Aurora Shootout

The shooting of Aurora takes place on the night of 19in a movie theater of Aurora in Colorado , the United States , at 30 km from Littleton , seat of the Columbine shootings in 1999 1 . Twelve people are killed and fifty-eight wounded by James Eagan Holmes , 24, during a premiere of The Dark Knight Rises 2 .


The tragedy occurred in Room 9 of the Century 16 Theater next to the Aurora Downtown Mall. The shooter, James Holmes, seems to have entered the cinema through an emergency exit. He was wearing a gas mask and a bulletproof vest, and he threw a tear gas grenade before firing a random fire, killing twelve people at the first screening of The Dark Knight Rises 3 . At first the audience thought of special effects and fireworks 4 provided for the special session, before the public does not yield to panic.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates gave a press conference at noon on July 20 and said that Holmes used a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle , and that a second rifle was found in James’ white Hyundai car parked behind the cinema. According to the FBI, the shooter seems to have opened an emergency exit so he can easily enter the cinema to open fire. A few bullets lodged in the walls of the cinema and injured people in Room 8, adjacent to Room 9, where the same film was broadcast.

Ten people die on the spot and two others die after being transported to the hospital. The shooter hurts fifty others 3 . Initial reports stated that 50 or 53 people were injured, but that figure was updated to 58. Finally, 70 people were affected, with 12 dead and 58 injured. The uninjured witnesses were transported to Gateway Highschool. The age of the victims ranges from 3 months to 45 years, the 3 month old boy was treated at the University Hospital.


The suspect is called James Holmes (born December 13, 1987) and is 24 years old 2 at the time. He grew up in San Diego , California, graduated from high school in 2006, and earned a degree in neuroscience at the University of California at Riverside in 2010 .

Holmes was struggling to find a job after graduating. He then tried to obtain another degree in neuroscience at the Colorado School of Medicine. ABC News and correspondent Brian Ross first claimed on the air that the shooter was a member of Colorado’s Tea Party , before going back on this assertion 5 apparently related to the fact that a person of the same name as the suspect is mentioned on the party’s website.

James was stopped on the spot by the police, next to his car in the movie car park. He did not resist when arrested. He had apparently dyed her hair red 6 and called himself “The Joker.” During his attack, he was equipped with a bulletproof vest, a gas mask, two Glock pistols , a shotgun and an AR-15 7 . The suspect acted alone, admitting to having trapped his apartment. When police arrived at the suspect’s apartment in North Aurora, 8 kilometers from the crime scene, she discovered that he was trapped by chemical and incendiary objects 2. Police evacuated 5 adjacent buildings and explained that the explosives “looked very sophisticated”.

Consequences and reaction

Barack Obama talking about the massacre on the phone.

After this event, the distributor of the film, Warner Bros. , was saddened by the killings and canceled the Batman premiere in Paris 8 . The film’s advertising campaign was canceled in Finland. Warner Bros. has withdrawn a trailer of the film Gangster Squad which is scheduled for release in September, put online some time earlier, because it contains a scene where gangsters throw tear gas, and shoot in a cinema filled.

Christopher Nolan , producer and director of The Dark Knight Rises , said:”On behalf of the cast and crew, I would like to express our deep sorrow at this absurd tragedy that has struck Aurora. […] I will not pretend to know anything about the victims of the shooting, only that they were there last night to see a movie. […] I believe that movies are one of the greatest forms of American art and that sharing the discovery of a story that takes place on a screen is a hobby that is both enjoyable and important. […] The movie theater is my home, and the idea that someone can violate this innocent and hopeful space in such an incredibly wild way is appalling to me. […] Nothing we can say will properly express our feelings about the innocent victims of this appalling crime,9 . Christian Bale , lead actor of the film, visits the survivors at the hospital and collects himself near the place where the drama took place 10 , 11 . For his part, the composer of the film,Hans Zimmer , makes an unprecedented piece, called Aurora , to pay tribute to the victims of the killing; available on the download platforms, the funds collected are intended for them 12 .

US President Barack Obama announces his decision to suspend his political campaign for the day during a press conference, his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney , has done the same 13 . On the other hand, for the victims and a sign of mourning, the President ordered that the American flag be flown at half-mast at the White House and in public buildings 14 . He also canceled all his gatherings and displacements, claiming that it was a “day of prayer and reflection” , using very strong words and speaking of “devilish violence”. The American political class deplores the killing and conveys its condolences to the victims and their families. The shooting took place three months before the US presidential elections , it is interesting to note that “the debate on firearms has remained on the fringes of speeches”  : neither Barack Obama nor his political opponent Mitt Romneyhave addressed the subject 15 .

Victims who have died

  • Gordon Cowden, age 51
  • Rebecca Wingo, age 32
  • Alex Sullivan, 27 years old
  • Micayla Medek, 23 years old
  • Alexander J. Boik, 18 years old
  • Jessica Ghawi, 24 years old
  • John Larimer, 27 years old
  • Alexander C. Teves, 24 years old
  • Jonathan Blunk, 24 years old
  • Matt McQuinn, 27 years old
  • Jesse Childress, 29 years old
  • Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6 years old


On July 23, 2012, James Eagan Holmes appears for the first time in court, where observers note his air dazed and little concerned by what happens to him. On July 30, the prosecution filed charges of 24 cases of first degree murder and 116 attempted murder. On August 9, Holmes’ lawyer claims that his client is mentally unbalanced and that it takes time to define the exact nature of his mental pathology. The prosecution alleges that Holmes reportedly told a classmate four months before the killing that he wanted to kill people.

March 27, 2013, Holmes defenders offer to plead guilty in exchange that the death penalty will not be sought by the prosecution, but she declined the offer on st of April.

Began April 27, 2015, the trial ends on 8 August by the conviction of James Holmes in a sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of parole 16 .

Notes and references

  1. ↑ “13 years later, the Colorado again overshadowed by a shooting” . L’Humanité , July 20, 2012 [ archive ]
  2. ↑ a , b and c ( en ) ”  Colorado Police Say 12 Dead, 59 Wounded; Believe ‘Dark Knight’ Shooting Suspect Acted Aloner  ‘ , on , [ archive ]
  3. ↑ a and b ”  Deadly shooting in a movie theater in Denver  ” , on France 24 , [ archive ]
  4. ↑ [ archive ]
  5. ↑ Aurora Suspect James Holmes’ Mother: ‘You Have the Right Person’ [ archive ]
  6. ↑ Aurora’s Killing: James Holmes, red hair and empty gaze, facing the judge. Humanity July 23, 2012 [ archive ]
  7. ↑ Michael Pearson, ”  Gunman turns Batman screening into real-life” horror movie “  ” on , CNN, [ archive ](accessed July 20, 2012 )
  8. ↑ ”  Warner cancels the promotion in France of the last Batman  ” , on BFM TV , [ archive ]
  9. ↑ [ archive ]
  10. ↑ Christian Bale Visits Colorado Shooting Victims [ archive ]
  11. ↑ Shootout USA: Christian Bale, Batman actor, went to Aurora, a city of killings, posted and accessed 25 July 2012 on the . [ archive ]
  12. ↑ Hans Zimmer composed a song for the victims of Aurora . The Figaro 30/07/2012 [ archive ]
  13. ↑ Slaughter in Colorado: Obama suspended his political activities [ archive ]
  14. ↑ Josh Voorhees, ”  Gunman Shoots 71 Kills 12 at Midnight Opening Dark Knight  ” on The Slatest , The Slatest, [ archive] (accessed July 20, 2012 )
  15. ↑ Slaughter in Colorado: Obama and Romney not warm to better control the weapons . Humanity July 21, 2012 [ archive ]
  16. ↑ ”  The killer of Aurora escapes the death penalty  ” , on Liberation , [ archive ]

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