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Man Brought Gun, Ammo to ‘Dark Knight’

Arrested at 10 p.m. showing in Ohio.

Here’s one reason why movie theaters in the U.S. need heightened security in the aftermath of the Aurora, Colo., massacre. An Ohio man is being held without bail in a Westlake, Ohio, jail after he was caught Saturday at a 10 p.m. showing of The Dark Knight Rises in North Ridgeville with a bag stuffed with a gun, ammo, and knives. An off-duty officer spotted and followed Scott A. Smith, 37, entering the theater a half-hour early with a conspicuous bag. When asked to reveal the contents of his bag, Smith told the officer he would just put the bag in his car. The officer cuffed him and found a loaded Glock 9mm handgun, two loaded magazine clips, three knives, and one more on his body. A search of his home found eight rifles, handguns, gas masks, and bulletproof vests. Smith has no criminal record, but police believe he spent a short time in the military and doesn’t have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Read it at The Plain Dealer



Inside Holmes’s Booby Trap

Pool photo by Bill Robles

New details from the second part of the Aurora shooter's evil plan: homemade napalm, a frying pan of chemicals, and dozens of explosives inside his apartment. Christine Pelisek reports.

Accused mass shooter James Holmes used homemade napalm, thermite, gasoline, smokeless gun powder, rifle bullets, and a remote-controlled car and a boom box to booby-trap his apartment before setting off on a shooting spree at an Aurora movie theater, prosecutors said in a Colorado court today.According to an FBI agent, Holmes’s ultimate plan was to create a distraction—bringing police to his home and leaving fewer resources at the Century 16 complex four miles away, where he was carrying out what prosecutors say was a meticulous plan to kill as many people as possible.


Aurora Goes to Court

RJ Sangosti/AP

Theater shooter James Holmes is in court this week as prosecutors outline their case. Will we finally learn what was inside his notebook? Christine Pelisek on the possible surprises.

Almost six months after 12 people were killed and at least 70 were injured in a shooting rampage at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.—and just days after a deadly hostage standoff rattled the town once more—the highly anticipated preliminary hearing is set to begin today for accused mass shooter James E. Holmes.The purpose of the preliminary hearing, which is expected to last through the week and draw hundreds of witnesses, victims, and members of the media to the Arapahoe County courthouse, is to determine if there is sufficient evidence to put the 25-year-old former University of Colorado Denver neuroscience doctoral student on trial.


New Holmes Emails Revealed

RJ Sangosti-Pool / Getty Images

Had few friends, but briefly dated.

Newly released emails reveal that James Holmes, the man who stands accused of a mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater, had few friends—but did briefly have a girlfriend—during his time as a student at the University of Colorado. The school, where Holmes studied neuroscience before the July 20th massacre, released more than 2,000 records in response to a public-records request. Much of the material was redacted because of federal statutes that prohibit releasing academic and medical information. Holmes allegedly killed 12 and injured 58 at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

Read it at Associated Press


James Holmes Attempted Suicide

RJ Sangosti, Pool / AP Photo

Multiple times in the past few days.

James Holmes, who is on trial for the massacre in an Aurora movie theater, doesn’t seem to be faring too well in jail. According to law enforcement, Holmes has made multiple suicide attempts in recent days—though apparently he isn’t trying very hard. Sources said Holmes’ attempts have been “half-hearted” and include running into a wall and jumping off his bed. But a Tuesday trip to the hospital followed one of those attempts, and defense attorneys have asked for a Thursday hearing to be postponed as a result.

Read it at CBS Denver

Shooting Violence

Aurora Victim Endorses Gun Control

Robert Ray / AP Photo

In a new ad timed for this week’s presidential debate, shooting survivor Stephen Barton calls on Obama and Romney to take steps to help end gun violence—but will either candidate listen? Eliza Shapiro reports.

Earlier this year, Stephen Barton was shot 25 times in the face, neck, hand, chest, shoulder and forearm in the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., during the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. This week, he will take his scars on the national stage.Barton appears in a 30-second ad produced by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an organization founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that calls for stricter gun control laws.


Holmes Prosecutors Face Setback

RJ Sangosti, Pool / AP Photo

Judge holds notebook describing attack.

A judge on Thursday denied prosecutors’ request to obtain a notebook that allegedly contains a violent description of the shooting that killed 12 and injured 58. Prosecutors said the suspected shooter, James Holmes, mailed the notebook to his psychiatrists, prompting Judge William B. Sylvester to rule that it could be inadmissible due to doctor-patient confidentiality. His final ruling on the matter is expected on Sept. 20. Holmes, 24, a doctoral student at the University of Colorado, has been accused of a shooting rampage during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. Defense attorneys are trying to argue that Holmes is insane.

Read it at Associated Press


Did Holmes Know He Was Crazy?

RJ Sangosti, AFP / Getty Images

The first hint that James Holmes suffers from bipolar disorder comes from the alleged shooter himself. But exactly what is ‘dysphoric mania’? Eliza Shapiro reports.

A couple of weeks before he allegedly opened fire in a packed Aurora, Colo., movie theater, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, James Holmes told a classmate he might be suffering from a type of bipolar disorder known as dysphoric mania, according to The New York Times.Since the July 20 massacre, Holmes’s psychiatric state has been the subject of fierce speculation, but few conclusive clues have yet come to light, leading to a murky, constantly changing portrait.

Staying Home

The Aurora Fear Factor

David Zalubowski / AP Photo

Rick Schwartz has been an avid movie fan all his life. He produces movies for a living. But last month’s Aurora movie-theater shootings, he writes, not only left him shaken but destroyed the pleasure he took in the communal thrill of moviegoing.

I’m afraid to go to the movies.It’s a double whammy for me, since I pride myself on being a tough New Yorker and because I produce movies for a living. I grew up braving a pre-Disney Times Square, when its inhabitants were decidedly less PG than Snow White. New Yorkers think we have a sixth sense about our surroundings; when we get on a subway or cross a street, we’re hyperattuned to what’s going on around us. It serves us well in our home city, but perhaps gives us an unwanted air of paranoia and aggressiveness in, say, Hailey, Idaho.


Prosecutors: Holmes Angry Over School

RJ Sangosti / AP Photo

Had failed an important exam and withdrawn.

Prosecutors have started to paint a picture of what drove James Holmes to allegedly shoot and kill 12 people and wound another 58 at a Colorado theater last month. According to them, the once-promising neuroscience student let his academic work slip near the end of his first year of his University of Colorado doctoral candidacy. Professors had criticized his work, and he had failed an important oral exam on June 7—three days later, Holmes withdrew from school. Prosecutors have asked a judge to subpoena the school's records, saying the details of Holmes’s life are “extremely relevant” to the case.

Read it at Associated Press


Holmes’s (Un)Open and Shut Case

Illustration by Bill Robles / AP-Pool

A gag order remains mostly in effect in the case against alleged killer James Holmes. But, as Christine Pelisek reports, a handful of documents just released shed some interesting light.

Less than a week after suspected shooter James Holmes’ defense attorney said his client was mentally ill, a Colorado judge agreed to release 34 court documents pertaining to the case.But Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester refused to release the juiciest documents in the case -- any search warrants, affidavits of probable cause, subpoenas, arrest warrants, or school records pertaining to Holmes’ stay at the University of Colorado Medical School, where he was a PhD student -- citing the need to ensure Holmes' right to a fair trial.


Holmes Had Stellar References

RJ Sangosti-Pool / Getty Images

Described as a ‘a very effective group leader.’

Before James Holmes was charged with killing 12 and wounding 58 in an attack on a Colorado movie theater, he was on his way to pursuing a promising neuroscience career, according to reference letters obtained by the Associated Press. One letter described Holmes as having a “great amount of intellectual and emotional maturity.” Another said that Holmes, who was in the top one percent of his honors classes with a 3.949 GPA, was “a very effective group leader.” His attorneys are now trying to argue that Holmes is mentally ill.

Read it at Associated Press


Holmes’s Lawyers: He’s Mentally Ill

RJ Sangosti / AP Photo / Denver Post

Want more time to gather information.

James Holmes, the alleged Aurora movie theater gunman, is mentally ill. At least that’s what his attorneys argued at a pretrial hearing on Thursday. Holmes’s lawyers are asking for more information from prosecutors and investigators so they can get to the bottom of Holmes’s mental state and make sure he receives a fair trial. Meanwhile, more than 20 news organizations asked a judge to unseal documents relating to the case and to lift a gag order that prohibits the University of Colorado from releasing any details about Holmes. Prosecutors argued that lifting the seal could jeopardize their investigation.

Read it at AP


Readers’ Shooting Memories

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

We asked readers to tell us which shootings they remembered most vividly. Here are your answers.

Carson City, Nevada: A gunman opened fire killing four and injuring seven at an IHOP.I remember that I lost a good friend who was always there for his friends and my daughter lost one of her best friends also and I know not a day goes by that we don't think about them.I remember when it happened.  This was such a horrific summer and fall for Northern Nevada, starting with the Amtrak crash, then the Air Races Accident, then the shooting at the Nugget during Street Vibrations, then this shooting at the IHOP in Carson City, the death of a local sportscaster in a hit and run DUI, and then a wildfire in November.

Trauma Confronted

Aurora Survivors’ Brave Return

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Jacqueline Keavney Lader and Don Lader were in the Century 16 theater watching ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ when James Holmes allegedly killed 12 people. The former Marines talk about going back to see the movie to make sure the gunman did not win.

My husband, Don, and I both love movies. We’re self-professed movie buffs, and have been since childhood. Attending midnight-movie releases are a treat, and the Century 16 multiplex in Aurora, Colo., is a short drive away. In the late night hours of July 19th, we arrived at the theater about an hour before our 12:05 a.m. showing. We settled into our usual seats (the eighth row up) to wait for the movie to start. Excited people streamed into the theater, some of them in costume.

Holmes’s Dazed Court Showing

In his first appearance since allegedly killing a dozen people, the suspected Colorado shooter struggled to keep his eyes open as he faced the judge.

More on the Colorado Shooting

The Suspect

What We Know About James Holmes

6 Facts About James Holmes

6 Facts About James Holmes

What we know about Colorado’s shooting suspect.

American Gentility

The Batman Shooter’s Mayflower Ancestry


The Shooter’s Evil Plan


‘This Could Have Happened Here’


Holmes’s Life in Aurora


What About Gun Control?

My Gun Control Fantasy

My Gun Control Fantasy

Obama and Romney won’t even mention the ‘g’ word after the tragedy in Aurora. That’s pathetic, writes Judith Miller. What if four ex-presidents got together to do the right thing?


The NRA’s Bizarre Priorities

No End in Sight

Carolyn McCarthy’s Lonely Crusade


Why Don’t Mass Shootings Lead to Gun Control?

Seize the Moment

Endorse Gun Control, Mitt!


Photos & Video From the Scene

Tweets From the ‘Dark Knight’ Shooting

Tweets From the ‘Dark Knight’ Shooting

A gunman killed 12 and wounded countless others at a shooting 15 minutes into a midnight screening of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. These are tweets, photos, and videos from the #theatershooting scene.


Colorado’s Night of Horror


Witnesses on the Colorado Shooting


The Mind of a Killer

A Diabolical Villain

A Diabolical Villain

No one seems to know what set off the murders in a movie theater, but the discussion should be about whether the NRA is also culpable, writes Michael Daly.

Hazy Profile

What Makes a Mass Murderer Tick?

Expert Advice

How to Survive a Disaster


Hollywood Reacts

Hollywood Looks Within

Hollywood Looks Within

Few in Hollywood think “The Dark Knight Rises’ caused the tragedy in Colorado. But some do wonder if popular culture has desensitized people to the very real consequences of violence.

Obama 'Heartbroken' By Shooting

At a campaign stop in Florida, the president said the day wasn't about politics. Ultimately, what matters most is 'how we choose to treat one another and love one another,' he told the crowd.