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Posts tagged ‘Aurora’

Passengers Rescued From Ship Icebound in Antarctica Since Christmas.

CANBERRA, Australia — A helicopter rescued all 52 passengers from a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve after weather conditions finally cleared enough for the operation Thursday.

A helicopter carried the scientists and tourists from the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalski in groups of 12 to an Australian icebreaker, said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority‘s Rescue Coordination Centre, which oversaw the rescue.

The Aurora Australis will now take the passengers to the Australian island state of Tasmania, a journey expected to last two weeks.

“I think everyone is relieved and excited to be going on to the Australian icebreaker and then home,” expedition leader Chris Turney told The Associated Press by satellite phone from the Antarctic.
All 22 crew members stayed with their icebound vessel, which is not in danger of sinking and has weeks’ worth of supplies on board. They will wait until the ice that has paralyzed the ship breaks up.
The eagerly anticipated rescue came after days of failed attempts to reach the vessel. Blinding snow, strong winds, fog, and thick sea ice forced rescuers to turn back time and again.
Three icebreakers were dispatched to try and crack their way through the ice surrounding the ship, but all failed. The Aurora came within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the ship Monday, but fierce winds and snow forced it to retreat to open water.
On Thursday, it appeared the weather had thwarted yet another rescue attempt. The helicopter was originally going to airlift the passengers to a Chinese icebreaker, the Snow Dragon, with a barge then ferrying them to the Aurora.

But sea ice prevented the barge from reaching the Snow Dragon, and the maritime authority said the operation would have to be delayed.

A last-minute change in plans allowed the rescue to go ahead. The passengers were instead flown to an ice floe next to the Aurora and then taken by a small boat to the Australian ship, Turney said.
The Akademik Shokalskiy, which left New Zealand on Nov. 28, got stuck after a blizzard pushed the sea ice around the ship, freezing it in place about 2,700 kilometers (1,700 miles) south of Hobart, Tasmania. The scientific team on board had been recreating Australian explorer Douglas Mawson‘s 1911 to 1913 voyage to Antarctica.
Turney had hoped to continue the trip if an icebreaker managed to free the ship. Despite his disappointment over the expedition being cut short, he said his spirits remained high.
“I’m a bit sad it’s ended this way,” he said. “But we got lots and lots of great science done.”

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

2013 Saw The Lie Of Al Gore’s Global Warming Frozen Solid.

“The entire north polar ice cap will be gone in 5 years” – Al Gore, December 10th, 2007

Daily Mail UK: They went in search evidence of the world’s melting ice caps, but instead a team of climate scientists have been forced to abandon their mission … because the Antarctic ice is thicker than usual at this time of year.

The scientists have been stuck aboard the stricken MV Akademik Schokalskiy since Christmas Day, with repeated sea rescue attempts being abandoned as icebreaking ships failed to reach them.


They went looking for evidence of global warming, and found just the opposite. There is so much ice and snow that they became trapped and needed to be rescued.

Now that effort has been ditched, with experts admitting the ice is just too thick. Instead the crew have built an icy helipad, with plans afoot to rescue the 74-strong team by helicopter.

The expedition is being lead by Chris Turney, a climate scientist, who was hoping to reach the base camp of Douglas Mawson, one of the most famous Antarctic explorers, and repeat observations done by him in 1912 to see what impact climate change had made.

It is thought that the group, which includes scientific researchers and a journalist, will now be able to escape by air after two sea rescues failed.

Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis was unable to reach them because it was not strong enough to break through.

A top-of-the-range Chinese icebreaker, the Snow Dragon (‘Xue Long’), was deployed earlier in the week, and hoped to reach the ship by saturday.

However just after midnight on Friday it too got stuck just six nautical miles from the ship.

The Academic Shokalskiy set off from New Zealand on November 28 to recreate a 100-year-old Australasia expedition first sailed by Sir Douglas Mawson to see how the journey changes using new technology and equipment.

But on Wednesday morning, the boat hit a mass of thick ice sheets and today remains at a stand still.

Chris Turney, an Australian professor who helped organise the voyage on the Russian ship, yesterday posted a photograph on Twitter apparently showing the Chinese vessel, a speck on the horizon beyond an expanse of ice.

‘Everyone well,’ Turney added.

He said trying to break through ice that was too thick would be ‘like driving your car into a brick wall’. Just before 5am on Wednesday, Australia deployed a The Snow Dragon to free the group into open water.

French vessel L’Astrolabe was sent out for back up, alongside Australia’s Aurora Australis, which is carrying food and first aid professionals.

After two days being stranded, passengers hoped to be rescued by the Snow Dragon as it powered through horrific conditions. source – Daily Mail UK.

by NTEB News Desk

Colo. House passes gun-control measures.


  • Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, left, talks with Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, at the Capitol in Denver on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. Fields sponsored a bill that would limit the size of ammunition magazines and Levy sponsored a bill dealing with students carrying concealed guns at the universities in the state. Both were being debated on the House floor on Friday.(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)View PhotoRep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, left, …
  • Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, center, talks with Rep. Joseph Salazar, left, and House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, right, D-Denver, about her bill on limiting the size of ammunition magazines at the Capitol in Denver on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. Kicking off a long, emotional debate about guns, Colorado lawmakers clashed Friday over setting limits on the size of ammunition magazines, a proposal in a package of Democratic bills responding to mass shootings at a suburban Denver movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school.(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)View PhotoRep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, center, …

DENVER (AP) — Limits on the size of ammunition magazines and universal background checks passed the Colorado House on Monday, during a second day of emotional debates that has drawn attention from the White House as lawmakers try to address recentmass shootings.

The bills were among four that the Democratic-controlled House passed amid strong resistance from Republicans, who were joined by a few Democrats to make some of the votes close.

The proposed ammunition restrictions limit magazines to 15 rounds for firearms, and eight for shotguns. Three Democrats joined all Republicans voting no on the bill, but the proposal passed 34-31.

“Enough is enough. I’m sick and tired of bloodshed,” saidDemocratic Rep. Rhonda Fields, a sponsor of the bill and representative of the district where the shootings at an Aurora theater happened last summer. Fields’ son was also fatally shot in 2005.

Republicans argued that the proposals restrict Second Amendment rights and won’t prevent mass shootings like the ones in Aurora and a Connecticut elementary school.

“This bill will never keep evil people from doing evil things,” said Republican Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg.

The House also approved a bill requiring background checks on all gun purchases, including those between private sellers and firearms bought online.

Other proposals would ban concealed firearms at colleges and stadiums, and another requires that gun purchasers pay for their own background checks. Democrats eked out the closest vote on the background check measure, which passed on a 33-32 vote.

Democratic Rep. Ed Vigil, who represents rural southern Colorado, voted against the four bills, saying his decision was rooted in the state’s rugged history.

“This is part of our heritage. This is part of what it took to settle this land. I cannot turn my back on that,” he said.

But even though a few Democrats joined Republicans in voting no for the bills, the Democrats’ 37-28 advantage in the House gave them enough leeway.

The Senate still needs to consider the proposals. Democrats will need to be more unified in their support there because their advantage is only 20-15. That means Republicans need only three Democrats to join them to defeat the bills.

House lawmakers began debating the bills Friday. Lawmakers debated for 12 hours before giving initial approval to the bills, setting up the final recorded votes Monday. During the debate Friday,Vice President Joe Biden called four Democrats, including two in moderate districts, to solidify support for the measures.

Democratic Rep. Dominick Moreno, who represents a district in suburban Denver, was among the four lawmakers. He said Biden “emphasized the importance of Colorado’s role in shaping national policy around this issue.”

Castle Rock Republican Rep. Carole Murray brought up Biden’s calls during Monday’s debate, saying she didn’t appreciate “East-coast politicians” trying to influence Colorado legislators.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper supports the expanded background checks, and thinks gun buyers should pay for them. He also said he may support limits on the size of magazines, if lawmakers agree to a number between 15 and 20. He said he hasn’t decided whether to support banning concealed firearms on campuses and stadiums.

Republicans say students should have the right to defend themselves.

“Do not disarm our young adults in general and our young women in particular on our college campuses in the name of a gun-free zone,” Republican Rep. Jim Wilson said.

The gun debate highlights a fundamental philosophical difference between many Democrats and Republicans.

“I resent the implication that unless we all arm ourselves we will not be adequately protected,” said Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, the Democrats’ leader in the House.

Republican Rep. Christ Holbert became emotional while explaining his opposition to the bills. He said he understood Fields cares about the bills, because of her district and because her son was shot and killed in 2005.

“But I care passionately about the United States Constitution and the constitution of this state, and the oath that we have taken,” Holbert said.


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By IVAN MORENO | Associated Press

Colo. theater reopens, months after mass shooting.

  • Workers with American Fence remove the fence from around the Century theater in Aurora, Colo., on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. The Colorado movie theater where a gunman killed 12 people and wounded dozens of others reopens Thursday with a private ceremony for victims, first responders and officials. Theater owner Cinemark plans to temporarily reopen the entire 16-screen complex in Aurora to the public on Friday, then permanently on Jan. 25. Aurora's mayor, Steve Hogan, has said residents overwhelmingly support reclaiming what he calls "an important venue for Aurora." (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

    View PhotoAssociated Press/Ed Andrieski – Workers with American Fence remove the fence from around the Century theater in Aurora, Colo., on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. The Colorado movie theater where a gunman killed 12 …more 


AURORA, Colo. (AP) — One survivor had to pause on his way into the theater and pray. Another braced for flashbacks as he entered the auditorium where 12 people died and dozens were injured during a massacre six months earlier. Others refused to come, viewing the reopening of the multiplex as insensitive.

The former Century 16, now renovated and renamed the Century Aurora, opened its doors to victims of the July 20 attack on Thursday night with a somber remembrance ceremony and a special showing of “The Hobbit.”

Theater 9, where neuroscience graduate student James Holmesallegedly opened fire on a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Returns,” is now an XD theater with a wall-to-wall screen and stadium seating.

“We as a community have not been defeated,” Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan told victims, officials, and dozens of police officers and other first responders who filled half the theater’s seats at the ceremony.

“We are a community of survivors,” Hogan declared. “We will not let this tragedy define us.”

Pierce O’Farrill, who was wounded three times in the shooting, made a point of finding his old seat in the second row of the theater. “It was just a part of closure, just going back to that spot where, obviously, I was in the most pain I’d ever felt in in my life,” said O’Farrill, who was hit three times and had to be carried out by the SWAT team, past the shooter’s discarded rifle.

Holmes is charged with 166 felony counts, mostly murder and attempted murder for the shooting. A judge has ordered him to stand trial, but he won’t enter a plea until March.

The reopening comes nearly six months after the attack and a week after many victims sat through a three-day hearing at which prosecutors described the attack in excruciating detail

Several families boycotted what they called a callous public relations ploy by the theater’s owner,Cinemark. They claimed the Texas-based company didn’t ask them what should happen to the theater. They said Cinemark emailed them an invitation to Thursday’s reopening just two days after they struggled through Christmas without their loved ones.

“It was boilerplate Hollywood — ‘Come to our movie screening,'” said Anita Busch, whose cousin, 23-year-old college student Micayla Medek, died at the theater.

Victims have filed at least three federal lawsuits against Cinemark Holdings Inc., alleging it should have provided security for the July 20 midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” and that the exit door used by the gunman to get his weapons and re-enter should have had an alarm. In court papers, Cinemark says the tragedy was “unforeseeable and random.”

“We certainly recognize all the different paths that people take to mourn, the different paths that people take to recover from unimaginable, incomprehensible loss,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said at the ceremony.

“Some wanted this theater to reopen. Some didn’t. Certainly both answers are correct,” Hickenlooper said.

The governor credited Cinemark CEO Tim Warner for flying to Colorado after hearing about the shooting to see what he could do.

Warner told attendees that the caring response to the tragedy by first responders, the community and the world was a testament that good triumphs over evil.

Samuel Aquila, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Denver, concluded the ceremony with a prayer for the dead and the living.

“All of us in some small way suffered in your suffering,” Aquila told the crowd. “The way of peace means rejecting the violence of that night.”

Cinemark planned to offer free movies at the multiplex to the public over the weekend, then permanently reopen it Jan. 25. Throughout the evening, police officers and security guards turned away people who drove up asking how they could get tickets to the upcoming free shows.

The decision to reopen even divided at least one victim’s family.

Tom Sullivan, whose son, Alex, was killed, attended the event.

“The community wants the theater back and by God, it’s back,” Sullivan said. “Nobody is going to stop us from living our lives the way that we lived our lives before. This is where I live.”

Alex’s widow, Cassandra Sullivan, joined the boycott. So did Tom Teves, whose own son, Alex, also was killed.

“They can do whatever they want. I think it was pretty callous,” Teves said.

Adam Witt, who was grazed in the shoulder during the attack, was expecting flashbacks when he walked into the theater Thursday night. He and his wife Tiffany were pleasantly surprised at how unfamiliar the renovated space seemed.

“It was strange but oddly reassuring,” said Tiffany Witt, 24. “The way it looks different — it gives us the feeling that we’re moving on from what happened.”

Marcus Weaver struggled to keep his emotions under control as he walked through the multiplex lobby. On July 20 he was shot in the arm and his friend Rebecca Wingo was killed. Thursday night he had to stop and pray before entering the theater.

He was glad he did. Inside he saw the woman with whom he had shared a terrifying ambulance ride on July 20, and another woman from his church whom he hadn’t even realized had been in the auditorium that night.

“There was so much love in that room, it conquered all the ill feeling I had,” said Weaver, 42, who wore a shirt bearing Wingo’s name and image. “The shooter, he can’t win. This community is way stronger.”


Associated Press writers Nicholas Riccardi and Colleen Slevin contributed to this report.


By P. SOLOMON BANDA | Associated Press

Colorado suspect James Holmes took creepy self-portraits hours before the shootings.


Sketch of James Holmes being led into court this week. (AP Photo/Bill Robles, Pool)

[Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. MT]

CENTENNIAL, Colo.— Photos recovered from James Holmes’ iPhone show the alleged gunman posing with weapons and making creepy faces in the weeks and hours before the shooting massacre at an Aurora movie theater.

The images were shown in court Wednesday morning during Holmes’ preliminary hearing, but were not released to the public.

It was the state’s final move before declaring that it had presented overwhelming evidence that Holmes meticulously planned and executed the attack without remorse.

“Because he wanted to kill all of them, and he knew what he was doing,” Arapahoe County prosecutor Karen Pearson told the court.

One of the more disturbing self-portraits was snapped on July 12. It shows his infamous orange-dyed hair flaring out from beneath a black skull cap. His eye color is darkened by black contact lenses, and he is grinning with his tongue sticking out.

Three other self-portraits were snapped approximately six hours before the movie theater shooting. In those photos he is also wearing black contact lenses and making various faces. In one of them, he’s holding up one of two semi-automatic pistols he had recently purchased.

“He has a large, toothy smile,” Aurora police Sgt. Matthew Fyle said from the witnesses stand.

In two others from July 19, he is posing with parts of homemade bombs he allegedly built. A final photo from July 19 shows an arsenal of guns and black tactical clothing sprawled across a red sheet on his bed.

A self-portrait taken on July 5 shows Holmes with orange-dyed hair and dressed in black combat gear with an assault-like rifle being carried from his shoulder.

Other photos recovered from Holmes’ iPhone lead police to believe he began casing the Century 16 theater a month before the shootings.

Four photos taken on June 29, July 5 and July 11 show various interior and exterior images of the movie theater, including doorways, hallways and sidewalks.

Holmes’ lead public defender, Daniel King, did not present evidence or call witnesses during this phase of the case.

“I have no argument to probable cause,” King said. “This is not a trial.”

King said anything he would present would speak to Holmes’ mental illness, and this was not the time to do so.

Judge William Sylvester did not make a ruling at the end of Wednesday’s preliminary hearing. He recessed the court until 9 a.m. MT on Friday when he will announce if the evidence presented is enough to move forward with a trial. An arraignment may be held the same day. If so, Holmes’ defense attorneys could plead not guilty to preserve Holmes’ right to a jury trial.

[Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. MT]

CENTENNIAL, Colo.—Aurora police Sgt. Matthew Fyles, who has supervised the Aurora movie theater massacre investigation, is scheduled to take the stand when the preliminary hearing resumes at 9 a.m. MT.

Prosecutors said late Tuesday that Fyles will be the last witness for the state. It is unknown if shooting suspect James Holmes’ defense team will call its own witnesses.

The purpose of the hearing is for District Judge William Sylvester to determine if there is evidence to try Holmes on 166 counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder. Colorado allows dual filing of charges (essentially premeditated and without remorse). Twelve people were killed and 58 wounded in the shooting. An additional 13 suffered nongunshot injuries as a result of the rampage.

Holmes, a former neuroscience doctoral student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, has been held without bond and in isolation since being arrested without resistance behind the theater minutes after the massacre.

By  | The Lookout

Updates from hearing: Holmes rigged home with explosives to distract police.

Aurora police Officer Jason Oviatt leaves the courtroom for the lunch break after a court appearance by James Holmes. …

Editor’s note: No electronic equipment is allowed in the courtroom. We’ll update here when possible during recesses and other breaks.

[Updated 1:19 p.m. ET/11:19 MT]

CENTENNIAL, Colo.— A federal agent testified today that suspected Aurora, Colo., theater gunman James Holmes had booby-trapped his apartment and intended it as a distraction while he went on a shooting rampage at the theater.

FBI bomb tech Garrett Gumbinner said during the preliminary hearing this morning that he interviewed Holmes the afternoon after he allegedly went on a shooting spree at the Aurora movie cineplex last July. The agent said that bombs inside his apartment were set to be detonated by a remote control for a toy car left outside the building. When someone tried to play with the remote control, the bombs would go off.

The explosions, which did not happen, were intended to draw first responders to his apartment, while Holmes went on a shooting spree, the agent said.

The testimony came during the second day of a preliminary hearing to determine if Holmes should stand trial for the shooting deaths of 12 people killed during the attack and the numerous other people he allegedly wounded.

Prosecutors also played the audio of two 911 calls during the morning court session.

During one call, 30 loud gunshots can be heard during a 27-second call from inside the Aurora movie theater during the rampage. That 911 call, made by moviegoer Kevin Quinonez, was replayed in open court and caused survivors and victims’ family members in attendance to hide their faces and wipe tears with tissues.

A second call played for the court was from a 13-year-old girl, whose aunt and cousin was shot. On that 4-minute call, a 911 operator tried repeatedly tried to instruct the teen how to perform CPR on one of her cousins who had not yet died.

“I can’t hear you” the girl says on the 911 tape. “I’m sorry.”

[Updated at 9 a.m. ET/7 a.m. MT]

CENTENNIAL, Colo.—Day two of James Holmes’ preliminary hearing on mass murder charges could offer more clues to whether prosecutors and defense attorneys are prepping for a possible insanity defense.

At times on Monday, through video, police testimony and the reciting of witness statements, both sides seemed to try to frame Holmes’ state of mind before, during and immediately after 12 people were killed and 58 injured in the movie theater rampage in Aurora, Colo., on July 20, 2012.
Sketch of James Holmes being led into court on Monday. (REUTERS/Bill Robles)

Century 16 security cameras showed a nonchalant Holmes holding the door for others as he entered the movie theater shortly after midnight. He used his cellphone to print his ticket to the premier of “The Dark Knight Rises.” He dawdled near a concession stand for several minutes before entering Theater 9, where the shootings took place.

Investigators say Holmes went out a side fire exit close to where his car was parked behind the complex. He then donned police-like tactical gear and got his guns before re-entering the side door about 20 minutes into the film.

Arresting Officer Jason Oviatt was the hearing’s first witness.

“He seemed very detached from it all,” Oviatt testified, adding that his notes from that night state that Holmes “simply stared off into the distance” and “seemed to be out of it and disoriented.”

But a second officer testified that Holmes smiled when he asked him about accomplices.

“It was like a smirk,” Officer Justin Grizzle testified.

Detective Matthew Ingui said a witness told him that the gunman was “very calm and moving with purpose.”

Late in the day, defense attorney Daniel King engaged the Arapahoe County coroner in a discussion about the definition of a homicide.

By  | The Lookout

Colorado movie house shooting suspect faces hearing.


DENVER (Reuters) – A former graduate student charged with shooting a dozen people to death at a screening of a “Batman” film in Colorado was due back in court on Monday as prosecutors seek to convince a judge they have enough evidence to put him on trial.

Prosecutors will outline their murder case against James Holmes, 25, in a preliminary hearing that is expected to last a week and offer the public its first detailed glimpse into an investigation of one of the most chilling and deadly mass shootings in U.S. history.

After this week’s proceedings, prosecutors will decide whether to seek the death penalty in the case.

The onetime University of Colorado doctoral student of neuroscience is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder stemming from a rampage last July that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded inside an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater.

The Denver suburb was shaken by gun violence again on Saturday when a lone gunman holed up in an Aurora townhouse shot three people to death and was killed hours later by police.

A wave of fatal shooting rampages across the country over the past year, led by the movie-house slayings in Colorado and last month’s massacre of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, have reignited a national debate over gun safety.

Most of the evidence against Holmes has been placed under seal, and Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester has issued a gag order preventing all parties, including law enforcement, from publicly discussing the case.

A preliminary hearing allows prosecutors to present evidence so a judge can decide if there are grounds for a trial.

If the judge rules the case can proceed, Holmes will sometime later enter a plea. If he pleads not guilty, prosecutors have 60 days to notify the court and the defense whether they will seek the death penalty.

Stephen Barton, a survivor of the Aurora massacre, said on CNN on Monday morning that he recalls “very vividly” the chain of events early in the morning of July 20. “I remember seeing the flash of his gun,” said Barton, who was struck by a shotgun blast and still has a number of pellets in his body.


This week’s hearing will afford defense lawyers a sharper picture of the case against their client. Holmes’s lawyers are expected to call witnesses to testify about his state of mind, a move that could further portend the makings of an insanity defense.

Glimmers of such a defense strategy have emerged in hearings leading up to Monday’s proceeding, including comments from Holmes’ lawyers suggesting he was mentally disturbed and had seen a psychiatrist.

Barton, who has become an activist in the campaign for more stringent gun control since the shooting, said he was not overly concerned about how the court rules on Holmes’ sanity because he believes the accused gunman “will never see the light of day” again.

Should a judge rule Holmes insane, Barton said, “I don’t know that that absolves him of guilt.”

Holmes, who has attended all but one court hearing since his arrest, has sat quietly throughout the proceedings as lawyers for both sides have wrangled over various legal issues.

Gone is the dyed red hair that the California native sported when he was taken into custody. His natural dark brown hair has since grown back, and in recent weeks he has appeared in court with a full beard.

Until last month’s Newtown tragedy, the Aurora multiplex massacre ranked as the bloodiest U.S. shooting of 2012, one of the nation’s worst years for gun violence in recent memory. Yet the circumstances of the movie killings stood out as a particularly shocking.

At an earlier hearing in the case, prosecutor Rich Orman said Holmes bought a ticket to the July 20 midnight screening of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises,” and minutes into the movie left the theater, propping open an exit door.

Holmes then donned protective ballistic gear and armed himself with numerous weapons, returned to the theater, lobbed a smoke canister into the crowd and opened fire, authorities said. He later surrendered to police at the theater.

The day of the shooting spree, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates told reporters that after Holmes was taken into custody, he told officers that he had rigged his apartment with explosives. Bomb squad technicians disarmed the booby-trapped dwelling before any of the homemade bombs detonated.

Legal analysts assume that Holmes will ultimately plead not guilty by reason of insanity, based on statements from his defense attorneys and in court filings.

Public defender Daniel King has said his client suffers from an unspecified mental illness. King has subpoenaed two witnesses for the Monday hearing to testify about Holmes’ mental state before the massacre, according to court documents.

Holmes could waive his right to the preliminary hearing at the last minute, or his lawyers could raise the issue of their client’s competency to proceed with the hearing, said Bob Grant, a former Colorado district attorney.

“Often, a defense tactic in capital cases is to delay the process as long as they can,” said Grant, who prosecuted the only inmate executed in Colorado since the state re-instituted the death penalty in the 1970s.

(Reporting and writing by Keith Coffman; Editing by Steve Gorman, Eric Walsh and John Wallace)


By Keith Coffman | Reuters

4 dead after police standoff at a Colo. townhome.

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Four people, including an armed suspect, died during an hours-long police standoff Saturday at a Colorado townhome, authorities said.

An Aurora police department SWAT team responded after shots were heard at the townhome at 3 a.m., said Aurora police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson. Investigators said three people, all adults, appeared to have been killed before officers arrived.

The suspect shot at police at 8:15 a.m. and was killed during a shootout when officers stormed the home about 45 minutes later, Carlson said. It wasn’t known if officers shot the suspect or if he shot himself.

A fifth person escaped unharmed before officers arrived and reported that she saw three people inside the home who “appeared lifeless,” Carlson said.

The sergeant declined to elaborate about the woman’s escape.

A motive for the killings was unknown. Police wearing gloves and carrying evidence bags were going over the crime scene.

“We’re just getting in there with our crime scene detectives, so obviously we’ll have to determine if it was our rounds or his rounds,” Carlson said.

Police declined to release the name of the suspect or victims.

Officers evacuated neighbors during the standoff and used a bullhorn to communicate with the gunman, urging him to surrender.

A large front window was missing in the modest two-story townhome, the window’s mini-blinds in disarray. Bullet holes marked two upstairs windows. Neighbors milled about outside.

The shootings occurred about four miles southeast of the Aurora Mall, where 12 people were killed and dozens wounded by a gunman at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20. The man charged in that shooting, James Holmes, goes to court Monday for a preliminary hearing in which prosecutors will lay out their case against him.

Aurora, just east of Denver, is one of Colorado’s largest and most diverse cities with more than 335,000 residents. It is home to Buckley Air Force Base as well as the sprawling University of Colorado Health Sciences Center campus.


Associated Press writer Thomas Peipert contributed to this story.


By P. SOLOMON BANDA | Associated Press

Batman Movie Shooting May Harm Movie Theater Attendance.

Aurora, Colo., Century 16 movie theater
The Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., where 12 were killed and dozens injured on July 20 (Reuters/Rick Wilking)

Despite some conflicting research, a new study by Front Porch Research shows that the Aurora, Colo., shooting at this summer’s new Batman movie may lead to decreased attendance at movie theaters.

Front Porch Research surveyed 500 adults and 300 “tweens” between the ages of 12 and 15 after the shooting. Their survey reveled that 34 percent of adults and 30 percent of children between 12 and 15 were either “somewhat more” or “a lot more” concerned about violence in movies and TV after the shooting.

The survey also found, “19 percent of tweens and 18 percent of adults claimed that they would see fewer movies at the theater. If 19 percent of the 221 millions moviegoers in 2011 were to watch one less movie, the financial impact would be a $333 million annual reduction in [movie ticket] sales.”

Despite this apparent increase in awareness of violence in the media, the level of violence in movies aimed at teenagers is still alarming.

A week after the movie The Hunger Games was released, Front Porch Research conducted a survey regarding the movie’s kid-on-kid violence.

This survey found, “80 percent of women Hunger Games watchers did not have any concerns about tweens or teenagers reading the book or watching the movie. Eight-four percent of men did not have any concerns.”

Also, 19 percent of the women and 33 percent of the men felt that the violence was “not graphic enough.”

The numbers in both studies should make parents want to teach proper discernment of the media to their children. They should also send a message to Hollywood that, when more people like the Aurora shooter try to replicate the violence they see at the cinema, less people will want to make the trip to their local cinema.


Aurora Theater Where Gunman Shot 70 People Could Re-Open by New Year.

The site of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history could reopen as soon as the New Year.

The Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., has been shut down since July 20, when a gunman opened fire during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” killing 12 people and leaving 58 wounded. In August, the City of Aurora launched an online survey asking what should be done about the theater.

The majority of people who responded said they supported re-opening the theater. Those results were passed along to Cinemark, the owner of the theater, with a letter from Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan.

“We believe that we are hearing, and indeed have heard for some time, a collective wish and desire for the theater to re-open,” Hogan said. He added that he had consulted with victims, victims advocates and community members about the decision.

Hogan asked for special provisions, including victim and survivor visitation, memorials and a possible change to the exterior appearance of the building to be considered.

Tim Warner, CEO of Cinemark, responded, saying the company would work with the city to determine the best way to re-open the theater.

“We pledge to reconfigure the space and make the theater better than ever,” he said. “We hope the theater will be ready by the beginning of the New Year.”


By Alyssa Newcomb | ABC News Blogs

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