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Aurora Theater Shooting: An “Act That Defies Description”


Looking exhausted, Governor John Hickenlooper and Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates stood in front of reporters during a Friday evening press conference and recounted the day's tragic events.


Governor Hickenlooper says the mass shooting at the Century 16 movie theater was an, “act that defies description.” Standing alongside state and local officials, the governor was clear to say the state will “rise back and lift ourselves above this.”

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates confirmed 70 people were injured, with 12 dead, including 10 that died in the theater.

70 family and friends were meeting with Aurora police this evening with updates for those who may have lost loved ones in the shooting.

Aurora public schools will make two high schools available to the public at 9am Saturday for professional grief counseling from the Red Cross and the Aurora Mental Health Center.

Entering Shooter’s Apartment Remains A Challenge

Credit Beth Bartel/CU Journalism News Service
CU Journalism News Service
Emergency personnel use a cherry picker to access James Holmes' apartment in Aurora, CO on Friday, July 20, 2012.

Entering the alleged shooter’s apartment remains a problem for police. Chief Oates says there are a lot of challenges prohibiting officers from entering safely including trip wires, jars full of ammunition, jars full of liquid as well as “things that look like mortar rounds.”

The chief says the department will bring in more specialized help tomorrow at the apartment crime scene. That means the multiple families evacuated from the apartment complex  will be forced to stay in evacuation centers until further notice, however officials hope the scene will be resolved by tomorrow.

Police Step Up Patrols At Aurora Theaters

There will be stepped up police presence at the four Aurora movie theaters showing the new Batman movie, which Chief Oates says is being done out of an abundance of caution.

Police are now on 12 hour shifts, and if there are additional demands for SWAT and specialized teams the Arapahoe County Sheriff and Denver County Sheriff will make their teams available.

Chief Oates says there is a telephone number for citizens to call if they have any tips on the shooting, 720-913-7867. There is also a general information line now available to the public: 303-739-1862.

Growing emotional, the Chief remarked that today’s events were tough on his police officers, and in the coming days the department will help its officers deal with their own trauma.

There will be a memorial vigil this Sunday at 6:30pm in front of the Aurora Municipal Center at 15151 E. Alameda Pkwy., Aurora, CO, 80012.


Update 7/21 8:08 am: The Aurora Police Department says grief counseling and other resources will be available at Hinkleyand Rangeview high schools beginning at 9 am Saturday.

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