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Aurora Theater Shooting Examined; Victims and Witnesses of Aurora Shooting Interviewed; Missing Iowa Girls Case "An Abduction"; Iran The "Center Of Terror"; Pilot Rescued; Norway Remembers Terror Attack; Anaheim Residents Clash With Police; Els Captures Second British Open; What Was His Motive?; NCAA To Announce Penn State Punishment; The Public's First Glimpse

Aired July 23, 2012 - 07:00   ET



SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Massacre in Aurora. This morning, alleged gunman, James Holmes, in court for the first time. Four guns, 6,000 rounds of ammunition, now, the search for answers and the motive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was diabolical and demonic in a twisted sense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a deliberative process by a very intelligent man who wanted to do this.

O'BRIEN: As a community tries to heal, victims who can't forget the horror.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The best way, I compare this to a war zone, you know? Except in this war zone, only one side had the gun.

O'BRIEN: A special edition of "Starting Point" live from Aurora Colorado begins right now.


O'BRIEN (on-camera): Good morning. Welcome, everybody from Aurora, Colorado. This morning, the community here is trying to heal after Friday's horrific movie theater massacre. Twelve people were killed, 58 others wounded. Seventeen people remain in the hospital this morning.

And in just a few hours, four and a half hours, the suspected shooter, James Holmes, will make his first court appearance in the courthouse that is right behind me. He's being held in the adjacent jail in isolation in connection with the killings as well as the discovery of his booby-trapped apartment. He faces first degree murder charges, an offense that could carry a possible death penalty sentence. Police say he spent months planning the rampage. So far we know of no motive. Officers say right now he is not cooperating.

This as the people of Aurora are coming together and remembering the victims and trying to move forward. Last night thousands attended a prayer vigil to honor those touched by the violence and to remember the lives lost. Earlier President Obama met with survivors and families of those killed. Here he is with two young women who survived the shooting, and after meeting with them he spoke about justice for the victims.


BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Although the perpetrator of this evil act has received a lot of attention over the last couple of days, that attention will fade away. And, in the end, after he has felt the full force of our justice system, what will be remembered are the good people who are impacted by this tragedy.


O'BRIEN: We're exploring this tragedy in depth this morning. We'll hear from survivors of the shooting and also going to hear from the mayor of Aurora, a clinical psychologist, and former FBI agent and speak exclusively with a man who was a camp counselor with Holmes.

We begin, though, this morning, with an interview with two young women, McKayla Hicks and Lori Schafer. They were in the theater next to where the gunman opened fire. A bullet passed through the wall and struck McKayla right in the chin. Lori was sitting next to McKayla. McKayla, how does your chin feel?

MCKAYLA HICKS, VICTIM, AURORA SHOOTING: It hurts pretty bad in my gums, bottom gums got pushed back by the bullet and one tooth was knocked out and luckily caught it in my hand. The tooth next to the bottom front got moved around and that's mostly my pain that I have because so much pressure pushed on it.

O'BRIEN: Where did it end up, the bullet?

HICKS: It's currently still in my chin on this side.

O'BRIEN: What have doctors told you about your prognosis will they take the fragment out?

HICKS: No, if he said if they would take it out it would damage too many nerves, keep it in, if it causes trouble later in my life to see a plastic surgeon.

O'BRIEN: Many people about where the movie was the scene in the movie was so chaotic and dramatic that at first people didn't realize there was a shooting. When did you first realize it?

LORI SCHAFER, WITNESS, AURORA SHOOTING: McKayla says when the first gunshot happened, she remembers me saying what just happened. I don't recall saying that but I think it was once I realized how hurt she was, and we were running around trying to figure out where to go and what to do. When I really connected everything was when we went outside the back exit and saw the other people from theater nine running out and screaming and injured.

O'BRIEN: You pulled the fire alarm? SCHAFER: Yes.

O'BRIEN: How long before authorities came to start helping you?

SCHAFER: Probably like maybe a minute. I don't know. I have no judgment of time from that night, though, so -- but it wasn't long at all.

O'BRIEN: This morning in four and a half hours, the alleged gunman in the jail over there will head to the courtroom which is right next door. Many of the people who have been traumatized, whether victims or just in the community really and even people not here want to understand why. Is this something you're eager to understand?

HICKS: Yes. I mean, they say this guy was a genius and they say that his apartment was completely on his own. He obviously had some brains. But it's just real devastating that, you know, god gives someone so much talent that they just put it to horrible use and ruin people's lives and cause so much harm to people and hurt them so bad.

O'BRIEN: How is the community doing? There were several vigils I saw last night and there have been smaller ones over the last couple of days. Have those vigils been helpful?

SCHAFER: I think so. I mean, there's been so many things said just trying to help people and everyone is just really understanding about everything right now so just realizing how supportive people are and how everyone is really coming together helps a lot.

O'BRIEN: It does. That's good to know. So you both seem very calm to me and almost a little too calm. And I'm wondering if there's going to be a point where it hits you hard. You have a bullet in your chin.


O'BRIEN: In your face and doctors have said they don't want to ever take it out. How are you holding up?

HICKS: Just grateful it didn't hit anywhere else. I mean, I've heard stories of people getting hit in the head and arm and leg and I picture myself in their shoes going through my circumstances. If I were to get hit in the arm, my sports career would be done, leg, same thing, anywhere else. So I'm grateful it didn't shatter my jaw or go to my throat. So I'm just very grateful and my heart goes out to those that were seriously wounded or even anyone affected by this because it hurt so many people.

O'BRIEN: I'll give you the last word this morning. Anything you want to say to all of the folks, not just here in Aurora but across the country watching the story and all of our hearts have been broken by this tragedy.

SCHAFER: Like so many people, even people that don't know us or anything keep asking like what they did do to help. And like right now prayers are all people can do. There's nothing physical anyone can do obviously. So I think just the prayers are really helping and just that comfort knowing that people are there supporting everybody and trying to help us as best as they can.

O'BRIEN: You're both high school students, right?

HICKS: Yes, I'm entering my senior year.

SCHAFER: I just graduated.

O'BRIEN: Thanks for talking with us this morning. It's obviously very early here. We appreciate your time. Will you watch what happens this morning carefully and closely?

HICKS: Yes, I'm sure.

O'BRIEN: We should mention to folks, if you want to help the victims, go to They are collecting lots of money for the Colorado shooting victims. And that's a great way to help out if you're not here locally or even if you are here locally.

For the rest of the top stories we'll check in with Christine Romans. She's in New York and has an update for us. Christine, good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, Soledad. Immigration officials have be called to the scene of a deadly accident in southeastern Texas. Police say 11 people were killed, 12 others injured when a pickup truck veered off U.S. Highway 59 and slammed into two large trees last night. It was a one vehicle accident and police say all of the 23 victims were loaded inside the ford truck's cab and bed. They suspect smuggling, people smuggling.

Penn State paying the price for the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. In less than two hours, the NCAA will unveil what are set to be unprecedented sanctions against the football program. They include fines in excess of $30 million and the loss of scholarships and a ban from postseason bowl games. This comes a day after the school removed the iconic statue of football coach Joe Paterno from outside beaver stadium. Just ahead a live report on what to expect when the NCAA announces the sanctions less than two hours from now.

The Arab League making Syrian President Assad an offer they hope he can't refuse. They'll offer a safe exit for Assad and his family if he steps down quickly and leaves Syria. Arab League foreign ministers are also calling on opposition rebels to form a national transition government, but the violent clashes between regime forces and the Syrian opposition just escalates.

Jury selection set to begin this morning in the murder trial of Drew Peterson. The former Illinois police sergeant facing murder charges for the 2004 bathtub drowning of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. He's also a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife Stacy Peterson, but not charged with her death.

Radioactivity from Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant may cause as many as 2,500 cancer cases worldwide and 1,300 cancer deaths. That's according to a study by scientists at Stanford University. And Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare is investigating reports that workers at the damaged plant were told to put lead covers over their radiation detector devices to hide the severity of the radiation release.

Katherine Jackson has been found. The mother of Michael Jackson and guardian of his three children is staying with a family member in Arizona to de-stress. That's according to her son, Jermaine. Her nephew reported the Jackson family matriarch missing on Saturday. Concern mounted when Michael Jackson's 14-year-old daughter Paris tweeted that she hadn't seen her grandmother in a week and wanted her to come home.

New video overnight, members of the Denver Broncos visiting with shooting victims and emergency staff who treated many of Friday's massacre victims, doing their part to raise everyone's spirits. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, a new member to the community wasn't there but called several of those patients. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: All right, Christine, thank you.

As stories from witnesses and victims of the Aurora movie theater shooting emerge, I had a chance to sit down with one of the survivors from her hospital bed. Christina Blache was telling me what happened to her. She was shot with the gunman began firing. She was in the theater next to the gunman's theater where he was, so some of the bullets went through the walls. She served time in Iraq and said no one could be prepared for the horror that happened in the theater.


CHRISTINA BLACHE, SURVIVED AURORA THEATER SHOOTING: It was a lot of screaming and the best way I compare it to is a war zone, except in this war zone, only one side had the gun.


O'BRIEN: Blache's friend was in the theater with her, he was shot in the head and did not survive. He was celebrating his 27th birthday.


BLACHE: Sully was literally -- I was laying like this and turned around and he was laying face down like this and there was just blood coming from his head. But he had his eyes shut, like maybe you see a little kid and they are like -- they don't want to believe something is real or -- his eyes were squinted real tight and shut and I reached up with my other hand, and I said Sully, Sully, Sully, and no response.


O'BRIEN: I'm going to share more of that interview and an interviewer with Christina's doctor later on in our program.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, the owner of a gun range that James Holmes tried to get access to is going to tell us why he said he had a strange feeling about the alleged gunman. Drew Griffin talked with the owner. He's going to join us straight ahead this morning.

And what would cause a person to do something so evil and so atrocious? I'm going to speak with a clinical psychologist about any possible warning signs. You're watching STARTING POINT and we're back in just a moment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not surprising to me, his first thought would be her. That's what a man does. He protects his loved ones. I'm very proud of him. We're going to miss him.



ROMANS: Minding your business this morning, News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch stepping down from the boards from several of his U.K. newspapers, the company says it's routine corporate housecleaning, but they say he's distancing himself from the publishing arm after the hacking scandal last year.

U.S. stock futures, EU and Asian markets all down over concerns about Europe's debt problems and Spain with its borrowing cost climbing to crisis levels.

And airlines may be charging you more than necessary to cover fluctuating fuel costs. A new study shows the increase in fuel surcharges has been more than double the rise in fuel cost since April of last year. And fuel surcharges can drive up flying cost by as much as 50 percent. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: All right, Christine, thank you.

Movie theater shootings in Aurora Colorado ramping up the debate over the need for tougher gun control. John McCain told CNN's Candy Crowley he wants to see evidence gun control laws can lead to a reduction in gun violence. He says tightening the laws is not the answer. Michael Bloomberg is calming on the president to take action. Here's what he said.


MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, (I) NEW YORK CITY: Somebody has to do something about this and this requires and particularly in a presidential year the candidates for president of the United States to stand up and once and for all say, yes, they feel terrible, yes, it's a tragedy, yes, we have great sympathy for the families, but it's time for this country to do something.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: We had a ban on assault weapons that expired some years ago and it didn't change the situation at all in my view. To somehow leap to the conclusion that this was somehow caused by the fact that we don't have more gun control legislation I don't think has been proved.


O'BRIEN: Senator McCain also raised the constitutional right to bear arms to make his case against tougher gun control laws.

The owner of a gun range said he had a strange feeling about the alleged gunman a month before the massacre in the theater. James Holmes applied for membership at the shooting range but something about him, according to the owner made the owner uneasy. Drew Griffin is here with that side of the story. Good morning.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. It is the first time we've found someone who had a warning something was wrong but it was very scant. James Holmes applied online to a private gun range. Let me show you where this is in Colorado. It would have been a half hour's drive for James Holmes to go to. He never showed up here, only applied online for a private application to a private gun range. The owner called back the answering machine of James Holmes three times because it was so odd Soledad, what he described to us was a message machine that was guttural and freakish, maybe drunk and weird and bizarre, a deep guttural forced voice. And told his staff this guy has no access to his gun range unless he comes in personally and talks to the owner. He just was wigged out about it and thought something must have been wrong.

O'BRIEN: In many cases like this, we go to look to the family members, the friends, the associates to get a sense of who was this person, who is this alleged gunman? What are you finding out about what associates are saying?

GRIFFIN: It's so bizarre because by now in cases that you and I have both covered, you hear people say there was a warning sign, a police report. There was some kind of violent activity or anything that would point to this. We're not seeing that at all. The school itself has done its best really to keep faculty and staff from talking to anybody in the media, even students.

But we did talk to a couple students off camera, and they continue to tell us this ghost like figure existed. One who worked in a lab with James Holmes for three months last summer, told us even though he worked near him, he wasn't close to him, saying, "I couldn't say anyone was close to him." Then Soledad, we talked to one female student who was in two lectures and said I can't say it was quiet. She can't remember him saying a single word in two lectures. So he was extremely quiet person.

O'BRIEN: This morning everyone tries to paint the picture of exactly who this suspected gunman is. Drew Griffin, thank you very much.

A big question is what could drive a person to such terrible violence? Were there any warning signs? We'll talk to a clinical psychologist as STARTING POINT continues. Our live coverage from Aurora, Colorado is up next. Stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a great kid, talented kid. Very talented, a lot of gifts, make people laugh, always made people smile, gentle giant is the way we looked at him.



O'BRIEN: Welcome back to a specialty edition of STARTING POINT. We're coming to you live from Aurora, Colorado. Right now suspected gunman James Holmes is being held in this jail right behind me. That's this building right over here. It is literally right next to the courthouse. In about four hours he'll make his way from the jail in isolation to his courthouse appearance. That appearance will last from two minutes to five minutes. It's the first time we'll see him in court, and that hearing will be setting the date to file charges.

Big question of course today is why, why did this happen? What could cause a person to do something so evil, so atrocious? Dr. Mara Kailin is a clinical psychologist and program director of child and family and school based programs at the Aurora based center. Thanks for being with us. If are brought in to interview the suspect, what would the first thing you would want to know?

DR. MARA KAILIN, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Wow, I mean there are so many unanswered questions that we have. And you know, I think part of the tragedy of all of this is that we want to know why. We want to know what would motivate somebody to do such a horrible thing.

And the fact of the matter is we may never know why. We may never know if there is really a reason that will be satisfying to all of us for why this happened. And I know that the forensic experts will be spending a lot of time interviewing the suspect and trying to get that question answered. And, you know, there are many ways to do that, different tests and speaking with him and interviewing him. But it will probably be a long process and take quite a while.

O'BRIEN: What have you learned from the information we're getting from people who knew him, relatively well, I guess I would say, of someone who is a lab partner and sat behind him in class. All of them seem to say a couple of particular things -- quiet, didn't seem to have any outward signs of any major issue, and didn't talk a lot. What does that tell you?

KAILIN: You know, it tells me, again, that this -- could be anyone. And there isn't any particular -- of somebody that becomes a mass murderer, unfortunately. And sometimes we have many warning signs for something like this and sometimes we have none. And there are plenty of quiet people who keep to themselves who live perfectly productive lives.

So I think that's part of the helplessness that we all feel that we don't know how to predict or how to prevent something like this from happening.

O'BRIEN: I think that's very true. In the hours after the shooting on Friday, when I was back in New York, ABC News had a report where they reached out to a woman who said she was the suspect's mother. When she was asked, she said you have the right person and continued to talk a little bit about her son. She said I need to call the police and fly out to Colorado. Does that strike you as a red flag?

KAILIN: Well, I think that's so tragic for a mother. I'm a mother myself and to think that you know your child so well that you do have some sense that something just isn't right. And I think if there's anybody on this earth that would know if there is something wrong with a person, it is that person's mother.

O'BRIEN: This is what ABC news reported their conversation to be with this woman. But to me it didn't sound like mother's intuition, it sounded more that maybe there was a red flag, you have the right person, I need to get on a plane and call the police.

KAILIN: You know, it's entirely possible, Soledad that there were red flags that the mother knew. Again, we just don't know. And I don't think there was anything blatantly obvious, where people were clearly behaving in ways that were obviously disturbed. So there may have been some subtle warning signs and may not have been. I think in retrospect we want to grasp at those.

O'BRIEN: Why do you think that? Part of that is to know what happened that day and that night. But also, if we understand them, what does that teach us about preventing it for the next one?

KAILIN: You know, I think when a community goes through a trauma and this is a trauma that's been experienced by the whole world, and there's so much helplessness that comes with experiencing trauma. And people want to get control, and understanding is a way to have control and make meaning from something that has happened. And so it's only natural. It's human nature that we would want to do that. Unfortunately that's not always how our world works and this case is a good example of that.

O'BRIEN: As we learn more about the shooter, I think for some people that will provide a sense of solace. Nice to have you, thanks for talking with us.

KAILIN: My pleasure.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, another big story we're following this morning. Judgment day for Penn State, the NCAA getting ready to hand down what's being called unprecedented penalties for that school's role in the Jerry Sandusky abuse case. And a former FBI special agent whose specialty is mass shootings says certain signs were missed in the shooting. He's going to join me to talk about the attack and suspect's potential motives. You're watching STARTING POINT, special coverage of the Colorado theater shooting. We're back in just a moment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sweetest smile you've ever seen, and she got prettier as she grew older. And in a blink of an eye something happens and completely changes everyone's life forever.



O'BRIEN: Welcome back to a special edition of STARTING POINT. We're coming to you live from Aurora, Colorado where we are following the very latest on the deadly Colorado theatre shooting.

Right now, the suspect is being held in the jail house that's right over my shoulder. In just about four hours, he is expected in his first court appearance. That's also just I'd say 100 yards from where I'm standing.

We're going to talk this morning about his potential case against him, his potential defense with an FBI agent, former FBI agent who's going to ask about the missed signs and red flags.

First though, we want to check in with Christine Romans. She is in New York. She's got a look at the day's top stories. Hi, Christine.


The FBI turning to the public for help to find two young missing cousins from Iowa. Law enforcement officials now consider the disappearance of 10-year-old Lyric Cook Morrissey and 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins an abduction.

After draining a lake where the girls' bicycles are found last week, investigators are now confident those little girls did not drown there. And they are offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

Israeli President Shimon Peres placing the blame squarely on Iran and Hezbollah for a horrific bus bombing in Bulgaria last week. Peres speaking earlier with CNN's Elise Labott.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT REPORTER: In this specific attack, is there hard intelligence that says that Iran and Hezbollah were involved?

PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES, ISRAEL: I would say yes, enough, enough information to accuse them.

LABOTT: Do you believe that more attacks are being planned?

PERES: Yes. I think Iran is a center of terror.


ROMANS: That bombing killed five Israeli tourists and the bus driver last week along with the suicide bomber.

The pilot of an F-16 U.S. fighter jet that crashed into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan has been rescued from the water alive. The Japanese Coast Guard says the unidentified pilot was placed on a U.S. commercial vessel in stable condition. The cause of the crash is still not known.

Thousands of mourners gathering at two sites in Norway to remember the victims of the worst terror attack in that country's history. It was one year ago a gunman killed 77 people. Right wing extremists, Anders Brevic, killing eight with a bomb in Oslo then taking 69 more lives at the Labor Party Youth Camp.

A tense, violent weekend in Southern California after police shoot and killed an unarmed man in Anaheim. Protests broke out at the scene hours later with neighbors throwing rocks and bottles at police officers.

Cops responding by sending in a police dog and firing bean bags and pepper balls. Last night, demonstrators setting a dumpster on fire. The two officers involved in the original shooting have been placed on leave.

Ernie Els captures his second Open Championship on the 18th hole. He claims his fourth major title. This as Adam Scott, a 32- year-old Australian who has never won a major, methodically melted down. He bogeyed each of the final four holes to squander a four stroke lead to four holes left to play -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right, Christine, thank you. So this morning we want to talk a little bit about warning signs or potential warning signs that this massacre in Aurora, Colorado was coming. Here's a picture of the shooting suspect, James Holmes.

Police believe that this was a picture from his adult friend finder web site. They are investigating this web page. They believe that it may have been created by him.

It brings us to Steve Moore. He is a former FBI special agent who worked on mass shooting cases in the past. He's also served as head of security for Pepperdine University where one of his main jobs was threat assessment.

Nice to see you, Mr. Moore. Thanks for talking with us this morning.


O'BRIEN: I'm going to read to you the list of weapons and ammunition that they recovered either from the scene and also some cases from the vehicle and some cases from the apartment.

A Remington 12-gauge shotgun, Smith and Wesson's military style assault rifle, after market 100 round magazine, 40 caliber Glock with extended magazine for 40 rounds.

A second 40 caliber Glock found in the car. Also gas and canister, firework shells, gun powder and gasoline and IEDs in the apartment and 6,000 rounds of ammunition purchased in recent months.

So when you look at that long list of weaponry, that's not illegal, not have been purchased illegally, is there a data base that would flag someone who is buying a mini arsenal of weaponry and tons of ammo, two Glocks all over the two to four-month period.

MOORE: There is not something that would compare it to other people who are making those types of purchases and use that as a threat assessor. Obviously, there are records but there's nothing that says this guy is buying too much we better go look at him. Nothing like that, no.

O'BRIEN: So when you look at the degree to which that list, that long list of weaponry or look at the degree to which the apartment of the alleged gunman was booby trapped, what insight does that give you about the suspect?

MOORE: What that tells me is that first of all he's intelligent and he spent a long time planning this out. You get this fantasy sage where you think about doing the stuff.

But then you get into the planning stages and action stages where you really have to put a lot of thought, effort and money and training into this. He was aggressively going at this.

This wasn't on Friday I'm going to go out and shoot a bunch of people. This was two months of practice of training and of preparation.

You had -- there were two months window where people could have found that this guy was -- the wheels had come off his life.

O'BRIEN: You know, it's interesting because friends and colleagues and people who knew him, you don't see any reports yet. There were people who said he was quiet, a loner, what I've seen a heard a lot of in these type of horrific events.

But no sort of massive red flag that we have heard of with specific details yet. There are reports that he identified himself to police as the Joker, we're told he's no longer talking to authorities. He was arrested in costume, that's word from the police chief. What kind of clues does that give you?

MOORE: Well, it's hard to tell what the clues -- I mean, it's easy to Monday morning quarterback. What you're looking for is how many pieces of the puzzle did any one person have who could have acted on it?

I mean, there's 20, 25 individual threat assessors that you can use to say this person is possibly going off the deep end, a financial failure, loss of job, whatever. And then you combine that with buying all sorts of weapons and abhorrent behavior.

And you start thinking, wait a minute, we have three or four pieces of the puzzle here, there's a problem. I'm not saying anybody had more than one or two pieces, but somebody may have had more pieces than we think.

And if you call somebody's mother and say, your son who is having problems has acted up and she says, I figure that's my son, that's one thing.

But if you say by the way your son has gone in and machine gunned a theatre full of people and they say, yes, you got the right guy. Somebody knew something in advance. This wasn't out of the blue to everyone.

O'BRIEN: Steve Moore joining us. Nice to see you. Thanks for the update for us and some of your insight. We appreciate it. We have to take a break.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, Penn State bracing for impact. They are about to hear the punishment officially for the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal. We're going to take you live to NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis this morning.

And then chilling accounts from witnesses who were at the Aurora movie theatre on the night of the massacre. We are going to talk to one who treated and then prayed with the other victims straight ahead.

You're watching STARTING POINT. We've got to take a short break. Our special coverage of the Colorado theatre shooting is back in just a moment.


ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm Christine Romans. A look at your top stories, just about one hour from now, the NCAA will announce an unprecedented package of sanctions against the university in response to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

It comes a day after Penn State removed the statue of legendary head football coach Joe Paterno from outside Beaver Stadium. CNN's Mark McKay is live in NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis. Mark, what can we expect today?

MARK MCKAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, we're expecting to hear what are being termed significant and unprecedented penalties against Penn State University and according to one source familiar with the case.

They've told CNN includes being hit with fines in excess of $30 million. They are also reports, of course, that Penn State will lose a number of scholarships and may be prevented from going to future Bowl games.

How many and how severe these punishments will be outlined in a press briefing set to begin here at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time here at NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis, about an hour and 15 minutes from now.

NCAA President Mark Emerit will be presiding at this press conference and if his words ahead of today's briefing are any indication, then Penn State ought to brace itself for the very worse.

Emerit told an interviewer last week, quote, "I have never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of overall conduct and behavior inside a university and hope to never see it again" -- Christine.

ROMANS: And Mark, I guess, the point here is to send a pretty clear message to Penn State, to that program and to other NCAA schools as well.

MCKAY: That is the intent. Not only for Penn State, but for other universities, Christine, and the impact on Penn State itself will be felt within the football program first and foremost.

It will avoid the death penalty we hear, but the penalties are so harsh that perhaps the death penalty would be preferable according to one source.

The football program that Penn State University takes in about $50 million a season so what it will do it will impact other sports at Penn State and of course, the Penn State community, State College, Pennsylvania, since football is so big in that region -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Mark McKay in Indianapolis. We'll be waiting for that press conference. Thanks, Mark.

Also in the headlines this morning, it has been one of the deadliest days in Iraq since U.S. troops left last December. The Iraqi government says at least 44 people were killed and dozens more wounded in car bombings and shootings that rocked Baghdad. The northern oil city of Kirkuk and other areas as well.

And an old 17 story hotel in New Orleans comes tumbling down. It took just seconds to bring down the Grand Palace on Sunday, 400 tons of explosives to demolish it, making way for a new medical center to replace Charity Hospital. You remember Charity Hospital was closed after Hurricane Katrina -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right, Christine, thanks.

Coming up next on STARTING POINT, we're going to talk to a pastor who heard shots coming through the wall in the movie theatre where he was. He jumped into action.

We'll tell you how he helped the victims who were in dire need with more than prayer. You're watching STARTING POINT'S special coverage of the Colorado theatre shooting. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're live from Aurora, Colorado. In less than four hours, the suspect from this horrific theatre shooting is going to appear in court.

We're at the Arapahoe County Justice Center, so right behind me, this sort of beige and pinkish building that is the jail facility. To the right behind me still, not very far away, is the courthouse.

It's a 30-second walk and we're expecting he'll make his way from that jail to the courthouse at 9:30 a.m. local time. They suspect that he'll be in the court only for somewhere between 2 and 5 minutes, maybe not even say a word, as his attorneys will do all the negotiation this morning.

The victims of the rampage, we're learning more about them as well. The survivors, those who helped make it out alive. We're going to talk this morning with Pastor Darrel Wilmoth. He joins me from the movie theatre site where this all happened on Friday.

He was in theatre number 8. You'll remember it was theatre number 9 that the gunman burst into an open fire on the people there. But some of those gunshots went into theatre number 8.

Well, for the pastor, once he went got outside, his military training kicked in. He began to help those who needed help desperately. He also prayed with some of the victims as well.

Pastor, it's nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us. I know that you didn't see the shooter because, of course, you were in the theatre adjacent to where the gunshots were actually coming from. When did you realize the people inside your theatre were being hit by gunfire?

DARREL WILMOTH, WITNESS, AURORA SHOOTING: Well, you know, we heard several pops, repetitive pop, pop, pop and I saw smoke. We didn't know what that was. I actually thought it was some fireworks.

But I've gotten something that didn't click right with me as I got hit in the leg by something hard. I wasn't injured, but it was hard enough to take notice and hard enough to hurt. I was trying to figure it out.

And I mentioned it to somebody, and I said, I just got hit in the leg, and somebody was like, I got hit in the shoulder, and I got hit here because we were kind of in the front of the theatre on that adjacent wall between 8 and 9.

You know, so we didn't the whole time until we started going out the door when the fire alarm went off, someone mentioned, there's someone with a gun that's shooting at us. That's when we really knew those were bullets or shrapnel or something coming through the wall.

O'BRIEN: What were you able to do?

WILMOTH: Well, I mean, at first it was getting out. Once we got out and everybody in our theatre made it out of that theatre, you're outside and you think, OK, we're safe, we're out. There's the police here.

But then you started looking around and then we realized the magnitude of it, what happened in 9, and we started seeing people that were bleeding. At first, was the physical. We had to take care of these people that were bleeding.

Once we got them all safe, once we got them to the ambulances -- and it wasn't just me, there were many people helping. I'm just a thread in this story.

Once we got them up, then it was the spiritual time because even as people were in the hospitals now still being healed physically, there were people spiritually that needed heal and that started right then.

So we were praying for them and giving them, you know, a hope and a peace that could only be found with Jesus Christ.

O'BRIEN: I'm sure that there are many families for whom that was a tremendous comfort knowing that for some of the people who did not survive that they were able to have you near them, I would imagine.

WILMOTH: Well, yes. I mean, a lot of people, you know, have come up and said thank you and stuff, but it's just -- you know, you talked about training, but, you know, we're trained in a lot of different things in life.

And those things just kind of kick in automatically, and that's just who I am, that's what I'm called to do. Ministering those people were so important, and it's still going on now. Yesterday at service, I'm a pastor here at a local church so I'm teaching.

There were people that had come in and they're hurting, and they weren't even a part of it. So that healing is still going on for people. It could have brought up memories. It's only 14 years ago since Columbine, so those memories are stirred up by people.

That's what we do in ministering the folks and pouring into them and loving them.

O'BRIEN: What's the message, though? As I mentioned, you're not just a pastor, you're also a military guy in your past. You must have been in situations where things were much more tenuous.

And I think for people at a movie theatre watching a popular movie to know that, you know, it's exactly where you would not expect anything bad to happen, people must be coming to you as a pastor to try to understand why.

WILMOTH: Yes, and you know what? That question has come up so much, and there's no way that I can explain why. I mean, I don't think -- I've heard some of the experts and people were trying to justify it.

There's no reason. These were kids. The majority of these people were kids in these theatres. There's no explanation that I can give. But I do know that I stand on God's word that says when I'm praying to him and when I'm seeking, I can have a piece of understanding.

That's a promise from God and that's important to stand on because, you know, having a piece of passive understanding means I may not understand it. It means it's not with understanding, it just passes understanding.

And I'm OK with that because I don't want to understand how someone can do that. I don't think we need to be there.

O'BRIEN: Well, Pastor Wilmouth, I thank you for talking to us this morning. We certainly appreciate your insight. We got to take a short break.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, we now know that the suspect, James Holmes, once worked as a summer camp counselor for kids between the ages of 7 and 14. We're going to talk exclusively to one of his fellow counselors who worked with him, ask him if he saw any warning signs as early as 2008.

And the owner of a gun range said he was spooked by Holmes, wanted him nowhere near his business. We'll explain to you what happened there.

You're watching STARTING POINT. Our coverage of the Colorado theatre shooting continues right after this short break. Stay with us.