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THE SITUATION ROOM
Suspected Colorado Gunman in Court; Sanctions for Penn State
Aired July 23, 2012 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, a huge fine and four-year bowl ban. The NCAA punishes Penn State.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
He's the most notorious man in the United States of America right now. And, today, we got a first look at the 24-year-old suspect, the man suspected of carrying out the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
And take a look at this, James Holmes' mug shot released just a little while ago by law enforcement authorities.
CNN's Ed Lavandera is beginning our coverage this hour.
Very dramatic day in court. We got lots of information. Ed, set the scene for us. Tell us what we learned.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a dramatic day from the sense that since the very moment that James Holmes was taken into custody in the early morning hours of Friday, authorities here in Aurora had not released a mug shot of him. This was the first time that the victims and the victims' families got a chance to see James Holmes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please be seated.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): James Holmes didn't say a word during his first court appearance in Colorado. So, we're left trying to read body language, looking for clues, signs of emotion, remorse, satisfaction, anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have the right to remain silence.
LAVANDERA: But in just moments, it wasn't the shaggy, orange hair with the red on top, it was the range of bewildering facial expression that captured everyone's attention.
At times, it seemed like James Holmes struggled to keep his eyes open as the judge ordered him to have no contact with the shooting victims or their families, it wasn't clear that Holmes was processing the words, staring blankly at something in front of him. Holmes face would then turn to looking confused. Then his eyes would open wide, freeze briefly, and his head would just drop down. Next week, prosecutors begin detailing the criminal charges against Holmes. Prosecutors say the death penalty is a very real possibility.
CAROL CHAMBERS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: There's so much victims will have to take into account. They will be impacted in an enormous way for years if -- if the death penalty is sought. That's a very long process that impacts their lives for years. And so, they will want to have, and we will want to get their input before we make any kind of a decision on that.
LAVANDERA: After the short court appearance, James left the courtroom in shackles, seemingly an even bigger enigma to everyone, trying to understand the mind of the suspected mass killer.
LAVANDERA: Wolf, there's been a great deal of speculation in the hours since James Holmes appeared in this courtroom as to whether he may or may not have been medically sedated or under some kind of medication.
We have heard back just a little while from the sheriff's department here. They're the ones that are in charge of keeping him in the jail here in the Aurora area. And they said they cannot tell us. The person we spoke with said they didn't know if James Holmes was under medication and even if they did know, that that would be something they could not share about him -- Wolf.
BLITZER: So he remains in solitary confinement until next Monday at least. That's when his next court appearance takes place.
LAVANDERA: That is. Next Monday, he will be back in court again. That's when we expect to really get a sense of just the amount of charges and criminal charges that will be filed against him. Prosecutors say they will begin to line that out next Monday.
BLITZER: Ed Lavandera on the scene for us, thank you.
Holmes' appearance and demeanor are especially disturbing to some of the survivors of the theater massacre. Listen to what one of them told CNN's Kyung Lah.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORBIN DATES, SURVIVOR: He has no right to come into court looking like he has a sad face. The look that he has right now is not something that's going to be believable.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You think it's an act?
DATES: Yes. He had this thought out very well.
LAH: So do you think the hair and the face, this is all part of an act?
DATES: It's an act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We also heard just a little while ago from the suspect's family in San Diego through an attorney. They released a statement saying their hearts go out to those who were involved in the tragedy and to their families and friends, but they took issue with ABC News , whose reporting implied that Holmes' mother wasn't surprised by her son's alleged actions.
The attorney read this statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROL CHAMBERS, ARAPAHOE COUNTY, COLORADO, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: "I was awakened by a call from a reporter from ABC on July 20 about 5:45 in the morning. I did not know anything about a shooting in Aurora at that time.
"He asked if I was Arlene Holmes and if my son was James Holmes, who lives in Aurora, Colorado. I answered, 'Yes, you have the right person.' I was referring to myself. I asked him to tell me why he was calling, and he told me about a shooting in Aurora. He asked for a comment. I told him I could not comment because I did not know if the person he was talking about was my son and I would feed need to find out."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The attorney also says the family is in a secret location right now, not discussing their son publicly at this time.
What a story. We will have a lot more, Kate, on this story coming up.
For those of our viewers who may have missed the court appearance, we're going to play a big portion of that, get a little sense of what was going on.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That, in and of itself, was so captivating. You and I were talking about that earlier. It was amazing to watch.
BLITZER: A school seemingly on the defensive, we have details next of what the University of Colorado is and isn't saying about the former student who is now the suspect in the movie theater massacre.
Plus, the crimes were stunning. So is the punishment. At 37 past the hour, we will have details of the unprecedented price that Penn State University will pay for the child sex abuse scandal.
BLITZER: There was a very dramatic moment, in fact 10 minutes or so when he walked into the courtroom today. James Holmes, the 24- year-old suspect in the largest, the most sweeping mass shooting in modern American history showed up. There you see some pictures of him during various times during the court appearance.
For those of you who missed what was going on, I want to play this excerpt. Watch it. We will discuss it here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Holmes, this matter comes on for what we call an initial advisement pursuant to rule five. Deputy, if you would please step back.
You have a right to remain silent. If you make any statements, they can be used against you. You have a right to be represented by an attorney.
If you could not afford one, under statutory guidelines, I would appoint one to represent you at no cost to yourself. Any plea you make must be voluntary, not the result of any undue influence or coercion.
Typically, you have a right to be advised of the charges. You have a right to be advised of the charges, the duty judge to make a preliminary determination of probable cause to believe you committed the offense of first-degree murder which is a class one felony under Colorado law.
Ordinarily, individuals are entitled to bail. Given the nature of the charges, you are currently being held on a no-bond hold. You also have a right to have a jury trial and preliminary hearing to determine whether it was probable cause to believe that you're the person that committed the offense.
It is the order of the court you shall not harass, molest, intimidate, retaliate against or tamper with any witness to or victim of the acts you are charged with committing, shall vacate the home of the victim, stay away from the home of the victims and stay away from any other location the victims are likely to be found.
You shall refrain from contacting, directly or indirectly communicating with the victims, shall not possess or control a firearm or other weapon, shall not possess alcoholic beverages or controlled substances. And it is the further order of the court you are not to committee any new offenses.
Ms. Pearson (ph), if you would approach, please.
I have just signed a mandatory protection order. If you would tender a copy to Mr. Holmes and acknowledge his receipt on the record?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Looks like he's having trouble keeping his eyes open.
Drew Griffin is joining us right now. He's in Aurora.
That was very, very strange, that entire court appearance. Drew, you're on the scene for us. Tell us what's going on, because there are so many questions that were raised by that brief court appearance, questions we still don't have answers to.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and the questions which led us to university officials, where this person went to school up until June 10, when he withdrew from that medical campus not far from here, Wolf.
For the first time, finally, university officials came and met the press today to answer some questions. They didn't give a lot of answers, though. But I want to tell you, Wolf, about the program he was in. Just six students are allowed into this program each year.
According to the dean, faculty monitors are assigned to each one of these very bright, very gifted students who monitor them not just weekly, but sometimes daily. So the obvious interaction that takes place is fairly obvious as they are describing it.
And it's very unusual, highly unusual according to the dean there, Barry Shur, that anybody would drop out. He described what would happen if somebody even attempted to drop out of the program. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARRY SHUR, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO, DENVER: When a student decides to withdraw, there's a form that they need to complete. And on it, they first have to sign off that this is a voluntary withdrawal from their perspective.
They then get program directors to sign off on it. And then at the last signature that's required is from the dean's office before it goes to the registrar. And that paperwork was in process, was in progress.
They require the signature of each of the people on that form. The pertinent information that I think you're asking is his reason for leaving the program. And that is undefined.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Very unusual that anybody, Wolf, should leave the program.
What Barry Shur also said is there's a meeting. They sit down, the program director, the student, the other faculty members to try to in shorthand rescue this student from dropping out, to see when they can do.
Did that happen in this case? The school is absolutely silent on this. And the actual chancellor of the school, a guy by the name of Don Elliman, got very defensive when asked about that, especially when it relates to the victims' families who want to know if there was a change in behavior.
He said they're going to, meaning the families, they're going to get something when this goes to court. We are not going to try this in the public. This is just part of the investigation. And that's a simple fact.
So I guess what I'm trying to say to you, Wolf, and your viewers is, there must have been some intensive interaction at this school involved with this student in that last month when he decided that he was going to withdraw, just based on the fact that it's such a small kind of class and a highly specialized program he was in.
BLITZER: Just to be precise, he voluntarily dropped out as you say on June 10. He didn't flunk out or they didn't kick him out. He was the one who went to school officials and said I want to drop out. Is that the information you're getting?
GRIFFIN: Here is the specifics.
He took oral exams, which they do after the first year. This was the first year of this program. Shortly after those oral exams, James Holmes notified the school he was withdrawing. That I guess would be technically different than dropping out. It was at that moment that the policies in general should have kicked in that there would have been some kind of intervention.
But even before that, Wolf, by the school's own admission from day one of this program, these students are linked up with faculty monitors and a team to guide them through this highly specialized neuroscience program.
BLITZER: And we don't know how he did on those oral examinations, if he passed, if he failed. The school is not releasing those kinds of details?
GRIFFIN: The school would not release those details. They would not release and tried delicately not to release any details about this particular student, even his behavior, any kind of observations that the faculty may have witnessed.
They wouldn't release anything about him. And defensively, the chancellor was saying this was part of the investigation and they are cooperating.
BLITZER: Drew, we will stay in close touch with you. Drew Griffin on the scene for us.
Kate, you know, the more we learn about this, the weirder and weirder it becomes. But it's so tragic and so sad what happened.
BOLDUAN: It's so tragic, it's so sad, and obviously the focus is on the investigation in trying to answer the big question of why and motive.
But as we can tell, seems more questions and answers at this point. But I guess that is to be expected.
Wolf, we will be talking to experts later on this hour about the case, about James Holmes, what are the next steps involving this investigation. Of course, we will be following very closely the shooting in Colorado and all the latest developments. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Much more coming up on the Colorado shooting, the fallout. Our own Anderson Cooper is on the scene tore us. He will be speaking with us this hour.
But let's check back with Kate. She's got some of the other important stories we're following.
BOLDUAN: Big important stories that we're following right now.
First to Syria, we have a -- senior White House officials are regularly holding high level meetings to discuss what would happen in Syria after President Bashar al-Assad, and the Arab League says it will offer Assad a safe exit if he steps down quickly and leaves the country.
This comes as fighting rages on in the streets of Syria and an admission from the Syrian government. Officials say they have chemical or biological weapons, but they say they would never be used against Syrian citizens, just foreign attackers.
Also, a disturbing rise in traffic deaths this year. The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration says more than 7,600 people were killed in vehicle accidents in the first three months of this year. That's an increase of more than 13 percent from 2011. A spokesman says though it is too early to speculate on what's behind the rise. You can be sure they're looking into that.
Also, airline flight attendants will soon be able to breeze through airport security, much like pilots already do. The TSA says they flight attendants will be allowed to display credentials instead of undergoing physical screening, although they will still be subject to random searches. It's hoped the move will help reduce congestion at airport security checkpoints.
I was surprised when I even heard that they weren't following the same procedures as pilots.
BLITZER: I know.
I have my only speculation, total speculation, not scientifically why there's such a rise in traffic deaths?
BOLDUAN: Tell me.
BLITZER: Texting, people on cell phones, people doing stuff they shouldn't be doing while they're driving. You drive around, you see everybody nowadays. BOLDUAN: I know. I think it's one of the worst things that people can do. I'm always frustrated when I see them on those.
One of the things they're looking into to is if the warmer winter actually contributed to that because more people are on the road and driving, but again nothing confirmed yet.
BLITZER: Just my guess.
BOLDUAN: Just your guess. We will look into it.
BLITZER: Thank you. But it's a serious...
BOLDUAN: Thank you. It is very serious, yes.
BLITZER: So, how will the case against the Colorado theater massacre suspect unfold? We're going to go inside the legal proceeding with a criminal defense attorney, a former prosecutor. Stand by.
And coming up at 36 after the hour, an unprecedented punishment for Penn State University for the child sex abuse scandal. We have details of the high price the university will now pay.
BLITZER: Happening now: What possible defense could there be? We go inside the case against the Colorado theater massacre suspect, a closer look at the deadly arsenal he amassed.
Plus, a small boat barely escapes a giant avalanche of snow and ice, all of it caught on tape.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
You're looking -- about to see a live picture of the memorial that has been set up in Aurora, Colorado, for the victims of this horrendous mass shooting.
Our own Anderson Cooper is on the scene for us.
Anderson, you were there Friday. Give us a little feeling of what's going on today. What's the same, what's different?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, certainly, while a lot of news groups have been focusing on the appearance in court of the suspect and also the recent release of his mug shot, I think for a lot of people here, the focus is squarely on the victims, on the survivors and those who are still hospitalized.
You just saw the memorial, which has really been growing since Friday. When I was here Friday night, it was a few candles. It was maybe just a few feet long. It's now taken up a much larger area and has become a real destination point for people from Aurora and all around who just want to stop by.
It's a few blocks from the movie theater, stop by and pay their respects to the 12 who have lost their lives and so many of the others who have had their lives forever changed.
We are going to be focusing really, Wolf, tonight on the victims. We're going to be talking to the father of a man by the name of Alex Teves, one of the 12 who was killed inside that theater. We're also going to talk to his girlfriend. And Alex actually shielded his girlfriend with his own body and -- and was killed doing just that, as a number of other people were as well.
So, we're going to try to talk to as many family members who want to talk to us about -- about their loved ones, about what they are going through and about the lives that their loved ones lived, Wolf.
BLITZER: Did these family members want to watch that proceeding in the courtroom today? Did they want to see the suspect's face? Or did they just turn off the TV, if you will?
COOPER: I think it really depends on who talk to. I know Alex Teves' father actually came here and was in the courtroom. And we'll talk to him about that decision. Because I've talked to other relatives who don't even want to hear the name of the suspect mentioned.
And frankly, we're not -- that's a sentiment that's widely felt here. President Obama talked about it yesterday when he was visiting here. We're not even going to be actually mentioning the suspect's name on my program. I really want to focus on -- trying to focus on the names of the victims and have those be the names that people remember months and years from now, not as so often in the past, the killer's names.
But some people want to learn as many details as they can about who did this and why. And others frankly don't want to hear this person's name mentioned.
COOPER: Anderson Cooper will be live, 8 p.m. Eastern, "AC 360." He's on the scene for us in Colorado. Thank you, Anderson, very much.
Today, as you know, we got our first look at the young man accused of the Colorado theater massacre. Kate, we've been talking about this throughout the hour.
BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right, Wolf. I mean, what we're talking about, to remind our viewers, is 70 people shot, 12 people killed. And this is the suspect. We've been showing you images of him. Twenty-four-year-old James Holmes with bright orange and red hair that you really can't miss, as well as wearing a maroon jump suit.
He made odd expressions, to say the least, during his first court appearance. Sometimes appearing dazed, sometimes closing his eyes, not even seeming like he was paying attention to the proceedings, and he didn't say a thing. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the order of the court you shall not harass, molest, intimidate, retaliate against or tamper with any witness to or victim of the acts you are charged with committing. Shall vacate the home of the victim, stay away from the home of the victims and stay away from any other location the victims are likely to be found.
You shall refrain from contacting directly or indirectly communicating with the victims. Shall not possess or control firearm or other weapon, shall not possess or consume alcoholic beverages or controlled substances. And it is the further order of the court you are not to commit any new offenses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A lot to discuss with famed criminal defense attorney Thomas Mesereau. And CNN legal contributor Paul Callan, the former New York City homicide prosecutor.
Tom, let me start with you. What did you think of that initial appearance by the suspect in court today?
THOMAS MESEREAU, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What he was thinking or what he was doing, all we can do is speculate. He could have been medicated. He could have been exhausted, or he could be completely insane. He may not even know where he is. We just don't know. You can't judge him by his appearance alone.
BLITZER: Is that normal in a situation like this for law enforcement authorities -- he's in solitary confinement -- in a jail to give him medication, if you will? How does that work?
MESEREAU: Well, it's certainly not abnormal that he's in solitary confinement. He's the kind of prisoner that they're always going to fear others will want to harm so they can obtain celebrity status in the jail. It's very typical this person is isolated.
He also may have to be isolated, because he could be a threat to other people, given his degree of insanity, if that exists. He also could be medicated.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: On the medication question, you know, I think it would be highly unusual if he was medicated by law enforcement authorities.
You know, it would be one thing if he was a diabetic and he needed insulin or something like that, yes. He would be medicated. But you're talking about psychotropic medications that would have this kind of effect on him in court. And I doubt that they would let him take such medications, because it would interfere with his ability to understand what was going on in court.
So I doubt that that was a medication-induced performance that we saw in court today. I think meds probably had very little to do with it.
BOLDUAN: And Paul, I wanted to get your perspective as a former prosecutor. I mean, we had the district attorney out there today, saying there's no, quote unquote, no such thing as a slam-dunk case. How difficult, from your perspective, do you think it is going to be to prosecute this case? So many people watching kind of how this has unfolded from home would almost think that it is a slam-dunk case.
CALLAN: Well, as cases go, it is a slam-dunk case. I mean, lawyers say that. There's no such thing as a slam-dunk case. And the reason they say it is because -- and I'm sure Tom will confirm this -- anybody who tries a lot of cases, you occasionally lose a case that you should win and you win a case that you expect to lose. That does happen.
But there are some cases where the evidence is so overwhelming that it would be hard to imagine a loss. Now, of course, we don't know the details that law enforcement authorities have accumulated against the suspect here. But it certainly looks like a slam-dunk case to me.
BLITZER: Let me bring Tom back into this conversation. Slam- dunk he's going to be convicted as far as something is concerned. But there's a difference between homicide, the death sentence, for example, being executed, as opposed to serving the rest of his life in a mental institution if there's a successful insanity plea.
MESEREAU: Well, practically speaking, he's never going to leave custody. OK? He's either going to die on Death Row, as you just said, or he's going to die in a mental institution, probably shut up with Thorazine or some other powerful drug. Neither one is a very good prospect for living the rest of your life.
But his defense attorneys are pledged to protect him as best they can. And I think you're going to find very skilled, experienced lawyers when it comes to death penalty representation. They're going to dig up every aspect of his background and develop. They're going to put together a case that this man is completely insane. They'll probably start by challenging his competency to even -- even stand trial under the theory that he's so gone, he can't even cooperate with his lawyers, and that will go through a lot of various proceedings and tests.
But this man's prospects are not good either way. The only question is, will he be executed?
BOLDUAN: Now, let's play you guys a sound bite from a press conference today from the attorney representing the suspect's family and then we'll talk a little bit about it. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA DAMIAN, ATTORNEY FOR SUSPECT'S FAMILY: The family wants to reiterate that their hearts go out to the victims and their families. The Holmes family would like to maintain their privacy. So at this time, we will not be discussing James or his relationship to the family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Now, Tom, would you be advising -- that last bit caught my attention. Would you be advising the family to kind of distance themselves from -- from James at this point?
MESEREAU: Well, I don't know if you can do that. They are the parents.
MESEREAU: You know, who knows what their current mental and emotional state is? They're probably shifting between disbelief and denial to just terror. I mean, they're in a horrible position that -- that they didn't create.
But I think the best they can do is just lay low and be as quiet and silent as they can, which is not going to be easy in this case.
BLITZER: It's going to be at least a year, we're told, by law enforcement in Colorado, Paul, before an actual trial might begin. Is that routine, excessive? What do you think?
CALLAN: No, as a matter of fact, I think that's optimistic that this case would go to trial in a year.
You know, as Tom mentioned, if we start out with the issue of a competency hearing, if he, for instance, is found incompetent to stand trial, which happens a lot of times, where you have an insane defendant. He goes to a mental hospital and then he's brought back subsequently when he's able to understand what's going on. So that could delay the trial.
Then you have preparation for this case. I mean, with the huge number of victims, the number, the amount of forensic evidence, the fact, by the way, that you could even see federal authorities getting involved, because remember, not only did he soot up that movie theater and kill all of those people, allegedly, but the booby-trapped apartment could have destroyed that entire apartment building and created another whole class of victims, and he could be charged with that, as well.
This is an extraordinarily complex case, and it's going to take a long time to bring it to trial.
BLITZER: Paul Callan, stand by for a moment. Tom Mesereau stand by for a moment, as well. Kate has got some new video she wants to show our viewers.
BOLDUAN: We're just getting in some video that we want to show all of our viewers. This is video that ABC News has been showing. It's a clip of James Holmes during the time that he was speaking at a camp. If we can roll that video, I want to make sure our viewers can see it before and start talking more about it. But this is video of him speaking. I believe this is a science camp in 2006. Correct me in the control room if I'm wrong here. But I think what's most striking about -- OK, I think we're going to listen to a little bit of it. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES HOLMES, SHOOTING SUSPECT: Over the course of the summer, I've been working with temporal illusion. It's an illusion that allows you to change the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: I think what's most striking about that is kind of the normal demeanor that we see of him years ago, but kind of juxtaposed that from the man, the boy that we saw in the courtroom today. It's pretty startling stuff.
BLITZER: And very quickly to both of the attorneys. Paul, to you first. You see that video. What, if any, role does all of that stuff play in a case like this?
CALLAN: Well, the -- his past and the good things or successes he's had in prior life, of course, will be used in a death penalty case during the sentencing portion of the trial. To convince a jury not to put him to death. So I mean, that's where we'll see that.
And I think, you know, with respect to the mental illness issues, if there's an insanity defense, prosecutors will rely on that normalcy to show that he was capable of planning. He understood the difference between right and wrong, and he doesn't deserve the benefit of an insanity finding.
BLITZER: And a final thought from you, Tom?
MESEREAU: I agree with everything Paul just said. I think the defense would take information like this and say, "Look, this person was normal at one point. He absolutely snapped. He was governed by delusion, paranoia, extreme mental illness. He couldn't tell right from wrong. In fact, he thought he was doing the right thing. He thought the world was conspiring against him." They will build a portrait of someone who is completely insane and shouldn't be executed.
BLITZER: Tom Mesereau, Paul Callan, we'll continue this conversation. There's lots to discuss. Thanks to both of you for joining us today. We'll have more on what's going on in Aurora, Colorado this hour.
Also, banned from the bowls. Stripped of scholarships, plus a massive fine. And that's not all. Details of the NCAA's punishment against Penn State University, that's coming up.
BLITZER: The NCAA slammed Penn State University's football program today. The university will be fined $60 million over five years. The governor just released a statement, saying he wants assurances no taxpayer dollars will be used.
The team is banned from playing bowl games for four years. The program will lose 20 football scholarships a year for four years, and the winningest coach in major college football history will be stripped of all of his wins after 1998. That bumps the longtime coach Joe Paterno down from No. 1 to 12 on the wins list.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK EMMERT, NCAA PRESIDENT: No matter what we do here today, there is no action we can take that will remove their pain and anguish. But what we can do is impose sanctions that both reflect the magnitude of these terrible acts and that are also -- and that also ensure that Penn State will rebuild an athletic culture that went horribly awry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And CNN contributor Sara Ganim, who's been covering this story from day one, is joining us now from Harrisburg.
Sara, so far, what's been the reaction to these decisions from the victims' families?
SARA GANIM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I've heard from a lot of victim attorneys today, Wolf, and really mixed reactions. One attorney told me that they were OK with the sanctions but were upset that they didn't directly compensate the victims of Jerry Sandusky.
Another one told me that he was happy, that it seemed severe enough. And yet another said, you know, why weren't we consulted in this process?
So it's really -- across the board, there are advocate groups who have come out in support of the NCAA's decision, and those who have come out against, saying it wasn't harsh enough. So it's really a mixed reaction, almost really a reflection of the same -- the reaction of the community.
BLITZER: What about from Joe Paterno's family and friends? What do they say?
GANIM: Joe Paterno's family issued a statement again today and again denouncing the Freeh report, saying that it was biased and incomplete and that the NCAA is just jumping on the bandwagon and accepting that report without giving Joe Paterno his due process.
Now, they said that the taking away of the wins, the 111 wins that are now vacated, was defaming the coach. They called him a coach, an educator and a contributor to Penn State, that this defames his legacy.
You know, they've been in support of their father and husband from the beginning, but in the last couple of weeks with the statue coming down, with these sanctions, really their statements have become more and more harsh and really more on the defensive more, coming out against Penn State and its decisions and today against the NCAA.
BLITZER: And Penn State University, the new leadership there, the new university president, the board of trustees, they're -- I take it they're going to accept this punishment. They're not going to appeal it. Is that right?
GANIM: That's right. Actually, the president signed a consent form. So he actually agreed to this after the sanctions were decided by the NCAA executive board. He signed a consent to them.
He put out a statement to the students this morning, President Erickson saying, "Look, we can survive a couple of years of bad football. What we need to focus on is becoming a leader in ethics and integrity and doing -- going forward doing the right thing."
Bill O'Brien, who was named the head coach after Joe Paterno was fired, put out a few paragraphs, basically saying, "Look, I'm going to stick with Penn State. I'm going to stick with my team. And I have all the faith in my athletes that I had before. Let's move forward."
Now, it's interesting that Bill O'Brien would say that, especially because this really -- these sanctions really affect his compensation. A lot of his contract was dependent on going to a bowl game, going to the championship games. A high percentage of his salary and his bonuses are dependent on those things.
So he really suffers a lot from this. I found it very interesting that the length of the probation is five years. That's the exact length of his contract.
BLITZER: Sara Ganim, thanks again. Thanks for your reporting.
BOLDUAN: A massive arsenal gathered in only a few months. More details emerging about the firepower the Colorado massacre suspect had.
BLITZER: Thousands of rounds of ammunition and the kind of firepower normally used by police. Joe Johns takes a closer look at the weapons the suspect in Colorado gathered.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the types of gun and ammo purchased by James Holmes, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting. And he did it in just a matter of months through local gun stores as well as online.
We asked Chuck Nesby, an instructor at a northern Virginia gun store, to walk us through the weapons and their potential firepower. The 12-gauge shotgun...
CHUCK NESBY, GUN INSTRUCTOR: This is an eight-shot basically military and police shotgun. Capable of carrying 3-inch and 2.75- inch... JOHNS (on camera): So it's pump action?
JOHNS (voice-over): The AR-15, which in this case would have also had a drum capable of holding 100 rounds.
(on camera) You've got 100 rounds in there. How long does it take to get 100 rounds off, say?
NESBY: Thirty seconds.
JOHNS: That fast?
JOHNS (voice-over): And two 40 millimeter Glock handguns.
(on camera) How many rounds do they hold?
JOHNS: OK. And so you can get off 16 pretty fast with that, right?
(voice-over) Whatever you think of the guns, it's also the amount of ammunition the shooter was able to buy that's got gun control advocates fired up. We're talking about 3,000 rounds for the AR-15; another 3,000 rounds for the Glock; and over 300 shotgun shells. That would be more than six cases of total ammunition, six times what you see here on the counter.
In fact, small gun stores like this one don't keep that much ammo on premises, though there is demand from some customers to buy in bulk.
NESBY: Competition shooters, very common. They go through -- they burn through a lot of ammunition in practice and in competition. They would buy it in the thousands.
JOHNS: Where is it easy to get a lot of bullets? Online. In fact, there are Web sites where you can purchase ammo 1,000 rounds at a time. There's no federal I.D. or background check required for purchasing ammunition, which gun-control advocates see as a problem.
DAN GROSS, PRESIDENT, BRADY CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE: By and large, across our nation, there's very limited -- there are very few restrictions on the sale of ammunition.
JOHNS: A few states and even a few local governments do have laws controlling the sale of ammunition, though gun-control advocates say on their scorecard, Colorado is one of the most permissive states in the country.
GROSS: It's appallingly low. On our state's scorecard, Colorado gets a score of 15, which puts them near the bottom.
JOHNS: And on that, the National Rifle Association declined to comment today, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Joe, thanks very, very much -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: A boat gets caught in the middle of a glacier tsunami. Amazing video you don't want to miss coming up next.
BLITZER: A peaceful boat ride to see glaciers turned terrifying. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos with the video.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He wasn't exactly as cool as ice, but at least there were no expletives to delete when this happened.
JENS MULLER, CAPTAIN: Oh!
MOOS: Off the coast of Greenland, part of a glacier collapsed, sending a mini-tsunami directly at this motor boat. And what did Jens Muller say?
MOOS: Just about every five seconds, he said it.
MOOS: Until the wave hit. The boat was sideways toward the glacier. And when Jens's uncle saw the wave coming, he gunned it out of there.
MOOS: No one was hurt: not Jens, not the Australian tourists they were taking sight-seeing.
MOOS: Lest you think the only language Jens speaks is "Wow"...
MULLER: I've never been this close to dying. I've never been this close to dying before.
MOOS (on camera): The thing that seemed to impress people was the way the shooter held the camera steady and stayed focused instead of ducking and covering. (voice-over) But Jens says that's only because he was looking in his viewfinder.
MULLER (via phone): You know, the screen is pretty small. And on this screen, the waves looked really, really, really small.
MOOS: Jens, a 23-year-old mechanical engineering student, said the ice was cracking for about four minutes before the collapse. And for some reason...
MULLER: None of us was actually scared.
MOOS: The boat wasn't damaged until later when they hit a piece of ice under water on their way home that damaged the steering. A relative had to come retrieve them. No wonder someone posted "Is this the prequel to 'Titanic'?"
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iceberg, dead ahead!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ice, dead ahead!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iceberg, dead ahead!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iceberg, dead ahead, sir!
MOOS: Tsunami ahead, but thankfully, Jens isn't dead, though "wow" is a victim of overkill.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: I have to say wow! Wow.
BOLDUAN: You took the word right out of my mouth.
BLITZER: That's it for us. Thanks very much for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.