Return to Transcripts main page


Shooter Called Himself `The Joker`

Aired July 20, 2012 - 19:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to bring in Jane Velez-Mitchell. She`s been following this all day, as well. And Jane, so much new information coming in about the suspect. We`re hearing about the suspects. But these victims are on my mind right now, because I`m thinking, just like this man said, they go to a movie theater. It`s a place of solace for him and for so many. And then they go through this tragedy.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Well, we are human beings, Ryan. My heart is breaking for the families, for the victims, for the survivors who are going to have to deal with this. This is a life-changing event for the survivors.

And I think it does behoove us to have a national reflection on our culture of violence. You can call it that. And later on, in my show, we`re going to analyze that. We`re going to talk about kids exposed to violence. We`re not saying this young man was exposed to violence. We`re just going to bring you the facts. Because if we don`t learn something from this horror, this tragedy, all those -- the 12 who died, the 59 who were injured -- would have suffered in vain. And we don`t want that to happen.

It is absolutely incumbent upon us as a society to take a look at the bigger issues, Ryan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. So Stacy Kaiser, as we back up from this and we take a bird`s eye view -- I guess Stacy Kaiser is no longer with us.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We can address that to Jane. Believe me, she can answer anything.


PHILLIPS: Trust me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: you know what? That`s a good point. Jane, you`re mentioning we need to learn something from this, and I think you`re right. I think there is something that needs to be learned from this. But I wonder if there is a sense of fear now, after this. If there`s a sense -- minds today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m trying to hear the question. I`m sorry. Yes. Well, I didn`t hear your question, but I will say that there is definitely something that we can learn from this. We`ve got to look at how much violence kids are exposed to in our culture. We`ve got to look at the impact.

In researching my book "Addict Nation," I found that experts say human beings respond subconsciously and viscerally to pretend violence as if it were real. Subconsciously, we don`t know the difference. Could that be a factor in this case?

Now, we begin with breaking news in the Colorado midnight massacre at the Batman movie opening that`s left 12 dead and 59 wounded in one of the biggest mass shootings in our nation`s history. Right now cops trying to enter as we speak the captured suspect`s booby-trapped apartment. And we`re going to talk to witnesses who faced the gunman eye-to-eye next.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m being told that he`s in Theater 9. Get us some damn gas masks for Theater 9. We can`t get in it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He witnessed a baby, an infant, get shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There could still be a secondary device. I want everybody out of the east lot. Nobody else back here. I want this place cordoned off in the back. We`re going to need the bomb squad of Denver or whoever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were these girls spitting up blood. There were bullet holes in some people`s backs, some people`s arms.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need rescue in the -- the west parking lot. I need at least three or four ambulances brought in here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just pointed the gun directly at my face. I was just terrified. And I just jumped into the aisle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need a marked car behind the theater. The suspect in a gas mask. White car in the rear of the lot. Is that the suspect?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We`ve got rifles, gas mask. He`s detained right now. Got an open door into the theater.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy who yelled, "Don`t go to the lobby. He`s got a gun."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, throw it in.

I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live. We`ve got breaking news on one of the biggest massacres in our nation`s history. We are learning more chilling details about the madman who killed 12 people and wounded 59 others inside a jam-packed movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, just outside Denver.

This is the suspect. Police say 24-year-old Ph.D. student James Holmes stormed into a midnight premier of the new Batman flick, "The Dark Knight Rises," and opened fire.

Cops say earlier he`d bought a movie ticket, walked into the theater, and then snuck out an exit door of the screening, which he propped open. Then he gathered all his weapons and then geared up all in black, head to toe in black, donning a gas mask, a ballistic helmet, and head to toe body armor for his legs, throat and groin.

With black gloves, police say James Holmes re-entered the theater through the emergency exit he`d propped open, set off two canisters of suspected tear gas, and unleashed a massacre, spraying the moviegoers with bullets from an assault rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, and at least one of his two handguns, Glocks. It was a terrifying, bloody, chaotic scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She got shot. When she got shot, just, God, watching over us, she saw him right there on the stairs. And she picked him up. She picked him up and I guess the shots stopped going and people - - there was an exit at the top, and she ran out the top.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just ran out. I didn`t turn around. I didn`t look behind me. I just got out. And then there was a moment where my daughter tripped, and I just pulled her up. And I was just dragging her and just thinking got to get out. I just got to get out the doors. If I just fall dead, just get my kids out of here. It was just so horrible.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is gut-wrenching. And this is YouTube video of the panicked crowd as they poured out of the movie theater.

Cops reacted with lightning speed, arriving within minutes of the first shots. They quickly captured the suspect, who was at his car in the parking lot immediately behind the theater.

Listen to the 911 and traffic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fourteen, we have a car shot (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We`ve got a white Kia, white Kia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Copy. There`s another victim in a white Kia. Where is that vehicle at?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looking at him. I need a marked car behind the theater, sable (ph) side. Got a suspect in a gas mask.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone, hold the air one second. Cars with that white car in the rear of the lot, is that a suspect?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We`ve got rifles, gas masks. He`s detained right now, got an open door going into the theater.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Hold that position. Hold your suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got seven down in Theater 9. Seven down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody on this. We have assault rifle, we have magazines down inside. Need to watch out for the assault rifle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. So the guy`s still in Theater nine. I`m working on the back board right now for that female.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The suspect is going to be a male, unknown race, black camo outfit, believed to be wearing a vest, gas masks and multiple long guns.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meantime, we`ve got some startling new information. A federal law enforcement source says this man, Holmes -- James Holmes, just 24, mind you -- had dyed his hair red. And when cops surrounded him and captured him behind the movie theater, he told police he was "The Joker." Of course, that`s the comic book character who was Batman`s nemesis.

Breaking news continues to unfold at the suspect`s Aurora apartment, just a few blocks away -- a short ride away from the movie theater. A bomb squad has found a series of -- well, of intricate booby traps, with trip wires connected to explosive and chemical devices. They are working on it as we speak. The police chief says he`s never seen anything like it. Five buildings in the area have been evacuated. Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877- 586-7297.

Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst, let`s take a look at the scene again that they are dealing with. Show that video of the officers trying to get into this guy`s apartment. What are they facing? What should they do?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Jane, this was earlier on today when we were covering this wall-to-wall when it was starting to break. And you see right there -- you see a SWAT member with what looks like a mirror standing on top of a SWAT vehicle trying to see inside the windows of that apartment.

But then later on we saw the Aurora fire department bring a tower ladder to the scene and put it up by the window. We saw at least one FBI agent -- there we go, right there. That`s earlier from today. That`s not live right now. They used those hooks to go ahead and pull the window out.

Now, it said to me early on that they could be concerned about possible booby traps. And we found out later from the chief -- from chief Dan Oates of the Aurora Police Department that, in fact, there were booby traps inside that apartment. And that`s what they are dealing with as we speak.

They have some bottles of unknown liquid, wires, string. They didn`t say how the booby traps were set up, but they were using this secondary point of entry to take a look inside that apartment because that FBI agent -- once they got the window off, Jane, I saw him in there with a camera taking pictures.

So they probably took that back, the bomb tech said let`s take a look at this, what exactly do we have, and how can we defeat this to render this apartment safe?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. More horrifying than the most horrifying film. It is real life. The eyewitness accounts are absolutely harrowing.

Jennifer Seeger was inside the theater. She saw the gunman eye-to-eye and struggled to get away. Listen to this.


JENNIFER SEEGER, SURVIVOR: I waited for him to go up the stairs. I said the second that he goes up the stairs to my friend, Corbin, we`ve got to crawl. We got to get out of here. At that point, you know, I was trying to crawl out, but then everybody was crawling back in, and they were saying, "Don`t go over there. He`s going to shoot everybody trying to get out of the main doors." And he was.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s our first look at the suspect, 24-year-old James Holmes. This is from his high school yearbook. And then let`s take a look at his photo from his college days.

We don`t have a mug shot yet. A source close to the investigation confirms, however, the gunman`s hair was painted red. And he told cops he was, quote, "The Joker."

Now, here`s footage from the previous Batman film. We all know The Joker is Batman`s nemesis.

Dr. Dale Archer, psychiatrist, I find it absolutely just chilling that the suspect at the Batman flick, the premier, is killing people, dressed or with the hair, assuming the persona of The Joker. What do you make of it in terms of psychological analysis of this individual?

DR. DALE ARCHER, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, first of all, I think he was delusional. And we don`t have any history of a psychiatric past with him, but I`ll be willing to bet there were warning signs out there.

First of all, he left school a month ago. So that clearly indicates that something wasn`t right.

But this is a guy that built his life and a fantasy world obviously around Batman and all of the Batman movies. And in this particular case, the fantasy built and built and built. I think he had a psychotic break. And then the fantasy, he decided to turn into reality with chilling results.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: At first, these poor people at the midnight premier of the showing of "Batman" didn`t even know -- they thought it was actually -- this gunman in full body armor was part of the show and that the sounds were from the film, from the movie itself.


DARIUS HARVEY, SHOOTING WITNESS: In the bottom right corner all you see is flashes of light and loud sounds. But it also climaxed with the movie. So you couldn`t really tell. And once I heard people screaming and yelling, "Get down," I realized the seriousness of the situation. And from there I tried to just help my friends get out. I saw multiple of my friends and people that I didn`t know get shot.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this cell-phone video shot by one of the people at the theater last night. And we`ve got it from YouTube. Let`s go to that cell-phone video. We showed it, but it bears repeating, because you see some of the people there -- we`ll show it to you in a second, covered in blood leaving the movie theater.

Law enforcement tells us the suspect bought a ticket, walked into the theater, and then snuck out the exit door. Look at these people covered in blood as they are leaving. And then he gathered his weapons, went back in and just started shooting.

Now, I want to go to David Katz, firearms expert, former DEA agent, he set it off. He started with these two suspected tear gas canisters, and then he shot a bullet up into the ceiling. And then he went for the massacre. What does the tear-gas-like substance tell you?

DAVID KATZ, FORMER DEA AGENT: Well, the deployment of the gas is going to have several immediate effects. No. 1, it`s going to irritate the eyes, mucus membranes and skin. You`re not going to be able to see. You`re going to panic. That`s going to make people less able to escape. It gives him -- basically shooting fish in a barrel. So it clearly shows that he wanted to get these people -- handicap their ability to get away. He maybe fired the shot in the air to start a mass panic. People start to huddle and bunch up and he starts firing into the crowd.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At first I thought it was a prank by the theater.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joking around I say that`s my brother. I say, these sound effects have gotten pretty good. And then you can start to hear them again. And you hear people screaming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He throws a tear grenade. And, you know, we`re thinking at that point it`s part of the show.

HARVEY: All you see is flashes of lights and loud sounds. But it also climaxed with the movie. So you couldn`t really tell.

CHRIS RAMOS, WITNESS: On the front right emergency exit, a door opens, and then from there something is thrown up in the air. And, honestly, we thought it was part of the movie.

CHIEF DAN OATES, AURORA POLICE DEPARTMENT: The suspect was dressed all in black. He was wearing a ballistic helmet, a tactical ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, a throat protector and a groin protector and a gas mask and black tactical gloves.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: James Holmes, 24 years old, about 6`3", so he`s a tall guy. Highly educated. Graduated high school, San Diego, undergrad degree, University of California - Riverside, 2010. He was in the process of getting his Ph.D. at the University of Colorado, Denver, in neuroscience. No easy task.

Is it significant that he was in the process of withdrawing?

Also fascinating, absolutely no criminal background. All cops can find is a speeding ticket. And now we learn that he was -- dyed -- his hair was dyed as The Joker, dyed red. And he told cops when they found him behind the movie theater, "I`m The Joker."

This is YouTube video that we`re going to be showing you right there of people streaming out again. Tragically, 12 people dead, 59 injured.

How do you go from somebody who`s only had a speeding ticket to this? And could it be significant that he was dropping out of his undoubtedly grueling neuroscience Ph.D. program?

For that I want to go to Dan Bongino, former Secret Service agent but more importantly, premeditation violence specialist. This was incredibly premeditated. You`ve got -- and we`ll show you this, as well. Cops dealing with this situation at his apartment. He booby-trapped his apartment.

In fact, he set up techno music that was playing over and over again that somehow, I think, some suspect he wanted to trigger, to use the music to trigger something going off at his house, possibly. Neighbors complained about it, but they didn`t go through the door.

And then he comes in armed with all of this, the head-to-toe ballistics, the body armor, the head-to-toe body armor, dressed in black, the four weapons, the tear-gas-like canisters. What do you make of the premeditation as a premeditation expert?

DAN BONGINO, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Sure. There was a level of sophistication here that`s disturbing.

My time in the Secret Service, what we found out was political targeted violence is really no different from targeted violence, whether it be a Columbine-type incident in a school or an incident like this that was clearly laid out with a level of sophistication and planning. That took some time. It`s disturbing. And there seems to be a trend emerging here. And I believe that the media coverage itself becomes a rewarding -- rewarding part of the process for those who have had that break with reality.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meaning he might have been seeking attention. We don`t know that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But obviously, as an expert, you`re saying it`s a possibility.

I want to go out to somebody who came face-to-face, was very near this suspect. Corbin Bates, you were in the theater. Tell us what you saw from the moment it started, from the moment you spotted this guy. Corbin, tell us the story.

CORBIN BATES, WITNESS (via phone): Hi, thanks for having me on the show.

The story starts like any casual night. I did not think anything else happened. I arrived at the movie theater, and I was waiting for my friend to meet me there. So I already went into the theater, nine. I grabbed a seat. The second row was available, a couple seats.

And I noticed a guy walked in after me and sat down in the very first row to the very far right seat. As he was sitting there he seemed like a normal casual person. You wouldn`t think of anything.

And then he gets a phone call. Most people would take their phone calls out to the movie theater lobby. Instead, this person went to the emergency exit, opened it, and propped it open with his foot. And he -- from what I could see from the crack that was left in the door, he was making gestures or on the phone as if he was -- somebody was trying to meet him there at that location.

And then my friend had contacted me to tell me that she had arrived at the location. And I stepped out of the auditorium to bring her back in. Everything was black. The door seemed like it was shut. And the movie was about to start. Twenty minutes within -- 20 minutes within the movie...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Corbin, I`m going to stop you right there. Could you hang on? We`re going to be back in one moment. I want you to tell me what happened from the moment you see him come in with the full body armor. Stay right there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We are looking at YouTube video of bloodied moviegoers leaving this house of horrors, the first night of "The Dark Knight Rises." They were there for a midnight showing.

Corbin Bates was right there. He saw the suspect when he first came in. Then the guy takes, it would appear, a phone call, leaves through an exit door. Now, Corbin, pick it up when he comes back through that cinema room exit door. He comes back in dressed in full body armor. Tell us what happened from that point on, Corbin.

BATES: Yes, 20 minutes into the film, the door swung back open, and a guy walked into the theater probably around the height of 5`8", 5`9", dressed in all black. He was wearing a black helmet. He had a black gas mask on. And he had black body armor on. And the only thing that you could make or see anything out of him that wasn`t covered was only his eyes.

Everybody thought that this was a thrill stunt for the movie, just to help get everybody riled up. But he reached out a canister, and he threw it into the audience, which was a little bit behind me. And it went off. And I realized that this wasn`t any regular party -- party smoke. This was some toxic gas.

Immediately, people`s eyes were -- were wet. They were coughing. It was getting harder for people to breathe, especially my friend who had asthma. And within two seconds of after that canister went off, gunshots started firing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he was shooting. What did you see then?

BATES: He was shooting...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I heard the first shot went into the ceiling -- go ahead.

BATES: I`m sorry. When the gun started shooting, immediately myself -- my friend and myself, we jumped down to the ground. And we did not move. We were calm about the situation, but still at the same time at alert of what was going on in our surroundings.

And while we were down on the ground, we could hear these gunshots going on in the background. And we could hear all of these people screaming and yelling in the background. And the people ahead of me, they were -- they were scared, as well. But I was just trying to calm them down, trying to let them know that the more attention you bring towards us, you will probably bring that person back to us. And the worst -- and the worst could probably happen.

So as we`re trying to calmly guide them out to bear crawl their way out of there, you can hear the shooter`s clips coming from the bullet falling to the ground. And some of them would touch your skin, and it would be still burning hot. And at the same time everybody in the background is just screaming. And the people ahead of us are trying to get them out of there.

Once we finally got into the aisle of -- the aisle -- the opposite aisle -- excuse me, the opposite side of the auditorium, people with trying to run towards the exit doors to try to get back to the lobby. But they started running backwards, because somebody noticed the shooter coming back around the other side, trying to pick off one by one who was trying to exit the auditorium.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kicked through the door. And he was in, like she said, a riot helmet. She said was -- he had a bulletproof vest on. You know. She said he was completely covered in all black with goggles.

RAMOS: I froze up. I was scared. I -- honestly -- I honestly thought I was going to die.

SEEGER: All you hear is just gunfire left and right. Any time somebody tried to just get up and run away, he would just shoot them. He didn`t have a specific agenda. He was just shooting people left and right. He was shooting little kids, you know, like 6-year-old kids, 3-year-old kids. I -- and moms, you know. I`m like 22 years old and I didn`t get shot. And it`s like, you know, why didn`t he take me, you know, instead of that 3-year-old or a 6-year-old?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A cop came walking through the door holding a little girl in his arms, and she wasn`t -- she wasn`t moving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: and I looked up for a brief second. I saw he was reloading.

HARVEY: I see flashes of light and loud sounds. But it all sort of climaxed with the movie so you couldn`t even tell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It exploded underneath our seats, and then we realized it was tear gas just by the way our eyes were stinging.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did not resist. He did not put up a fight.

RAMOS: The image in our head is stuck in there. And I still have the ticket right here. The ticket right here. And honestly I`m never going to forget this night.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: "The Dark Knight Rises" midnight movie premiere in a movie theater outside Denver, Colorado, turns into the scene of a massacre. This is the suspect, 24-year-old James Holmes, a PhD candidate in neuroscience at a local university, of all things. He was dropping out of the program.

And he came, according to cops, head-to-toe body armor. After slipping into the theater, he slipped out, changed and came back loaded to kill according to cops. And police, incredible work, got there within a couple minutes.

Let`s listen to the extraordinary dispatch chatter between police converging on the scene and the dispatcher.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 14, we have 14 (inaudible) shot. Wait 240 -- John. It`s a Kia -- white Kia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Copy. There`s another victim in a white Kia. Where is that vehicle at?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need a marked car behind the theater, stable side. The suspect is in a gas mask.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold there one second. That white car in the rear of the lot, is that a suspect?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We`ve got rifles, gas mask, he`s detained right now. I`ve got an open door going into the theater.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok. Hold that position. Hold your suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got seven down in Theater 9. Seven down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got 25. Everybody on this. There`s assault rifle, we have magazines down inside. So we go watch out for the assault rifle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. So the guy`s still in Theater 9. I`m working on a backboard right now for that female.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The suspect is going to be male, unknown race, black camo outside outfit, believed to be wearing a vest, gas mask and multiple long guns.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the suspect`s car. He was caught right outside the movie theater. Again, 12 dead, 59 injured. And the drama continues at this hour because cops say he booby trapped his apartment, which is just a short drive away.

I want to go out to Kyung Lah, CNN correspondent, you`ve been tracking the unfolding developments as cops try to get into his apartment but are having trouble because it`s so heavily booby trapped. What`s the latest?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they want to make sure that they don`t make the situation certainly worse Jane. What they whey want to know is what do those trip wires -- what are they going to do? And there`s a lot of concern about whether they can enter the apartment very safely.

Now, you`re seeing the apartment, that building right over my right shoulder. You`re not seeing a lot of activity because authorities are being abundantly cautious because of all the information they have. The trip wires, this booby trap, the chemical devices. There`s a lot of concern about going in.

Now, meanwhile, while all that is happening a lot of the people who live around here, the five apartment buildings that have been evacuated because of this booby-trapped apartment, they`re all asking, what about this man? What could we have seen? What did we miss?

And we met a man who actually had a beer with the suspect just a few days ago on Tuesday. Here`s what he told us.


JACKIE MITCHELL, SUSPECT`S NEIGHBOR: I live down there over the next block. And I woke up this morning to helicopters and yellow tape. And I`m like, "Well, I`m going to tell them (inaudible) -- but I mean to see this and knowing this guy`s down the street at the bar with me drinking beer and he lives right here and I`m on the next block with explosives? That`s insane.


LAH: and when we asked him was there any other sign? What did he look like? What was he wearing? He said he just looked like a college student. That there wasn`t anything that would trigger alarm in his mind that something might be happening behind that calm exterior.

Now Jane, we are getting a little bit of news. We are just hearing that there are robots that have now been dispatched at some point to go into the apartment. And that`s perhaps why we`re seeing the human forces start to back away from the apartment as robots start to make their way in and try to figure out how to make this apartment complex safe for the people who live here, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kyung, I want to ask you about the crazy music. Neighbors reported that there was techno music playing over and over again to the point where they wanted to complain. Tell us about that and why some suspect that could have been some kind of part of the booby trap?

LAH: Oh, absolutely. Now, I spoke to a woman who lives below the suspect. At midnight -- she says she never really ever heard anything out of the apartment. That he was fairly quiet. She only actually saw him one other time before all of this happened.

And she said suddenly at midnight all of this loud techno music came on. It was very, very loud. She called the police. And the police could not respond because of what was happening at the movie theater.

And so what happened after that, they figured out that there was this trigger, that there were these explosives inside. And so she believes that because the music came on right at midnight that he wasn`t there, that it was set to a timer. That it was perhaps a trap for first responders so that when they went in because a neighbor complained that something could have happened to those first responders, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable the intricacy of this entire tragedy. Ed Lavandera, CNN correspondent, I understand you`re more -- you`re closer to the movie theater itself. What are you learning? New information about all the guns that he had were completely legally purchased?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We`ve been told by a law enforcement source, Jane, that the four weapons -- he brought three of them in, an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and a Glock handgun, that all of these weapons were legally purchased at some point during the last six months here at three different stores in the Denver, Colorado area. Law enforcement officials have been descending on those places, checking all the paperwork trying to get to the bottom of just where these guns came from.

It`s not clear where he got all of that ballistic covering that he walked into the theater with. We`re not sure where he got all of that. But the clear indication is that all of this had been planned for some time. And there`s clear evidence at this point at least from law enforcement perspective that there was a great deal of planning that went into this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes, clearly. And as one of our experts just said, eBay -- when he said where did he get all that body armor, his response was probably eBay. We don`t know that for certain. But his point is it`s easily available.

Mike Brooks, here`s one of the most, well, chilling facts that we`ve learned. Investigators found a drum magazine capable of carrying 100 rounds of ammo, which was attached to the AR-15 rifle. What was the potential for horror there?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, you know, that graphic we`re showing weapons, that`s a 30-round magazine in the bottom of that AR-15. So you take that 30-round off and put another magazine on with 100 rounds, Jane. All he has to do is keep pulling that trigger on that semi-automatic AR-15 assault weapon. And every time you pull that trigger another round comes out of the barrel.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Indeed. The terrified witnesses inside the movie theater say they watched the gunman reload his weapons. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, after all the shooting was done, I looked up for a brief second. I saw he was reloading and walking towards the back of the theater and it arches up. And just saw he was walking back there. I grabbed my girlfriend and my friend and I said we got to get going because he`s reloading, now`s our chance.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, you and I have covered so many crime stories, trials, this is one of the most horrific things in my too long career I have ever experienced.

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes. I mean sometimes you just are speechless, Jane. But there`s no question that people will want to know why. That`s the most important question. I don`t think we should justify it. I don`t care if he`s mentally ill. I frankly think he`s probably crazy like a fox because there was so much planning.

Here`s what I think is a really interesting red flag in terms of understanding what may have happened that make this guy angry. I do think this is rage and anger. He wanted to kill a lot of people both at his apartment and at the theater, and he succeeded.

And I think we have to focus on the fact that he left this PhD program. Remember, he was in his first year. You don`t get kicked out of your first year in a PhD program especially not if you`re an honor student and everybody agrees he was capable and smart. You don`t get kicked out after your first year unless there`s something very creepy and weird and dangerous and there`s a liability risk.

And I know that we technically are being told he withdrew, but because he`s so smart and wasn`t failing in an academic sense, it`s likely that he was allowed to withdraw but was in fact encouraged -- pushed out if you will -- because everybody around him saw danger signs. I think that`s what we`re going to hear at the end of the day about what sparked this man`s rage.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a very, very sad, sad evening. This 24-year- old PhD student accused of -- well, he hasn`t been formally charged. He`s going to be in court Monday. But cops suspect he killed 12 human beings and injured 59.

More in a second.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I laid down at first to take cover. And then I helped my friends that I was with get out. And we jumped out off the back of the seats and went into the back exit door. I saw people from a lady being pregnant and I saw people from a father having his kids with him, kids that are like 4 years old. And then I saw even grown men, actually a teacher of mine was actually there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Many have suggested there are bizarre parallels between the movie "The Dark Knight Rises" and the mass shooting that occurred at the first showing -- the midnight showing in the suburb of Denver. Watch this clip from Warner Brothers Pictures.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Medved, film critic, nationally syndicated radio host, you`ve seen the movie. Are there scenes where the villain terrorizes a large group in an enclosed space, football stadium and a stock exchange? What`s the significance of that in your opinion, if any?

MICHAEL MEDVED, FILM CRITIC: I think none. Because, look, the shooter clearly did not see the movie; this was the first showing. It was about 20 minutes in. Apparently that he began shooting.

And in the film, the villain, "Bane" played by Tom Hardy, is the leader of a whole group of quasi-religious terrorists. So this guy was a lone wolf. I think that if anything he identified with the Joker, apparently, who was the villain in the previous Batman film.

I don`t think we should blame the movie. I don`t think we should blame gun culture. I don`t think we should our sick society. We should blame one demented profoundly evil individual and he should be brought to justice.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I spent several months researching our cultural addiction to violence in my book, "Addict Nation". And here`s some of the information that I uncovered.

The subconscious mind cannot be counted on, according to experts, to distinguish between pretend violence and real violence. According to some experts, we react physically to a scary movie by gasping or jumping in our seats because our psyche is processing the violence as if it were real.

Now, we do not know what the suspect was exposed to in terms of any kind of violence from the media. But psychiatrist Dale Archer, what do studies show us about the impact of violence in general to children who are exposed? Because, as I found out, the average American child will se 200,000 violent acts and 16,000 murders on TV by the age of 18 and that doesn`t even include other media.

DALE ARCHER, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, you`re absolutely right, Jane. The younger the child is, the less they`re able to distinguish between fantasy and reality. So the younger you are being exposed to violence, the greater likelihood that this could become a problem down the road. There have been numerous studies that have backed that out.

And in this particular case, if you take a guy who, as I suspect, was starting to become psychotic and he became delusional focused on a very, very violent villain, i.e., The Joker. And he at some point can no longer draw the line between what`s real and what`s fantasy because his brain is becoming psychotic.

And I think that`s why he dropped out of school. I think all of that`s going to start to become clear. But at some point he makes the decision to act out his delusions. So I really think this is going to make a lot of sense once we get more information about what transpired in the last month or two.

And, remember, the fact that he was smart and calculating and planning has nothing to do with the psychiatric illness. You can be a genius and still be a schizophrenic.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. Michael Medved, film critic, you want to jump in?

MEDVED: I do. And the whole problem with this particular analysis is, look, have media become less violent in recent times? No. They`ve become increasingly violent. This movie which is a profoundly violent, dark, disturbing film is rated PG-13. Today there`s material that once would have been rated X or NC-17 that is PG-13. Things are more violent than ever.

What`s been happening to violence in the real world, it`s been going down. And the problem here is I think there is an impact of violent entertainment. I`ve been writing against it and frankly crusading against it for 30 years. But the problem is that it defines normal for people. It makes people more fearful than they should be.

What Americans should recognize in the face of all of this is the last time we had a seriously violent incident of any kind in any movie theater where 1.3 billion people buy tickets every year in America was 2010. Movie theaters are not unsafe. America --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: HLN is all over the story. Nancy Grace is looking out for you. She has got the steps you can take if you ever witness a shooting, a massacre like this one. That`s 8:00 p.m. Eastern. And then at 9:00 p.m., Dr. Drew goes inside the mind of the shooter. Finally 11:00 p.m. "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" has the response from the makers of "The Dark Knight Rises".



JORDAN GHAWI, BROTHER OF VICTIM: I keep saying -- the word I keep using is "passion", because that`s the one word that describes her best. I just want to keep that memory alive and in the hearts and minds of everyone out here.

But again, not just her, I want the rest of the victims, the dead and the wounded to be remembered. I don`t want that gunman`s name spoken. I want for that to be the name to be remembered is that of Jessica Ghawi`s or another victim`s name. And remember what they stood for and what their lives meant.

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


VELEZ-MITCHELL: If there is any example of our culture of violence and it`s not just the United States, we live in a global village, is that the young woman that those two individuals are talking about, brother and mother of one of the victims of this horror, last month that same victim, Jessica Ghawi had just survived some kind of a mass shooting in Toronto. This beautiful woman survived a mass shooting in Toronto and then she died in this mass shooting.

Ten seconds, Wendy, I`m without words.

MURPHY: I don`t know what to say. I mean this is probably the most heartbreaking story I have heard so far. It`s just unfathomable.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: As we look at YouTube video of one of the worst massacres in recent memory at a movie theater playing "The Dark Knight Rises" in a Denver suburb, I want to get some final thoughts starting with David Katz, firearms expert, former DEA agent.

DAVID KATZ, FIREARMS EXPERT, FORMER DEA AGENT: As bad as this is, it could have been a lot worse. The armor he was equipped with would defeat the rounds carried by the police officers. The weapons he had would have defeated their armor.

I don`t know why he stopped shooting, but he could have killed a lot more people including some of the first responders, the brave officers, who actually took him out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Brooks, final thoughts.

BROOKS: I tell you, I think that he looked like he was ready to confront police and he had booby-trapped his apartment. It didn`t seem like he was going to be going back there. What was going really on with him? We hope to find out very shortly Jane, what the real story is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Dale Archer, quick final thoughts?

ARCHER: This is a psychotic individual who had -- he`s bright and I think as the evidence comes out, we`re going to see that that was the case. This is going to be another Jared Loughner.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Wendy Murphy, you have the final word.

MURPHY: No, I think this is not a sick man, this is an evil man. And he knew damned well what he was doing when he chose "Dark Knight" to be the film where he would execute so many these people, "Dark Knight" indeed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I just want to say that I hope that those who died and suffered have not suffered in vain, nor their families. I hope that this leads to a national time of reflection on the issue of violence and how we can proactively prevent it and not wait for the next disaster.

Nancy next.