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Twelve Dead in the Colorado Theater Shooting; James Holmes, the Suspect is in Custody; The Suspect's Apartment Blasted by Police; Interview with Ed Perlmutter

Aired July 21, 2012 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Happening now, police blast into the caused Colorado killer's apartment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is some serious stuff that our team is dealing with.

BLITZER: And discovered devices booby trapped to kill, as new details emerged about the suspect, what could have set him off.

Plus, stories of heroism among the gunfire and chilling tales of survival.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just thinking we've got to get out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a few millimeters in there, you know, sent meters in, and I don't think I would have left the theater.


BLITZER: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.

Right now, explosives experts in Aurora, Colorado, are putting themselves in harm's way. They are trying to make sure the apartment left booby trapped by the suspect in the Colorado shootings is finally saved.

Just a few hours ago, we watched as crews carefully placed a robot in the apartment and then waited for it to set off an explosion to take out the triggering devices for the many bombs and accelerants left inside.

The suspect, 24-year-old James Holmes, will be spending tonight in a county jail in Suburban Denver. He's scheduled to appear in court Monday morning. A couple of hours ago, police disclosed Holmes received what they call a, quote, "high volume of deliveries in recent months." They think that's how he amassed the huge amount of ammunition for his attacks.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is just outside the Holmes' apartment complex in Aurora.

Ed, what are the police and the bomb squads doing right now?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it's been a very active last few hours here in this neighborhood. That red brick building you see behind me just to the left of that white truck. That is the building where 24-year-old James Holmes lived. And that was where the apartment was that was trapped. They've spent a great deal of time. You heard that explosion. That was deliberately set off by the bomb squad here to begin to try to begin the process of dismantling the trip wires and what they call a very sophisticated setup inside that apartment that could have been very deadly.

Because of that, authorities now say that they feel that the major threats that were inside that apartment have been diffused, and it's not totally safe yet, but they can begin the process of removing all of the materials that were inside - the explosive materials that were inside Holmes' apartment and now they're beginning to take that out.

But what's been clear to them, is that there's been a great and deliberate process by Josh Holmes to buy all of this material, get all of this material ready, and thoroughly plan out this attack. The police chief in Aurora talked about that just a short time ago.


DAN OATES, CHIEF POLICE, AURORA, COLORADO POLICE: We've become aware that our suspect over the last four months had a high volume of deliveries, commercial deliveries, of packages to both his work and home address. We think this begins to explain how he got his hands on all the magazines and the ammunition yesterday that we talked about yesterday. We also think it begins to explain some of the materials he had in his -- in his apartment.


LAVANDERA: My apologies, James Holmes. I misspoke there. Obviously, that is the suspect they're talking about.

And one of the things that authorities here are talking about is that just the amount of material that he was able to order in the months leading up to this attack including some 6,000 rounds of ammunition. And the scene that authorities have been describing, what they have found here in this apartment was very sophisticated.

Think about this. It's taken them more than 24 hours to get a handle on this, to be able to get into that apartment. In fact, Wolf, there was a trip wire that was set along the door, and they say that had anyone un-suspectedly just opened up that door, it could have seriously injured someone if not killed them. And because of that, the authorities here, not holding back their anger, extremely angry at the situation they found there inside that apartment.


OATES: We talk about motive, we talk about defenses. We talk about deliberation. Make no mistake, OK? This apartment was designed, I say, based on everything I've seen, to kill whoever entered it. OK? And who was most likely to enter that location after he planned and executed this horrific crime? It was going to be a police officer, OK? So make no mistake about it, what was going on there. And if you think we're angry, we sure as hell are angry, about what has happened to our city, what has happened to the wonderful people who live here, and also what he threatened to do to one of our police officers.


LAVANDERA: Wolf, that's the latest from James Holmes' apartment area, where the situation has improved dramatically, but authorities say they will remain here for several more hours as they clean up that apartment and begin the search for more evidence - Wolf.

BLITZER: All those 6,000 rounds of ammunition, sophisticated guns, do police -- are police saying where this unemployed guy who just dropped out of a graduate school program at the university of Colorado, where he was getting all this money?

LAVANDERA: How he was paying for this isn't clear. It's a good question. We're working on trying to figure out how he could have done that. I mean, there's, obviously, as you mentioned Wolf, a great deal of money went into this. Guns purchased at several area stories here in the Denver area, plus all of the equipment that was bought online over the last few months. Somehow, all of that had to have been paid for. And obviously, that is something authorities will take a closer look at as well.

BLITZER: And the police are still not offering a motive, an alleged motive in this case, but we'll stand by. They haven't released a mug shot either, have they, yet?

LAVANDERA: No, they haven't. That's interesting. And you know, obviously, I think perhaps authorities are sensitive to, you know, what that will look like. There's been a lot of talk that he, and reports that he did this, you know, he had his hair dyed red and he called himself the Joker, you know, perhaps in the early stages of this, authorities have said that, you know, they're holding on to that for investigative reasons, and that's the reason they haven't released that.

But you can imagine that for the victims of the shooting, seeing that mug shot and if this guy has, you know, red hair, that that will be very difficult for the victims and the victims' families to have to look at.

BLITZER: And anyone who has any of the batman films, they know the Joker is the villain.

Ed, stand by.

James Holmes' neighbors have spent the last 36 hours living in fear, evacuated from their homes and wondering who might happen next.

Our own Poppy Harlow is on the scene. She'll have their story in just a few minutes.

We're also beginning to put faces with the names of some of those 12 who lost their lives in this unthinkable tragedy.

Alex Sullivan was killed on his 27th birthday. His last tweet, "one hour to the movie and it's going to be the best birthday ever."

Micayla Medek, her cousin says it took law enforcement 19 agonizing hours to notify them of her death.

Matt McQuinn, he died trying to shield his girlfriend, who survived.

A.J. Boik, he was with his girlfriend and another friend in the theater. According to the "Denver Post," 32-year-old Rebecca Wingo. Her father says on facebook, and I'm quoting, "rest in peace, my baby."

Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring sports report, who just weeks ago narrowly avoided another mass shooting in Toronto.

Also, two U.S. service members died, John Thomas Larimer, who had been serving his first post in the U.S. Navy, an air force staff sergeant Jesse Childress, a reservist on active duty.

And moments ago, we also learned about 24-year-old Alex Teves, who just completed graduate school in June.

Our hearts go out to all of their families, indeed, to all of the victims' family and friends. Along with the heartbreak over those who died, there are also extraordinary stories of survival emerging from this disaster. Heroes who risked their lives to save others.


BRANDON AXELROD, SHOOTING VICTIM: Josh helped me protect my wife and he got shot.


BLITZER: Josh Nowlan is one of those heroes, and CNN's Kyung Lah is joining us now from Aurora with more on him -- Kyung.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, we spoke to him in his hospital room where he's still recovering from a bullet that went through his arm and ended up breaking his leg. And it's really quite extraordinary, the story he has to tell.

31-year-old Josh Nowlan, a navy veteran and someone who's been deployed to Iraq twice. When the bullets started flying, he left on top of his friends, shielding them from the bullets, and he says the only reason that he's alive, that his friends are alive, is because the gunman could not fire off every round. Here's what he said.


JOSH NOWLAN, SHOOTING VICTIM: It was just a straight line shot. He is picking everybody up, from one aisle to the next. That's all he needed to do.

LAH: Do you think if that gun had not jammed, that you'd be here?

NOWLAN: I know I wouldn't be here. If that gun -- if that gun did not jam, I am fully certain that I probably would not be here.

LAH: How are you feeling today?

NOWLAN: Scared. You know, of course I'm glad it's over with and yes, I am glad I am alive, and I get to the see my kids. But then I also think about, you know, the other people that didn't -- that were not as lucky as I was. I mean, there were kids, mothers and fathers that were there. And they're dead. I'm still alive. I want to go back to that theater, I want to go back into that auditorium, look down that same seat and say, I beat you. You did not take this life.

And, you know, I know the hopes and prayers and thoughts to all the other families that are suffering right now, it's just really hard to imagine.


LAH: And the reason why Mr. Nowlan decided to speak with us today is because he said he wants people who are watching, people who are watching CNN to not focus so much on the gunman, but to remember all the people inside that theater and the extraordinary stories of survival, Wolf.

BLITZER: That's an amazing story, indeed. Our hearts go out, as I say, to all of these families and all of these survivors, obviously, the heroes and everyone else.

Kyung Lah, on the scene. Thank you.

The police said they're wrapping up their investigative work inside the theater as well. Next on their list, sorting through hundreds of personal items left at the scene by terrified moviegoers who ran out as quickly as they could. Police will return wallets, purses, shoes to their owners or their families. They're hoping to hand the theater over to defense attorneys on Tuesday and then on Wednesday, let the theater owners back in once again.

As for the suspect, James Holmes, our teams are digging into his background. We're uncovering new details on what he did one summer, which may make some parents nervous. Also, helping a community recover, we're talking live with Aurora's congressman about the difficult days ahead.



ANNIE DALTON, VICTIM'S AUNT: You know we could have a whole conversation about that. Is it the killer? Is it our society? I mean, somewhere this kid didn't get loved, didn't get administration. He's been a sick kid for a long, long time. You know, anybody who has to go get attention in a manner like this, you know, what -- how did he slip through the cracks?


BLITZER: Those are certainly important questions about the Aurora, Colorado, gunman, raised by a relative of one of the people he wounded.

With us to start the conversation here in the SITUATION ROOM is U.S. congressman, the U.S. congressman whose district includes the movie theater where the shooting took place, Democratic representative, Ed Perlmutter.

Congressman, thanks very much for coming in. Can you share anymore details, if at all, about a possible motive that this shooter may have had in going into that movie theater?

REP. ED PELMUTTER (D), COLORADO: I don't know of anything, other than what the police chief talked about an hour ago. Just, you know, describing how elaborates he had booby trapped his apartment. Some of the steps that he took in, you know, placing all of his weapons outside, going in and getting them, and just starting to mow people down. And what makes somebody want to do that, Wolf, is anybody's guess.

And you know, you just had an earlier clip about the victims and some of the heroics and bravery that we saw, even against a gunman with that type of weaponry, you know, wearing all that Kevlar and bulletproof stuff. You know, Aurorans and Coloradans are generally a pretty tough breed and this hurts. I mean, there's no doubt about it. The victims in this tragedy, we are going -- there's going to be a lot of healing, but we'll get through this, and it's already started.

BLITZER: As far as we've heard, he was the one who alerted police that that apartment had, in fact, been booby trapped. As far as you know, is he cooperating with law enforcement right now?

PELMUTTER: From what we've heard, one, he did alert them to the booby traps, and, you know, who knows why he booby trapped it and then alerted them. So there's no telling what's going on in this guy's mind. But he has been moved to the Arapahoe county jail. And apparently he has a lawyer in place. He has, you know, to the degree he's sharing other things with law enforcement. They've been unwilling to let anybody else in on it.

BLITZER: As far as the money is concerned, because he bought a lot of, what, 6,000 rounds of ammunition, sophisticated weapons. He had explosive devices in there. As far as I know, he was unemployed, 24 years old, had just dropped out of graduate school at the University of Colorado in Denver. Do you have any idea? Does anyone yet know where that money was coming from?

PELMUTTER: Well, we're seeing now many packages came to his apartment. Obviously, he bought the assault rifle was expensive, the shotgun was expensive, the Glocks were expensive, the 6,000 rounds of ammunition that he bought over the Internet, obviously, cost a lot of money. And then the chemicals that apparently are all over his apartment all had to cost a lot. And packages, apparently, were coming into his apartment for the last couple three months. Exactly where he got the money? He was a graduate student at the University of Colorado health sciences center. That's going to be part of the detective work and the investigation that goes forward.

BLITZER: You're a lawmaker, obviously, in Washington. What's the most immediate lesson you think Washington, the federal government, should learn, should take away from what happened at that Movie Theater in Aurora, as far as gun control in America is concerned.

PELMUTTER: I'm going to start with a different lesson, and it's a lesson that we learned that started learning 13 years ago when we had columbine. Which is, a joint response of different agencies from the firefighters to the police officers to the bomb squad, so the first responders, we had tremendous response, federal side and state side, all the communities working together, everybody on the same page. And that saved lives.

So that is a lesson that was learned and was put into place. And in a terrible situation like we faced last night, it was put to good use, and I know it saved lives.

Now, with respect to the gun control question you asked, a second ago, you know, for me, the assault weapons ban should never have lapsed. I mean, I think we should have -- that should be in place. And I think we've got to take a good look at how he was able to acquire so much ammunition over the internet without any real question.

BLITZER: No red flags apparently went up, and nobody was investigating. These are important questions, we'll continue to investigate. I'm sure local, state; federal authorities are already way deep into these investigations as well.

Congressman, thanks very much for joining us and our deepest, deepest condolences to your constituents in Aurora, Colorado. Appreciate it.

PELMUTTER: Thanks, Wolf. And I just ask you guys to hold all of Aurorans and especially the families that were directly impacted in your thoughts and prayers and your station has been great in focusing on the bravery of the first responders and the mourning and grief we must go through for the victims.

BLITZER: Couldn't agree more. Thank you, Congressman. Appreciate it.

Here's a quick programming note, by the way. Tomorrow morning, Candy Crowley will interview the Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper, that's on "STATE OF THE UNION," 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Up next here in the SITUATION ROOM, living next to an accused mass murder.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never imagined something like this. I mean, who does? (END VIDEO CLIP)


BLITZER: Right now police are still on the scene of the booby trapped apartment of the accused mass murder, James Holmes. Police say it was, quote, "designed to kill," so imagine how terrifying it must be for the neighbors who were living close by.

CNN's Poppy Harlow is on the scene for us. She caught up with some of those neighbors forced of their homes for their own protection. They're still out of their homes right now, might be for a while.

Poppy, what's going on?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN MONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we've been here since about 3:00 in the morning, local time, and the bomb squad started to arrive, again, very early here today. The FBI, ATF, local police and fire officials, chemists from across the country. Their one mission, jointly, was to disarm this booby trapped apartment of suspected shooter James Holmes. But because of all of the activity, all of the present danger, people in that building, surrounding that building, were forced to leave.


PAU MCQUEEN, EVACUEE: It's still frightening, because we don't know when we can go home. They said it could be tonight, it couldn't be another couple of days.

HARLOW (voice-over): Forced to evacuate, following Friday's horrific mass movie theater shooting, Paul McQueen is shaken, his children, terrified, their apartment building right next to the suspected shooter. For those who live here, forced to leave their home, it has been a day full of angst and questions.

SGT. CASSIDEE CARLSON, AURORA, CO POLICE DEPARTMENT: First and foremost is, we need to render the area safe. The most immediate threat is the trip wire.

HARLOW: Two hours later, progress.

CARLSON: We have been successful in defeating the first threat, which includes defeating the trip wire and the first incendiary device.

HARLOW: But also, this.

CARLSON: This trip wire was set up to clearly detonate when someone entered that apartment, and it was set up to kill that person.

HARLOW: Kaitlyn Fonzi says she lives in the apartment below the suspected shooter. She heard loud techno music coming from his apartment Friday, went upstairs to confront him, found the door unlocked, but decided not to enter.

KAITLYN FONZI, NEIGHBOR OF JAMES HOLMES: Just hearing the latest news that that device was designed to kill whoever entered that apartment, that's a lot to swallow right now.

HARLOW: A little before noon Saturday, firemen shout, "fire in the hole!" and then this.


CARLSON: We have been successful in detonating the second triggering device. We are confident that we have eliminated all major threats at this point. However, there are many hazards that remain inside this apartment.

HARLOW: And much unease for the evacuated families.

What has this been like for you as a mother?

YESENIA LUJAN, EVACUEE: It's been really horrible. Like, it's terrifying, because I'm a mother of four children and just knowing what happened in the theater to the families, the loved ones --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he lived right next to us.

LUJAN: Come to find out he lived right next to us, and you know, it's kind of hard. Because what if he would have just come out and he happened to just start shooting the kids.

TANYA LUJAN, EVACUEE: I don't know if they were going to be, like, OK. If that place was going to blow up while I was at work or you know what. It was just really scary.


HARLOW: Unbelievably scary, Wolf. I can't imagine being a parent, and living there with your children in that building. Those two mothers you heard from and the father, Mr. McQueen, we talked to them at a local Red Cross shelter just a few blocks from here.

I do have some good news. I just got off the phone with Sergeant Tim Holt of Aurora PD. He told me right behind me here at the apartment building, they're wrapping up. They're going to do a secondary search and if they don't find anything else that concerns them, they're going to let in the residents of the four surroundings apartment complexes that were evacuated yesterday.

However, for all the people that live in the suspected shooter's building, at 6090 north Paris Street, here in Aurora, they will not be allowed in for at least a few days, because they, of course, have to do a secondary search, Wolf, and then they have to gather as much evidence as possible for what is going to be an intense and very thorough investigation, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, they should put those people up in a nice hotel instead of just making them wait someplace else. Make sure they are well taken care of. I think the community can take care of that.

Thanks, Poppy. Thanks for all that good work.

We're also learning more details about the suspect, including his time in California. And what he was possibly doing on a sex Web site.


BLITZER: And we're just learning here in the SITUATION ROOM, a 6- year-old, a 6-year-old girl, is among the dead in the horrific shooting at the theater in Aurora, Colorado, her name, Veronica Moser Sullivan. And not far from the theater with that child, and 11 other people died, members of a bomb squad are collecting evidence from inside the apartment of the mass shooting suspect, James Holmes.

Just a few hours ago, authorities put a robot into the apartment. It set off an explosion that disabled the main triggering device for the many bombs and fire accelerants inside.



JIM YACONE, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: The threat has not been completely eliminated. It has been significantly reduced. We still have bomb technicians and evidence response recovery folks that literally have to go in there and handle unknown substances with potentially explosive or incendiary outcomes.


BLITZER: A memorial prayer vigil for the victims of the theater shooting is scheduled for tomorrow night.

The suspect, 24-year-old James Holmes, will be spending the weekend in a county jail in Suburban Denver. He's scheduled to appear in court Monday morning. Before Holmes moved to Colorado, he lived in California, where he briefly worked at a children's camp.

CNN's Dan Simon is in California and has been talking to some people who knew him. What are you learning, Dan?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we've been focusing on the southern California connection, because this is where Holmes grew up. This is where he went to school. And seeing his picture has brought back memories for many people.


SIMON (voice-over): The face seemed familiar. Then he remembered.

Dan Casper owns a San Diego pawnshop and recalls Holmes looking at some guns a few months ago.

DAN CASPER, PAWNSHOP OWNER: To find out that he used firearms in the commission of his crime and that he had been in here looking at firearms is kind of a little bit unsettling.

SIMON: A few miles away in the middle class neighborhood where Holmes grew up, a portrait see merging. Not of someone who was violent or had an intense interest in weapons, but a quiet, intellectually astute young man.

TIM WHITE, CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA RIVERSIDE: Obviously, he had the intellectual capacity to be successful at anything he wanted to do.

SIMON: Out of the 21,000 students at the University of California Riverside, Holmes was among the very brightest, according to the school's chancellor. Admitted on an academic scholarship, he graduated in 2010, with a degree in neuroscience, considered one of the most challenging scientific curricula.

WHITE: It's one of our most rigorous majors and it leads to careers in medicine, in science, in research, in a whole host of allied health areas.

SIMON: Holmes appeared to come from a stable family. His father, seen here, understandably distressed, is a manager at a software company. His mother, a nurse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very, very sad day. They are, you know, they're working with and communicating with authorities and that's all we can say.

SIMON: Julie Adams is among those who gathered near the family's house. Her son played on the same high school soccer team as Holmes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a quiet neighborhood. It's a neighborhood that people move to because the Poway unified school district is probably one of the top school districts in the nation, and that's why people move to this community.

SIMON: At this point, we haven't discovered anything in his upbringing that points to a troubled individual.

Holmes spent one of his college summers here, working as a camp counselor to underprivileged children. He was responsible for the care and guidance of approximately ten kids. We're told there were no incidents and nothing happened out of the ordinary during his time here.

Few answers for those looking to understand how this academically gifted young man could now be accused of being a violent killer.


SIMON: And whoever becomes Holmes' defense lawyer will likely be doing the same things we're doing, looking into his background, his education, looking at his health, his mental health, for instance, to try to understand what motivated him, and mount some kind of defense, Wolf, whatever that might be -- Wolf.

BLITZER: "Whatever that might be," is key words.

Thanks very much, Dan Simon, for that report.

Police believe that James Holmes recently posted a picture of himself on a sex Web site. While we're not entirely sure this man with the fiery red hair is James Holmes, CNN's Susan Candiotti has been working on the story. She's joining us now. She's got some more details.

What are you learning about this picture and other details, Susan? There's Susan. Do you want to start again, Susan? We missed the top of you.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure. I was just going to say, as investigators are wading through social media and the Internet, looking through possible clues, they've become aware of a Web site that might have a connection. It is called adult friend finder, a risque dating Web site that includes a profile and a photo of a red-haired man, apparently set up by a man who listed his name as James Holmes. It appears to have been set up a few weeks ago. Now, it is not confirmed whether this is the alleged shooter. It includes the headline, "I'll see you in prison." A law enforcement source says they'd love to get their hands on Holmes' computer to establish whether the IP address used to reach the Web site matches the one Holmes may have used. They need more than a picture that may just look like Holmes.

So as far as we know, his computer, if he has one, has not been recovered. If he left it in his apartment, well, as we know, police can't get to it because of all the explosives they're now trying to diffuse.

Retired FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes says the computer could be very valuable.


TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The cyber forensic experts can examine the computer and see who he was in contact, which Web sites he went to, what he may have been able to download, as far as to learn how to create these devices, and/or any other Web sites, such as this, which might help to identify him.


CANDIOTTI: Now, again for now, no way to confirm if this is the suspect, and if it is him, what it all means -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Susan will continue working her sources.

Thank you, Susan Candiotti.

So we're beginning to get a little bit of a picture of James Holmes, but there are lots and lots of unanswered questions and there are legal questions involved as well. For example, how you defend him in a court of law?

We're asking two of the nation's top legal minds, as our special coverage here in the SITUATION ROOM continues.


BLITZER: The accused Colorado gunman, James Holmes, is scheduled to appear in court Monday morning.

Joining us now the to talk about what we might expect and how his defense may be argued, CNN legal contributor, the former prosecutor, Paul Callan, also, the criminal defense attorney Tom Mesereau.

Tom, how do you defend a guy like this, that the evidence seems to be so powerful, so many eyewitnesses?

THOMAS MESEREAU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, in my opinion, you do not try to acquit him of a shooting. What you try to do is save him from execution. And that's going to be a daunting task. Right now he's the most hated man in America. You have to focus on his mental health or his lack thereof. He has to be examined by a battery of psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors. You have to go into his entire background, from the time he was born, every medical record, every education record, and you have to paint a portrait of a man who is completely deranged, completely insane, delusional, not dealing with reality, and not capable of controlling his actions.

BLITZER: And so Paul, if you're the prosecutor in a case like this, how do you avoid exactly what tom just said? How do you get him convicted on murder charges?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, believe it or not, even someone who has committed a horrific crime like this, where people say, he would have to be mentally ill to have done this, it's still difficult to prove the insanity defense.

You have to prove, basically, that you didn't understand the difference between right and wrong and you had no ability to control your actions. Obviously, there was an enormous amount of planning that went into these homicides. He accumulated large amounts of weapons, ammunitions, sophisticated booby traps. All of this would suggest someone who knew the difference between right and wrong, who was able to plan, and by the way, statistically, last year in Colorado, only one out of 35,000 cases succeeded with the insanity defense.

BLITZER: So how do you go ahead, Tom, with an insanity defense, if you will?

MESEREAU: Well, you still have to. I mean, this person, apparently, from everything I've heard, dressed like the joker, thought he was the joker, thought he was part of this film, or something like that. You have to show that just because he's intelligent, doesn't mean he's not insane.

You may remember the famous uni-bomber, who was an honors graduate of Harvard, taught mathematics at Harvard and at the University of California Berkeley, and he was completely insane. He was mailing bombs to random people and living in a little hut in the forest.

This is a very difficult task. This is such a despised individual at this point, but you know, the Colorado public defenders have excellent lawyers who specialize in defending death penalty cases, and I think they'll do an excellent job and the best they can in this particular case.

BLITZER: Listen, Paul, to what the FBI special agent who's in charge out on the scene said earlier in the day. Listen to this clip.


YACONE: I want to reiterate what the chief said yesterday. This case will be tried inside a court, OK? So I have to be very careful with my responses. I do not want to jeopardize a future prosecution.


BLITZER: Here's the question. Do they have to move the venue, or can he get a fair trial in Aurora or Denver or in that area?

CALLAN: Well, I most certainly think a change of venue to another part of the state would be the least, probably, that would happen, if it goes forward. But, of course, in this case, right at the very beginning, Wolf, will this guy even be competent to stand trial? A lot of times - I mean, if Tom is right, and he's suffering from this level of mental illness, he may not be even competent enough to enter a courtroom and understanding the proceedings, in which case he'll simply be sent to a mental hospital. So the decision as to which county he's going to be tried in is something we're going to be facing much farther down the line.

BLITZER: What do you expect we'll see in the courtroom on Monday, Tom? If you were, for example, his attorney, what would you do?

MESEREAU: I wouldn't let him utter a word. I would try and continue the arraignment, and I would ask that he be evaluated. I'd ask that the proper mental health professionals be appointed and that he be examined right away, and if I were his lawyer, he would not utter one syllable.

BLITZER: Tom Mesereau and Paul Callan. And gentlemen, thanks so much for coming in. I'm sure we'll continue our conversation here in the SITUATION ROOM this legal process involving this case is obviously only beginning.

We're also continuing to get more stories of survival, including a man shot in the neck and lived to tell about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a few millimeters in or centimeters in, and I don't think I would have left the theater.



BLITZER: So many people were shot in that theater yesterday and dozens of people are still hospitalized. Stephen Barton was shot through the neck and survived.

Nelson Garcia of CNN affiliate, KUSA has the story.


STEPHEN BARTON, SHOT IN THE NECK: I thought that would was somewhere around here, and you know, just a few millimeters in or centimeters in and I don't think I would have left the theater.

NELSON GARCIA, REPORTER, KUSA (voice-over): Stephen Barton was just passing through on a cross country bike ride from Connecticut. Now he finds himself sitting in the medical center of Aurora, shot through the neck. He didn't even realize what happened at first.

BARTON: My memory is only of the muzzle, like the flash. And that's probably part of the reason I thought it was fireworks, because I didn't even see a figure behind the gun.

GARCIA: Barton thought the whole thing was surreal.

BARTON: It was like I was looking at my hand or arm and for a time I thought it had been blown off because I couldn't feel it at all or like broken in some way. And so, I was kind of relieved to see it still attached to my body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's truly a remarkable young man. He came in with some critical injuries. He was the victim of shotgun wounds.

GARCIA: Doctors here think he will recover. His mother is grateful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first thing I did was touching his head and gives him a kiss.

GARCIA: And Barton wonders why this all happened.

BARTON: In some sense, you know, I'm sorry that he had to, you know; cope with whatever was going on in his life by doing this.

GARCIA: Now he'll be staying in Colorado a little longer than expected.


BLITZER: That report from Nelson Garcia of our CNN affiliate KUSA.

I said 71 people had been shot. Seventy is the updated new number. Seventy people shot, 12 dead of those 70.

Our own Don Lemon is on the ground for us. He is working a CNN Special Report that will air later tonight on the movie theater shootings.

Don, first of all, gives us a little flavor. You've been there on the ground for what, a day now. You've spoken to a lot of people. What's going on? Give us a little mood, because as sad as it is, I'm sure when that you're there in person, it's devastating.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is devastating, but I do have to say, Wolf, that the community here has really come together and people are being as positive as they can about this entire situation, including the victims and one of whom I spoke to earlier today, her name is Christine Blache. She is 29 years old, Wolf, and she served in Baghdad. She was a senior airman in the air force, served in Baghdad. She was there for four months and I asked her about her experience on the war zone and her experience in that theater and listen to what she had to say.


LEMON: So you were in Iraq?


LEMON: How many times?

BLACHE: Just once.

LEMON: One term in Iraq. So you've been in a war zone.


LEMON: Was this one of the worst things you've seen, was this worst than anything you saw?

BLACHE: This was worse because I had to watch like my friends and people we were just laughing and joking with five minutes prior, never saw it coming. They didn't sign up to be shot that night. You know what I mean? If you're in the military, you signed up for it. You are signing up possibly ricking your life. Whereas, these people were going to a movie to enjoy themselves, to spend time whether it was their family, their friends, they didn't sign up to be shot.


LEMON: So she and ten of her friends went to that movie theater. One of her friends, Alex Sullivan wanted to go to the movie, sadly Wolf, he died. Among the 11 people she was with, 11 total, five of them were injured, one of them died. And we'll hear more from her tonight on our special at 8:00.

BLITZER: Yes. We are going to be watching Don, thank you very much, excellent work, together with the entire CNN team in Aurora.

Once again, Don will have much more on this tragedy, a special program 8:00 p.m. Eastern from Aurora, Colorado that will air here on CNN.

Up next in the SITUATION ROOM, some of the most stirring images from the last 36 hours and a special look at the innocent victims of this tragedy.


BLITZER: Here are some memorable images from Aurora.

Look at these. A box of popcorn lies on the ground outside the Century 16 Theater.

Flowers, candles and a sign reading, "Aurora is strong form and make shift memorial for the victims of the shooting."

And investigators perched on the roof of James Holmes' apartment building.

And a group of young people gather outside the Aurora Theater to pray for dead and injured.

All of this has been an amazing, amazing story. And I just want to leave you with this one thought. Of the 12 victims, their identities have now been known, the youngest, only 6-years-old. The 12 who were killed, 6-years-old the youngest, 51 the oldest.

We leave you now with a look at the victims in this horrible, horrible case.