Return to Transcripts main page


Colorado Theater Massacre; From Counselor To Killer; Penn State Punishment Announce in 15 Minutes; Awaiting Court Appearance; Surviving the Shooting

Aired July 23, 2012 - 08:00   ET



SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR (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 a motive.

GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO: He was diabolical. Demonic in this twisted sense.

DAN OATES, AURORA POLICE CHIEF: 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: I felt like I was in a war zone, you know? In this war zone, only one side had the gun.

O'BRIEN: A special report live from Aurora, Colorado, begins right now.


O'BRIEN: And good morning. Welcome from Aurora, Colorado.

We're just minutes away from this suspected gunman, James Holmes, being transported from the jail, that is right behind me to my left, to the courthouse, that's next door. That's the building you can see behind me, but you won't see him. He's going to be moving through an underground path we're expecting.

In just about three and a half hours, we're expecting that to happen. He's going to face the judge. Holmes, the alleged gunman of Friday movie theater this massacre. Twelve killed, 58 wounded, 17 remained hospitalized today and he faces charges of first degree murder. That is an offense that could carry a possible death penalty.

Police say he spent months planning the rampage. But as of now, we don't know of a specific motive. This as the people of Aurora come together last night. Last night, thousands attended a prayer vigil to honor everyone who'd been touched by the violence and also to remember the victims.

Earlier in the day today, President Obama met with the survivors and families of those killed. Here is with two women who survived the shooting, Stephanie Davies and Allie Young. After their meeting, the president spoke about the heartbreaking losses. Here's what he said.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was an opportunity for families to describe how wonderful their brother, or their son, or daughter was, and the lives that they had touched and the dreams that they held for the future.


O'BRIEN: We're looking in depth at the story this morning. In just a few minutes, we're going to be talking exclusively with a man who was a camp counselor with Holmes.

First, though, we want to talk with the mayor of Aurora. His name is Steve Hogan and he spent much of the day yesterday with President Obama, visiting with the victims and their families. He spoke last night as well at the vigil, and he joins us from that movie theater location where the rampage occurred.

Mr. Mayor, thanks for talking with us. I certainly appreciate it.

You met President Obama at the airport.


O'BRIEN: And then you were with him as he made his way going to the University of Colorado Hospital.

Good morning to you.

Tell me how yesterday was and what it meant for the people, especially those who were victims, to get a chance to meet the president and hear from him.

HOGAN: Well, certainly it was a very emotional day. We're very thankful that the president came out. I know the families were very touched. As he indicated, he was there as a father. And he was there to support them, and he was there to -- as a representative of the country. And I know that he spent longer than he meant to, and I know it was greatly appreciated.

O'BRIEN: I want to play a little bit of what the president said in his remarks, which were carried last night. Let's play that.


OBAMA: I confessed to them that words are always inadequate in these kind of situations but that my main task was to serve as a representative of the entire country and let them know that we are thinking about them at this moment and will continue to think about them each and every day. And that the -- that the awareness that not only all of America but much of the world is thinking about them might serve as some comfort.


O'BRIEN: What was the reaction, sir, to those words and the other words of the president?

HOGAN: Everyone was touched, everyone was very appreciative. The governor, the president and I went to -- from family to family group. People needed to talk. They needed to start grieving. They need to tell us stories.

Whether it was about wanting some gear from the Denver Broncos for a funeral, to what their son had done that evening -- it was all very, very emotional. And it's never something that you plan for. It's just almost surreal.

O'BRIEN: How does the community move forward now? The court case, part of this investigation, will begin today, as you know, in just a few hours, the suspect will be brought to the jail in the courthouse behind me. That will start, and some people estimate even a year-plus of this city being mired in a major -- in a major case.

How hard will it be to put things behind you and move forward as a community?

HOGAN: It's always difficult, but I'm confident that we'll do it. We started last night with the vigil. We've got to go through a grieving process, and then you start a healing process.

There are going to be funerals this week. There will be more stories. My office building overlooks the theater. I will see that building every day for as long as I'm mayor.

But we'll move forward. And I'm confident that the citizens of this community can and will come together. This was a great city before three days ago. It will be a great city again. It will be even greater than it was. And it will be the people here who will bring it together.

The thousands that were there last night, that was a start, and it will go day by day. We will never forget what happened here, and those who died here, but we will move on.

O'BRIEN: You know, after Columbine, which I covered and obviously is not very far from where we are, there are many people who spoke out and said that they wanted the political leadership to do something. In some cases, the do-something meant stricter gun control.

What do you think political leadership should be doing in Aurora now?

HOGAN: I think that we have to spend the next couple of days starting this grieving process. Certainly, today with the court process, that's part of it.

I have no doubt that there will be a number of discussions about public policy, whether they are at the local level, the state level or the national level. But I think those are -- I think those are later in the week and next week and the weeks following. We're still focusing here on the families and on making sure that this court process goes as it should because this perpetrator needs to be -- needs to reach justice. And that's critical for all of us.

O'BRIEN: Mayor Steve Hogan is the mayor of Aurora, Colorado. Thank you, sir, for talking with us. We appreciate your time.

HOGAN: Sure. Thank you.

O'BRIEN: You bet.

Let's get right to Christine in New York. She's got the rest of today's top stories for us.

Hey, Christine.


Within the hour, college football's governing body will announce Penn State's punishment for turning a blind eye to former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of children. The NCAA is expected to hit Penn State with unprecedented package of sanctions, $30 million in fines, along with a loss of scholarships and post-season bowl action.

Border patrol agents assisting in the investigation of a deadly accident 100 miles southeast of San Antonio. At least 13 people were killed and 10 others injured when police say a pickup truck veered off U.S. Highway 59 and slammed into two large trees last night. It was a one-vehicle accident and 23 victims were all loaded inside that Ford truck's cab and bed, 23 people in one truck.

More bloodshed in Syria, as rebels clash with the regime's forces in Aleppo. That's Syria's largest city and commercial hub, along with the capital of Damascus. And opposition group says 19 people have been killed across Syria and fighting today.

Meantime, the Arab League says they will offer President Bashar al-Assad a safe exit if he steps down quickly and leaves Syria. Foreign ministers are also calling on opposition rebels and Free Syria Army to form a national transitional government.

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch stepping down from the board of several of his U.K. newspapers. The company says it's just routine corporate housecleaning. But Murdoch watchers say he's distancing from the publishing arm after the hacking scandal at News International last year.

Jury selection is set to begin this morning in the trial of former Illinois police sergeant, Drew Peterson. Peterson is facing murder charges for the 2004 bathtub drowning of his third wife. Her death had originally been ruled an accident. He's also a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife but hasn't been charged -- Soledad.

ROMANS: All right. Christine, thanks.

Coming up next on STARTING POINT, we're going to talk to a man who worked with James Holmes as a summer camp counselor. He said the suspected killer was shy, kept to himself. Did he see any warning signs as early as 2008? We're going to talk to him exclusively. That's when STARTING POINT's coverage of the Colorado theater shooting continues. We're back in a moment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was a great kid. She was just finding herself. She never harmed anybody. She didn't deserve to die this way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was a wonderful young man. What a terrible, terrible loss this is for everyone who knew him.



O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. We're live here outside the courthouse where the suspected theater shooting gunman, James Holmes, will be facing a judge. It's going to happen in about three hours. He is set to be moved from the jail next door to the court, which is what you're looking at right now via an underground path.

We know that he's going to be walked from the jail. That's the building in the left of your screen sort of beige and kind of pinkish to the larger building which is the courthouse. And as you can see, it's only about 30 feet wide or so. Let me show you where the media is going to be setting up. There's a little tent over there.

The media can check in, the public also checking in as well. And you can see, we've seen more law enforcement officials as the sun starts coming up, because clearly, they're expecting a number of people to be out here this morning. We're learning more this morning about the suspect. We know that he once worked as a cabin counselor at Camp Max Straus.

It's a summer camp for kids between the ages of seven and 14, and it's run by Jewish big brothers, big sisters of Los Angeles. Gabriel Menchaca worked there as well with Holmes in the summer of 2008, and he joins us exclusively. Nice to talk to you, Gabriel. Looking back to 2008, would you now say you noticed any signs or any red flags about the man who's now suspected of this terrible massacre?

GABRIEL MENCHACA, WORKED WITH HOLMES AS CAMP COUNSELOR IN 2008: Not at all. When I met him and spoke to him, he was little shy and quiet, but I mean, I wouldn't suspect anything that he was going to do something like this. He was just quiet, but he's actually a nice guy, the one I spoke to. O'BRIEN: Yes. You were both camp counselors. So, tell me a little bit more about him. What was he like as a counselor, and outside of shy, what was he like?

MENCHACA: Well, I mean, when it came to working with the kids, he was obviously good. You know, he didn't have no incidents. You could tell he had patience, because, you know, you have to have patience to work there. So, no incidents. He was actually, you know, interacted with the kids when it was time to do an activity. He was a little isolated, but other than that, you know, he was a nice guy.

O'BRIEN: The camp, itself, released a statement. They said this. "He was a counselor that had no incidents or disciplinary concerns." That summer provided the kids a wonderful camp experience without any incident. What were your duties, overall, and was there anything at all strange or anything that he didn't do to the full extent in those duties?

MENCHACA: Basically, just, you know, you had to be with the kids 24/7. You get a couple breaks, but, you know, just -- you have to be with the kids maybe about four or five days, and, you know, you had to take them to activities the whole day and just basically interact with them, you know, make sure that they were well-behaved and stuff.

And he was just -- he was good. I mean, no incidents. Like I said, no incidents, and he was just -- I mean, it's a big responsibility to work at a camp like that, and, you know, he was living up to it. He was actually pretty good.

O'BRIEN: So, when you heard his name in connection with the shootings, what was your reaction? Were you stunned?

MENCHACA: Oh, definitely. You know, I didn't really know about the shooting, because I was actually at work. Once I came out, I had seen that somebody had said that he worked at the camp. So then, I figured, OK, I worked at the camp, too, so I wanted to see who it was. Once I saw it was him, I was shocked, you know?

And I wanted to make sure that it was him. I looked at the picture, and it was him. I was just in shock because I spoke to the guy. You know, I spoke to him, talked to him, and I would never have, you know, thought he would do something like this.

O'BRIEN: Many people, of course, today are looking for some kind of clues as to why he could have potentially done something so awful and violent. Can you answer that question for them? Do you have any guess, any idea?

MENCHACA: I have no idea. I mean, just basically, from when I met him maybe three or four years ago, I mean, I would never have a clue. Probably, something in those four years that would make him do a big change like that. He was really -- you know, no clue that he would be later on a murderer or a killer.

O'BRIEN: Did you stay in touch after 2008, and was there a reason why you didn't stay in touch, if you didn't? MENCHACA: No, actually, I didn't. You know, I was there after August -- from June to August, you know, I was at the camp with him. After that, you know, I didn't keep in touch with him because I really didn't talk to him really, really like that. You know, when we would hang around or do something, he wouldn't go out with us or hang around with us, so I didn't really get to interact with him that deeply as a friend.

O'BRIEN: Gabriel Menchaca joining us this morning with an exclusive look. He worked with the suspect as a co-camp counselor. Thanks for talking with us. We appreciate your time.

MENCHACA: No problem.

O'BRIEN: We also know this morning that -- you bet -- the court behind me has set up a special viewing room where family members and victims and members of the community are going to be able to watch the court proceedings happen on a live feed. Again, that court appearance is set to happen three hours from now.

Coming up next, before the theater massacre took place, the owner of a gun range said he had a strange feeling about the suspect. We'll tell you what spooked him, coming up next. STARTING POINT's coverage of the Colorado theater shooting continues right after this short break. Stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). I was blessed. Only for 25 years, but I was blessed.



O'BRIEN: Welcome back to a special edition of STARTING POINT. We're coming to you live from Colorado this morning. We're waiting for the very first court appearance from the suspected movie theater shooting. It's expected to happen in just about three hours. He will be transported from the jail, which is right behind me to my left, then to the courthouse, which is the building that you're looking at right now in that shot, that big, brown building.

Obviously, we will have an opportunity there not only to see him but maybe learn more about him. Was his behavior suspicious before Friday's shooting? The owner of a gun range said he had a strange feeling about James Holmes a month before the massacre. Holmes applied for membership at the shooting range, but something about him made the owner uneasy.

Drew Griffin has been following that part of the story for us. What was the thing that made the owner uneasy?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: And it was just a voicemail Soledad. On June 25th, James Holmes applied online to this private gun range east of here. It's about a half hour away from where Holmes was living, and the owner called him back. I want to show you that gun range.

It's called the Lead Valley Range. This is a private gun range. You have to actually pay to be a member of this. And so, the owner called back the number that James Holmes had left. This is what he told another news outlet.


GLENN ROTKOVICK, LEAD VALLEY RANGE, BYERS, CO: When I called him, he didn't give me -- he didn't answer. I ended up with his answering service that had a rather bizarre message on it that started me wondering a little bit about it. And, you know, I called him a second time later, and it was the same message that was there, which starts making you wonder.


GRIFFIN: What Glenn Rotkovick told us, he couldn't remember the exact words other than it was the name, James Holmes. What he said, it was a guttural, freakish message, maybe the guy was drunk, weird, bizarre. He told his stuff, this guy does not get on our range, unless, I have a personal interaction with him, but they never heard from James Holmes again.

O'BRIEN: That was a month before the shooting. And it's interesting, I think, that when you talk to a number of his friends or associates or colleagues in school, really, none of them seemed to have seen any red flags of anything. He didn't say anything at all.

GRIFFIN: Nothing that we've seen in the past. No violence. No weird -- even outburst of behavior. The guy was super quiet. We've been trying to reach members who were students with him where his faculty, the school, the University of Colorado Medical School has really done its best to make sure its faculty and students do not talk.

But two students, I think, that we did talk to off camera are very telling, one who worked with James Holmes in a lab last summer. For three months, he said, I worked near him, but I wasn't close to him. I don't think anybody was close to him. He pretty much stuck to a computer screen.

And another one, a student, a female student, who was in two lecture classes with James Holmes sat very close to him. Soledad, she told us it wasn't that he was just quiet. She told us she can't remember him uttering a single word.

O'BRIEN: Bizarre. Maybe we'll learn more today as this really the start of the court part of this investigation starts getting under way. Drew Griffin, thank you for that.

And still ahead this morning, the task of defending an accused mass killer. As we mentioned, in just a few hours, James Holmes is going to make his very first court appearance. We're going to talk this morning to an attorney who defended one of the parents of one of the Columbine killers about what will happen next potentially in this case.

Then of course, the other big story we're following this morning, just minutes away from the NCAA's expected punishment of Penn State, and it is expected to be historic. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sweetest smile you've ever seen, and she got prettier as she got older. In the blink of an eye, something happens and completely changes our lives. Forever.



O'BRIEN: Welcome back. You're watching a special edition of STARTING POINT. We're coming to you live this morning from the Colorado courthouse where James Holmes will be facing a judge for the very first time. We're expecting that in roughly three hours or so. He is said to be moved from the jail to the courts. That brown building behind me, that's the courthouse. We won't see him. They'll move him through an underground path, walk him the 100 yards or so from the jail to the courthouse.

In just a few minutes we're going to talk to a defense attorney who defended the parents of Dylan Klebold. You may remember he's the defendant from the Columbine massacre. We'll talk a little bit about the defense in this particular case.

First, though, let's check in with Christine Romans. She's in New York and has a look at today's top stories. Hey, Christine.

ROMANS: Good morning, again, Soledad.

The FBI is asking for the public's help to find two young missing cousins from Iowa. The disappearance of ten-year-old Lyric Cook Morrissey and eight-year-old Elizabeth Collins now considered an abduction. Investigators are confident these girls did not drown in a lake where their bicycles were found. They're offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

It's 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, dozens more wounded in car bombs and shooting that rocked Baghdad.

Intense weekend on the streets of California after police shot and killed an unarmed man in Anaheim. Protests breaking out at the scene hours later, neighbors throwing rocks and bottles at officers, cops responding by sending in a police dog and firing beanbags and pepper balls at the approaching crowds. Last night protests flared again with demonstrators setting a dumpster on fire. The two officers involved in that shooting have been placed on leave.

Bradley Wiggins is the first ever British cyclist to win the Tour de France. Wiggins locked up the yellow jersey Saturday by winning the final time trial and then finished with the ride on the Champs Elysees. Olympic gold is now on his mind with the London games beginning Friday.

And a painful finish at the British Open -- not for Ernie Els who captured his second championship on Sunday, but painful for Adam Scott, who gave the title away to one of his best friends. Els rolling in a clutch 15 foot birdie putt on the 18th hole. Scott bogeyed each of the final four holes to squander a four stroke lead with four holes left to play. Wow. What a day.

O'BRIEN: Yes, it was for him a bad, bad day. Christine, thank you.

As we've been mentioning, the Colorado theater shooting suspect will be moved from the jail house to the courthouse very, very soon. About three hours from now, those buildings are attached. It's a very short walk. As you know, he's accused of killing 12 people, injuring 58 others that happened in that rampage early Friday morning. The suspect is now being held on first degree murder and he will be represented right now by a public defender.

Rick Kornfeld is a defense attorney based in Denver who spent years in Chicago as a federal prosecutor. He also is known for defending the parents of Dylan Klebold, who was one of the gunman in the Columbine massacre. It's nice to talk to you. Thanks for being with us.


O'BRIEN: What would be your first order of business as a defense attorney if you were to meeting with the alleged gunman in this case? What would you want to know first and foremost?

KORNFELD: The first thing is you want to build some sort of rapport. At the end of the day, regardless of the case you're dealing with, you want to build a rapport and get the person to trust you. But first and foremost from a legal and practical standpoint is trying to get your arms around his mental condition, where he's at right now. And obviously most lawyers, myself included, are not mental health experts, but really the first thing you need to do is think about how can I get some help to assess his mental state.

O'BRIEN: You can glean some things from some of the behaviors. For example, the police have talked about how carefully constructed, methodically planned this attack was. Does that undermine any kind of insanity defense?

KORNFELD: It could be, and I'm sure the government will say that it does. Clearly this person is highly intelligent. He was apparently very method cal. He took a number of steps. He did a lot of planning. He was smart enough to build bombs and get into a PhD program at university of Colorado. But the smarts and the planning and those types of factors do not necessarily undermine the fact that he could have a mental disease or defect. And that's what the law talks about, do you have a mental disease or defect that renders your ability to distinguish between right and wrong nonexistent?

O'BRIEN: If you have booby trapped your apartment where you have clearly set up a situation where you're trying to kill people, and you left it open. And we know now that his radio was set to a timer so when he left on his way to the movie people -- this is what the police allege -- the music would play loudly that would bring people in.

KORNFELD: That's right.

O'BRIEN: So, again, it seems to undermine if the issue at the end of the day is knowing right from wrong, that seems to contradict that kind of a defense.

KORNFELD: I don't disagree. However, at the same time, if you're doing all these things and you believe that you are the Joker, you believe you're a fictional character, you believe that possibly you're acting out some comic book paradigm -- again, that's better left to the mental professionals. But the legal point is you still might have that defense available to you.

And most importantly, especially at this stage, if you're the defense attorney, you better start to figure out whether or not you have any factors like that available to you.

O'BRIEN: Will they look into mitigating factors? Obviously not today. Today's hearing will be very short.

KORNFELD: I think probably not even 90 seconds long.

O'BRIEN: But overall in the court case one would imagine they'll be digging into the background of the suspect.

KORNFELD: Absolutely, especially where there might be the death penalty, you bring them in, and you typically have what's called the mitigation lawyer, and his or her job is to do exactly that, look into the person's educational background, their family, their mental health, and everything and anything about them as a way of building a profile. And you might be using that in court but you also might be using that when you're sitting down with the D.A. and trying to convince that D.A. not to bring the death penalty.

O'BRIEN: The only focus won't be his mental health. There is a preponderance of the evidence. They went to his apartment, which was booby trapped. Is the only thing his mental state?

KORNFELD: There are two main elements, the action and the mental state. The action is not where this case will be defended. Apparently they caught Holmes with literally gunpowder on his hands in a tactical outfit and many, many witnesses. They have many, many witnesses, they have this apartment rigged. This is not a whodunit. You really have to focus on his mental state, and did he form or was he capable of forming the requisite intent to murder and the other crimes that he will be charged with.

O'BRIEN: More than a dozen years ago now you represented Dylan Klebold's parents. He was one of the Columbine shooters, took his own life along with Eric Harris. They died in the aftermath of that shooting spree. Is it possible parents can have no idea what their kids are doing?

KORNFELD: I think both as a lawyer with that experience and as a parent, yes, unfortunately that is the truth. I think that people live private lives, kids live private lives. This is a 24-year-old man living in a different city on his own by himself in graduate school.

O'BRIEN: His mother, if you believe ABC News reports, they said in the early hours of the shooting on Friday morning when they called the number that they believed was the mother, that she answered the phone and she said something to the effect of, yes, that sounds like him. I have to go to Colorado. I have got to talk to the police. How much of a role will that statement, that conversation play in what happens in the court?

KORNFELD: Well, it's probably a hearsay statement and not admissible in court, but on a broader perspective, that is what we lawyers like to call a bad fact. That is not helpful to the defense.

O'BRIEN: Mr. Kornfeld, nice to have you give us a little explainer as this court proceeding will get under way in roughly three hours. We appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.

KORNFELD: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: We have to take a break. But other stories we're following this morning, of course, is the punishment for Penn State. We're minutes away from learning officially what punishment the NCAA will hand down for the school's involvement in Jerry Sandusky's child rape case. We're live at NCAA headquarters. That's coming up next.

Plus, my conversation continues with a woman who was in the shooting rampage. She lost a friend, though. She described the scene at the theater as a war zone, and having served in Baghdad, she knows what's that like. Our special coverage of the Colorado shooting is back in just a moment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was a great kid. She was just finding herself. She would never harm anybody. She didn't deserve to die this way.




A look at today's "Top Stories". In just about 15 minutes, the NCAA will announce Penn State's punishment for looking the other way while former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sexually abusing young children. The university faces an unprecedented package of sanctions that could cripple Penn State's football program for years.

CNN's Mark McKay is live in Indianapolis at NCAA headquarters. Mark, what can we expect at the top of the hour?

MARK MCKAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Christine, we're expecting a 20-minute presentation from NCAA President Mark Emmert and alongside him will be Ed Ray the chairman of the NCAA's executive committee. What we're hearing are being described as corrective and punitive measures against Penn State.

As for the penalties themselves words like "significant" and "unprecedented" have been used. A source close to the case -- familiar with the case has told CNN that Penn State will be hit with fines in excess of $30 million. There are also reports that the university's football program will lose a significant amount of scholarships and will not be able to go to bowl games for a still undetermined amount of time.

We're less than 15 minutes or so away from knowing all the answers here in Indianapolis and CNN will carry it live -- Christine.

ROMANS: Mark how big of a role is the NCAA president playing in the swiftness of these actions?

MCKAY: Well Mark Emmert has been on the job for about 20 months now and this will be his defining moment as the NCAA's 5th president. Emmert was focused on Penn State since Jerry Sandusky and two Penn State administrators were indicted in November of last year. Emmert reportedly gained approval from the NCAA's board of directors to punish Penn State without going through its formal investigative process, without using the formal process which has a tendency to drag out, thus the swift measures that we will learn about here at top of the hour.

ROMANS: All right Mark McKay, we'll be watching. Thank you, sir.

Other news headlines this morning, an Afghan police officer killing three American civilians when he opened fire at a training facility in western Afghanistan. A police official said the victims were U.S. contractors. The motive is still unclear, but the man's links to terror groups are being investigated.

Katherine Jackson has been located. The mother of Michael Jackson and the guardian of his three kids is staying with a family member in Arizona. That's according to her son Jermaine. Now another family member reported the Jackson family matriarch was missing on Saturday.

So Soledad a little bit of family drama in the Jackson clan this weekend.

O'BRIEN: Family drama and a family that has a lot of drama at times. All right, Christine thanks.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, she survived, but one of her best friends did not. One woman remembers her friend and the chaotic moments inside the theater. We're going to talk to this Iraq war veteran right after surgeries. When we had a chance to sit down we'll share her interview straight ahead.

You're watching STARTING POINT live from Aurora, Colorado this morning. We're back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. We're coming to you live from the Colorado Courthouse where James Holmes will be in front of a judge in less than three hours. He of course, is suspected in one of the deadly shootings in recent U.S. history. He's being held right now just -- I would say just 100 yards away from that courthouse right behind me in the jail that's attached to the courthouse.

We won't be able to see him moved. They're actually going to make their way from the jail to the courthouse via an underground tunnel which is very close to where I'm standing.

As we wait for that appearance, we're hearing from survivors of the massacre.

We had a chance to meet Christina Blache. She was shot when all the firing began. She was with a group of friends who were celebrating the 27th birthday of Alex "Sully" Sullivan. Ultimately Sully would be shot in the head and he did not survive.


CHRISTINA BLACHE, SURVIVOR OF SHOOTING: It doesn't make sense that he said he wanted to be "The Joker" and you know and that's -- that was his you know reasoning for doing this, but it just doesn't -- logically that doesn't make sense to me.

You don't go into a theater where everybody is happy. They're going out some people might have been on first dates, some people might have been with a group of friends like we all were, you know.

Some -- some people might have been there by themselves, even, you know. And just to go in there just to shoot up people you've never met, you've never even known doesn't seem logical to me. So it's just kind of hard to grasp my head around, why you would do it.

So yes, I do wonder why, but it's not going to eat me up if I don't find out.


COSTELLO: Christina served in the Air Force, did a stint in Iraq as well,

During that time I met with Dr. John Reister at Swedish Medical Center. He is the one who did her second surgery. We were chatting with her literally an hour or so after her surgery, and he talked about the devastating injuries not just to his patients, but that he was seeing overall.


DR. JOHN REISTER, ORTHOPEDIC TRAUMA SURGEON: We see plenty of devastating injury and we see plenty of high-velocity, high-energy car accident stuff, but this one is the worst because it really is -- these are some you know profoundly limb-threatening injuries that are -- they are just grotesque and there's no sense that they happened.


O'BRIEN: We had a chance to talk to Christina for about half an hour or so while some of her friends and family members were visiting her in her hospital room, and the interesting thing to me was to see how strong she was.

Part of that, she says, is her military training. Part of that, though, her friends say she's always been that way and they hope that they can rely on that as her long recovery gets under way. She has a metal brace holding one leg together, her right leg. The bullet went through her right leg altogether and then ended up in her left leg, which means obviously the amount of therapy that she is going to need will be massive and her recovery will be very slow.

I've got to take a short break. STARTING POINT will be back in just a moment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was a great kid. She was just finding herself. She would never harm anybody. She didn't deserve to die this way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was a wonderful young man. What a terrible, terrible loss this is for everyone who knew him.



O'BRIEN: Well, as the community tries to heal getting over their physical scars, getting over their emotional damage, the court -- the case now moves to the courtroom. As you can see behind me, we have the jail. In less than three hours, we expect that the suspect will move from that building to, I'd say, roughly 100 yards away which is where the courthouse is. We've already seen some members of the media and also what looks like family members and community members going inside that courthouse this morning.

People tell us it will take just maybe 90 seconds just less than five minutes in front of the judge. He will then set a date for the next hearing as we continue to follow the story here from Aurora, Colorado.

CNN NEWSROOM with Zoraida Sambolin begins right now.