, how do we deal with the aggression that`s out there so pervasively in our world.

SHARP: How can we create a sense of safety for ourselves. How can we be part of a community where there is a sense of community efficacy where it`s basically OK even though the world isn`t.

PINSKY: I feel something different. Maybe, this is my own stuff coming through here which is, "How do we combat all that aggression. How do we keep it, not just feeling safe, how do we address it."

SHARP: Yes, that`s a much harder question indeed. You know, because I think it`s more powerful than any one person. You know, to change a culture, like Jane was saying, is really what we need to do.

And it starts with individual sense of safety, a community around that individual, a larger community from that. I mean, you can grow this safety out. It`s the only way.

PINSKY: OK. We are going to take another break. There`s, obviously, a lot more to understand or to try to understand about this horrible tragedy tonight.

Again, I`m trying to apply what I`ve got, what skills and knowledge I have to help understand this at home. I`m joined by many guests that are going to stay with me this evening and try to slog through some way of making sense of all this. Be right back.



SANDY PHILLIPS, MOTHER OF VICTIM JESSICA GHAWI: The last thing she texted to me was, "I`m so excited about your trip here next week. And I need my mama.

TEXT: Jessica: Get some sleep mom. I`m really excited for you to come visit. Need my mama. Me: Need my baby girl! Hang in there Jess...just keep trying and it will be ok.

I`ll never have her to hug again or get a text message again or get a funny Facebook picture. That`s the hard part right now, is knowing those are things that I`m never going to get to experience again. I was blessed. Only for 25 years, but I was blessed.


PINSKY: So many lives just so profoundly affected by this one man`s behavior. Jessica Ghawi is one of the victims that never made it out of that movie theater. She had a brush with a similar episode in Toronto when somebody opened fire in a food court. She was -- just-narrowly missed that one and, now, this.

I`m back with HLN Host, Jane Velez-Mitchell and I am now introducing Michelle Ward. Michelle does research on criminal psychopaths, primarily. And you`ve disagreed with what I was saying about this Holmes character. Is that right.

DR. MICHELLE WARD, PH.D., PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I can see what you`re saying. I mean, it certainly looks like a psychotic break, but there are parts of it that are a little different.

Look at how organized he was and how well-planned. I mean, 60 days ago, he was buying guns and ammunition and, so part of me is wondering, are we looking at psychopath who`s just, you know, finally fully-developed and just, you know, maybe, the trigger was getting kicked out of school or leaving school.

PINSKY: Wouldn`t there be some evidence of something. Wouldn`t we expect to see some behavior in the past.

WARD: And maybe we will.

PINSKY: Maybe we will. Maybe we will indeed. Jane, what do you think. You`ve heard what I`ve been saying about this guy, sort of, becoming psychotic and losing touch with reality.

Michelle says, "Perhaps not. Perhaps, this is something that has been planning and is somebody who really wants to harm other people. What`s your instinct on this?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think, the possibility that he`s a psychopath or sociopath, again, we don`t know. These are just terms we throw around.

What I have heard psychiatrists say is that most human behavior is multi-determined and there`s no one particular reason but a convergence of factors that turn into a perfect storm.

Now, we know that he has, according to police, at this point, they can`t find any criminal history. This suspect had simply a speeding ticket on his record. That`s it.

Now, let`s take a look at his background. He has studied Neuroscience for years. He was going for his PH.D. in Neuroscience before he dropped off. Now, I want to know what that involves.

PINSKY: I can`t make anything of that. Jane, I can`t make -- all the stuff that I`ve been hearing all day -- I got to tell you --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what does he do. What does he do as a Neuroscientist. What does that involve.

PINSKY: I`m sitting next to a Neuroscientist. She is one. Michelle is a Neuroscientist but we have about 20 seconds left. What does that involve.

WARD: Well, we study the brain. I`m a Clinical Neuroscientist, so I study it on a human --

PINSKY: And he could have gone on to become a -- if he had not failed or whatever has happened to him, he could have been exactly in your position one day.

He could have been a clinician. He could have actually done clinical work. He could have done research. Neuroscientists do a lot of stuff.

WARD: They do a lot of stuff and we study the brain. That`s all it means, is we study the brain.

PINSKY: Michelle, you`re going to stay with me. We`re going to have an update on the victims. Next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just remember thinking, "I`m not going to die in here. Me and my kids, we are not going to die in here. I need to get them out. I need to get out.

And all I could think was, if I stand up, he`s going to shoot. He said that he was doing it. I was just trying to think how I was going to get my kids out of there.


PINSKY: That mom is a hero. She got her kids out. Right now, I want to welcome Nicole Williams on Skype. She`s a Spokesperson for the Swedish Medical Center where many of the victims were taken. And, Nicole, you were there when this all went down. What did you see?

NICOLE WILLIAMS, SPOKESPERSON, SWEDISH MEDICAL CENTER (via Skype): We were. We were essentially called in on an external disaster plan about 1:15 this morning.

And we all flooded the hospital, called in our emergency personnel, beefed up all our trauma response folks in the emergency department and prepared for the worst in whatever could be coming through our doors.

PINSKY: And was it the worst.


WILLIAMS: You know, it was. I think, if you look at the Denver metro area, it was absolutely the worst. We are about 12 miles away from Aurora where this actually took place.

We are level one trauma center, so we were prepared to take some of the most critical patients, as many patients as they needed us to. We did end up with four parents who came through Swedish Medical Center throughout the course of this event.


We are excited to say that, this evening, we have actually upgraded our two critical patients to stable and we have actually been able to discharge the two others.

PINSKY: That is -- oh, my gosh. So, two have gone home and two are - - when I hear you go from critical to improved, I immediately assumed these were not head wounds, headshot wounds, which is a great relief.

And that means, these are people who can return to full function. Thank you for that update. I`m going to go out to some calls. I`m still joined by Dr. Sharp and Michelle Ward.

Julie, you are in Aurora, Colorado. Julie you what, do you got for us?

CALLER: Well, I was here during the Columbine issues and, now, with this one. And I just -- I`m concerned for our people, our nation and wonder why or if the U.S. is one-of-a-kind or if other nations are plagued with this same thing. I mean, where have we gone astray with the value of human life.

PINSKY: Well, listen. Well, now, we just heard, in Norway, there was a massacre very much like this allegedly politically-motivated.

I would say, that guy had some real difficulties as well, psychiatrically. But, and of course, there was the Chechen rebels. And, I mean, you hear about it in other countries but it seems to have more of a political brush to it -- a blush to it.

And, here, it has, so random, seems like mental illness more often. I got to take a quick break. We are going to continue this conversation after the break.


All right. We got a lot to get through here and very little time. Joining me now is Quentin Caldwell. Quentin, you were in the theater next to the theater where the gunman opened fire. Tell me what you saw and heard.

QUENTIN CALDWELL, SHOOTING WITNESS, COLORADO: We, me and my wife, had gone to the premiere. We usually go to the big superhero premieres. And we ended up sitting in about three rows up.


And during the movie, there`s a chase scene where the villain is being chased through the tunnel, so there`s a lot of gunfire. And, suddenly, we just heard a "pop, pop, pop, pop," louder than the track on the screen, so a lot of people were kind of caught off-guard.

But, in my mind, I`m immersed in the movie, so, you know, I thought it was just, you know, really good sound effects, something like that, an ambient speaker or something.


But my wife, she nudged me and said, "No, that`s loud. That`s way too loud for something"--

PINSKY: What did you do. Did you go next door. Did you run into some of the victims. What did you see as you came to understand something horrible had happened.

CALDWELL: What ended up happening was, right after that, maybe 10 seconds after my wife had said that, behind us, to my left, there was a young lady who -- or a young man, I should say, who ran down the stairs saying, "They are shooting up the theater. I think, it might be a drive by." And ran down the stairs.

And I just glanced over, seeing the commotion and there was a young lady who was being helped down the stairs by a younger couple. And she was holding her face like this. And just bleeding profusely from the jaw area.

And so, then all of a sudden, again, we heard some more commotion on the right. And I looked to my right and I see a heavier-set gentleman kind of doubled over, holding his stomach, you know, his hands covered in blood.

So, that`s when we -- at first, it was kind of surreal. We didn`t know if this was --

PINSKY: So, Quentin, let me understand. You were in the theater next door and these bullets had come through the wall and struck people in your theater or were you in the theater where this gunman opened fire.

CALDWELL: I was in the adjacent theater. Theater Nine is where it happened.

PINSKY: Got it.

CALDWELL: Theater eight, he would --

PINSKY: Did chaos then break out of your theater as well.

CALDWELL: Not immediately. There was -- like I said, everyone was kind of in an ethereal state, kind of just puzzled, wondering what`s going on. And it wasn`t until the alarm went off that everything sank in, that there is something going wrong.

And that`s when everybody tried to start forcing their way towards the exits. But me and a few other people in the crowd started, you know, trying to calm down the situation. Because the last thing we need is somebody to get trampled, block the exit and then he`ll make it a shooting gallery.

PINSKY: Well, Quentin, thank you for that update. I mean, it just sounds awful. I had no idea the theater next door was struck and people were actually potentially -- we don`t know what happened to some of these victims in that theater as well.

Let me quickly take a call. Anita in New York. Anita, you went to ring in here.

CALLER: Yes, I did. Good afternoon, or evening, Dr. Drew.

PINSKY: Yes, ma`am.

CALLER: I do have a question in regard to what`s being discussed as far as mental health issues are concerned.


CALLER: Since it seems to occur more in the setting of college students or, I would say, as young as elementary students, because I`ve heard that occurring, too, do you think it should be required to do a mental health assessment on students as young as pre-k, kindergarten.

PINSKY: It`s a great question. It`s a great question. And here would be -- I`ll let you, guys, ring in on this, Dr. Sharp and Michelle, that schizophrenia comes on 18 to 22 or, you said, 16 to 24. Eighteen to 22 is what I think of this one.

SHARP: It`s a disease of young adults.

PINSKY: Well, young adults and manic depression tends to come out in those ages, too. So, high schools and colleges. Unfortunately, I have to take yet another break. I mean, we have so much to talk about but I`m going to have you, guys, answer that after the break. We`ll be right back.


PINSKY: Okay, a couple things -- a, we are going to keep this conversation going on Monday. We ran out of time in here today. Two, couple -- I got to define a couple of terms. We keep using the word "psychotic". It`s a -- I`ll talk about it more on Monday.

When some people lose connection from reality. It`s a medical state, a brain state. It`s abnormal. As opposed to "psychopath" which is a brain disorder from birth where people can`t appreciate other people really exist.

We`ll talk more about that. But, to answer the question I mentioned before the break, Dr. Sharp, should schools go after this or not.

SHARP: Of course they should. And prevention is what it`s all about.

PINSKY: OK. Michelle.

WARD: I completely agree. They should. But I worry about the stigma associated with --

PINSKY: So, stigmatizing kids in high school or college could -- OK, how about if we reduce the stigma and identify kids and require them to get treatment if they have real problems.

WARD: Absolutely. And have accountability, as long as they get pushed in the right direction.

PINSKY: As long as we all reduce the stigma. So, we realize it is a medical problem, like any other. Back to calls. Buddy in New York. Buddy.

CALLER: Hi, Dr. Drew, pleasure to talk to you.

PINSKY: Thanks, Buddy.

CALLER: I`m a retired fireman from New York. I`ve seen the results of what human beings can do to one another. I think the answer to all your questions is -- there is no answer.

Anybody who takes the life of another human being -- I`m a gun owner and the anti-gun people are all over this. You could take all the guns off the face of the earth. If these people want to kill somebody, they`ll kill you with a rock.

It`s a mental defect. Whether it is a thug on the street with a handgun, killing somebody or Columbine or what we have here today. I`m sorry to say that life, as we know it, will change not for the better. When you go to a movie now, it will be like getting on an airplane.

PINSKY: Right. I think that`s happening already here in Los Angeles. Buddy, I really do appreciate that comment. There`s something deeply insightful about that.

And, I would say, listen, we can`t make sense of some things. That`s why we have religion and philosophy to answer some of these unanswerable questions. I want to thank all my guests tonight. I want to thank all my callers. Hug your kids. "Nancy Grace" begins now.