Thursday, June 20, 2013
P. SOLOMON BANDA and NICHOLAS RICCARDI / The Associated Press
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — With their anger and tears stirred by the sight of James Holmes in a courtroom with red hair and glassy eyes, the families of those killed in the Colorado theater massacre now must go home to plan their final goodbyes.
Madison Sherock, 18, becomes emotional while remembering her friend Alex Teves from the Human X Academy, at a makeshift memorial on Monday, across the street from the Century Theater where the mass shooting occurred last Friday killing 12 and injuring dozens of others, in Aurora, Colo. Teves was killed in the attack.
These photos show a variety of expressions on the face of James E. Holmes during his appearance at Arapahoe County District Court on Monday in Centennial, Colo.
The Associated Press
STOCKPILING AN ARSENAL
WITHOUT RAISING RED FLAGS
DENVER — James Holmes spent months stockpiling thousands of bullets and head-to-toe ballistic gear without raising any red flags with authorities.
he suspect in the theater mass shooting availed himself of an unregulated online marketplace that is awash in sites ranging from BulkAmmo.com, which this weekend listed a sale on a thousand rifle rounds for $335, to eBay, where bidding on one armored special forces helmet has risen to $799.
Chad Weinman runs TacticalGear.com, which caters to police officers, members of the military and hobbyists like survivalists and paintballers. The site receives “thousands” of orders daily, sometimes from entire platoons that are about to deploy to war zones.
On July 2, Holmes placed a $306 order with the site for a combat vest, magazine holders and a knife, paying extra for expedited two-day shipping to his Aurora apartment. The order, Weinman said, didn’t stand out.
Weinman said he doesn’t sell guns or ammunition and that he was “shocked” at the amount of bullets that Holmes allegedly bought online.
Authorities say all of Holmes’ purchases were legal – and there is no official system to track whether people are stockpiling vast amounts of firepower.
During a news conference in Philadelphia on Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder said the government has to think about the issues raised by Holmes’ alleged arsenal.
“We have tried to come up with a better system with our instant background checks so that we have the ability to make sure that people who have emotional problems, people who have felony records, other people cannot get access to these kinds of weapons,” Holder said.
– The Associated Press
Tom Teves' stare bore into Holmes as the 24-year-old former graduate student sat as though in a daze during his court appearance Monday. Teves' son was one of the 12 people Holmes is accused of killing after Alex Teves dove to protect his girlfriend in the shooting early Friday.
Another 58 were wounded, including seven critically, when a gunman opened fire at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in nearby Aurora.
The father called the red-and-orange-haired object of his anger "a coward" for allegedly mowing down defenseless victims, including a girl.
"Somebody had to be in the courtroom to say, 'You know what? You went in with ballistic protection and guns, and you shot a 6-year-old,'" he said. "And then when the cops came, you gave up? You've got the ballistic protection on. Take on some guys who know how to use guns."
That anger spilled out when the world got its first view of Holmes, shuffling into court in a maroon jailhouse jumpsuit. Relatives of the shooting victims leaned forward in their seats. Two women held hands tightly, one shook her head. One woman's eyes welled up with tears.
Robert Blache watched video clips from the 12-minute court appearance with his injured daughter Christina, who was shot in both legs during the rampage, and questioned Holmes' sanity.
"He doesn't look surprised at any of it, but he seemed amazed at what was happening. I'm pretty sure he's not sane," Blache said.
To Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Holmes looked like "a person who's been through an emotional maelstrom and therefore might be totally wiped out emotionally."
Gardere said there could be "a psychotic process going on, and we see that being acted out there. Or, there might be some sort of malingering going on. In other words, trying to make himself look worse than he actually is. Or maybe a combination of all of those things."
After Holmes was led in handcuffs to the solitary confinement cell where he'd been held since Friday, the families of the dead were left to plan the next steps that they must take.
"We have people from out of town, and some of them need to go home and arrange funerals," said Boulder Police Department information officer Kim Kobel.
Kobel was one of the public information officers assigned to each family to make sure that they will still receive information — and can get their messages to the media — when they are gone.
Holmes is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, and he could face additional counts of aggravated assault and weapons violations. Holmes has been assigned a public defender.
His prosecution is likely to be a long road. He won't be formally charged until next Monday, and police expect months of working with behavioral analysts and scrutinizing Holmes' relationships to establish a motive. As for a trial, that could take more than a year, said prosecutor Carol Chambers.
Chambers said her office is considering the death penalty, but that a decision will be made in consultation with the victims' families.
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