PoliticsNation, Friday, July 20, 2012
Read the transcript from the Friday show
Guests: Quentin Caldwell, Anthony Mai, Clint Van Zandt, Jeff Gardere, Corbin Dates
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m
Tonight, tragedy in Colorado.
At this hour here`s what we do know shortly after midnight last night
24-year-old suspected gunman James Eagan Holmes walked into a sold out
movie screening of the new Batman movie. He hurled a canister of tear gas
into the theater and opened fire. There are at least 12 dead, 71 shot.
Holmes was arrested in a parking lot behind the theater shortly after
the massacre. A law enforcement official confirms that Holmes had red or
orange hair when he was apprehended. And he told police that he was the
villain the joker from Batman. Despite these details, countless questions
remain. Among them what caused this former Ph.D. candidate to commit such
a heinous act? Were signs he was unstable? And there are questions, too,
about his apartment. Police say he left it booby trapped with explosives.
But why? We`ll sort through all of this and even hear eyewitnesses who
watched all of this unfold.
Joining me now is Chris Jansing, host of MSNBC`s "Jansing and
Company." She`s in Aurora, Colorado.
Chris, thanks for joining me this evening.
CHRIS JANSING, HOST, JANSING AND COMPANY (via telephone): Thank you
so much, Reverend Al.
I want you to know we are just getting word from officials that the
bodies of the people who were inside that movie theater, the people who
were killed are just starting to be removed.
Obviously up until this time, it`s been an active crime scene. And
the investigation there was ongoing. But it`s been a horrific day.
Obviously for this entire community. But also for the family and friends
of people who were trying to desperately get information about whether
their loved ones were in that theater. Whether they were among the people
who were killed or injured. It`s been a terrible, terrible situation here.
Where I`m standing which is right across from the movie theater and
not far from here you have the booby trapped apartment of the suspect. And
let me tell you. Talking to officials, they are saying that it looks
extremely elaborate. The question is, is it real? But obviously there`s a
huge security concern there. In addition to that, there is evidence inside
that apartment that they want to preserve, Al.
SHARPTON: Hold on one minute, Chris, just one second. Because
joining me now outside the suspect`s apartment is KUSA reporter Jeremy
Jeremy, what can you tell us outside the apartment that we understand
was booby trapped?
JEREMY JOJOLA, KUSA REPORTER: Well, I can tell you at this hour,
there still remains a quiet sense of apprehension here in Aurora. Here in
the neighborhood, that is essentially been crisscrossed with yellow crime
tape all day today since around 3:00 this morning mountain time, mountain
time. Residents are still coming home coming up to this chaotic scene here
somewhat and looking at all the emergency vehicles surrounding this
neighborhood here. And their jaw just drops when they walk up and they`re
just so surprised, what is going on.
I was here in the early morning hours when this place was evacuated.
I spoke to a handful of residents. Police came knocking on their doors
saying you`ve got to get out. There are possibly explosives in an
apartment unit. At this hour, the third floor of this apartment unit up
here, this red bricked unit, this generic looking apartment unit, that`s
where James Holmes lives.
SHARPTON: There was in apartment in a multi-dwelling building.
JOJOLA: Yes. There`s at least, you know, several families that live
in this apartment complex. Inside that unit, inside that unit there are
numerous one liter bottles of liquid that`s not identifiable yet.
Connected to those bottles are wires, trip wires. Today the chief of
police for the Aurora police department used the term booby trapped. This
apartment is loaded. It`s dangerous.
It`s also -- you know, it`s under the impression of investigators that
there is evidence inside this apartment that is just loaded with all these
explosive devices. So they have taken photographs of the apartment from
the outside so they could have a good idea of how they`re going to handle
And it`s possible from what we`re hearing that they may detonate
what`s inside that apartment. We`re being told by police they may actually
shut down this major arterial here in Aurora when they do that. If and
when they do that.
SHARPTON: So this seems to have been laid out in a sophisticated way,
at least it appears that way at this point.
JOJOLA: Yes. No doubt. I mean, it appears that this man, whatever
he was thinking had some sort of methodical plan. He thought something
I`ll add something else to this. About an hour and a half ago, we
spoke to two neighbors who lived right beneath him in this complex. They
said he was always quiet. He never made a noise. Suddenly at midnight
this loud techno music started playing according to the neighbor and it
continued load for one hour. They said that was very unusual for this man.
And for some reason, right at 1:00, that techno music stopped.
What does this mean for this case? Who knows. Perhaps it is related.
But the neighbors, in all attribute them, they are speculating -- we have
to be careful here. They are speculating that maybe he was trying to
attract someone to his apartment with that loud music which was unusual can
be according to the neighbors.
SHARPTON: What else have you been able if anything to glean from
neighbors since you has been around there for the last many hours?
JOJOLA: I can tell you I`ve been here all day. I was here since, you
know, 3:00 mountain time -- 2:30, 3:00 mountain time. I`ve spoken to
numerous people who have seen this photograph on the news. I asked them do
you know who this James Holmes guy is? None of them have seen this guy.
We did talk to a bouncer who did say -- and we have to be careful when
we do attribute neighbors in this area. Sometimes they may get confused.
We did talk to a bouncer who did say he saw this guy at a popular
neighborhood bar and that he would show up there on Sunday nights for
karaoke. But again, that`s one neighbor`s account. But at this point, I
get the sense that this guy may have kept to himself.
SHARPTON: Now, at this stage, there`s been no decision by police
whether to detonate or whether to go in. We have no idea what the plan
will be in terms of the apartment.
JOJOLA: You know, they`re being very secretive with information. And
I think, you know, they want to have a controlled, you know, setting when
they release information. You know, we tried talking to the patrol
officers. And they`re at the high enough pay grade, you know, to talk to
the media or they don`t have clearance to talk to the media.
So, at this point we just have to wait for official briefs from
police. But from what we`re being told and what my colleagues are being
told, that they`re going to possibly shut down Peoria to possibly detonate
some explosives inside this apartment possibly.
SHARPTON: Now, there are some reports that this man was a loner.
Have you heard anything at all to support that, Jeremy?
JOJOLA: We haven`t heard any neighbors who knew this guy specifically
face to face. The neighbors who lived below him describe him as a studious
person who kept to himself. You know, but we talked to, you know, several
people who lived in that block and they don`t remember seeing this guy.
They remember seeing his car which had Tennessee plates. But they don`t
remember seeing this guy, you know, being, you know, quite active in the
area of working list.
SHARPTON: But the neighbors that lived directly under him said he was
studious for some strange reason for an hour last night they heard loud
techno music blasting midnight to 1:00. They can only speculate as to why.
But that was unusual to hear sounds like that coming from his apartment.
JOJOLA: Yes. I mean, according to the neighbors, not only unusual
for that unit but the whole complex. They said they never heard any sounds
coming from that unit that was right above them. Right at midnight,
according to the neighbor who`s a registered nurse, his girlfriend is a
medical student here too. They`re very articulate people. They seem like
very credible people. They told me today that they all of a sudden right
at midnight heard this loud techno music and it continued for an hour.
Then all of the sudden, at 1:00 in the morning, it shut off. Who knows.
SHARPTON: What do you expect that`s going to happen now in the next
few hours there, Jeremy?
JOJOLA: I think -- you know, when we try to report tragedies like
this, we get snippets of information from a neighbor here or from a friend
here. I think, you know, over the next several days we`re going to
continue to get these little snippets of this man`s life and see, you know,
what kind of mentality he had.
I think, you know, there`s no doubt that this story will be debated
and dissected. And you know, and talked about for many, many years.
People are going to be talking about this in Colorado for a very long time.
But at this point, I think the focus for police now, and they`re doing
a really good job here, is making sure when they enter that apartment, that
it is safe. Because, you know, there is probably some very, you know,
special evidence in there they want to preserve.
SHARPTON: Wow. Well, and I`m sure they want to keep everyone out of
the area so whatever happens, no one has even potential harm.
Thank you so much Jeremy Jojola, KUSA there in Colorado.
Let me go back to you, Chris.
Chris, you heard that report. Can you tell us, you had started by
saying they`re just beginning to remove some of the bodies that were
killed. So this must be excruciatingly painful for family members. All
day their loved ones laying there because it was an active crime scene
since this happened a little after midnight. The bodies are just being
JANSING: It has been absolutely just devastating, obviously, for this
entire community. And for those who lived here in 1999, it brought back a
lot of bad memories. We`re just 12, 13 miles down the road from columbine.
And in addition, I have a little more information about what`s going
on at that apartment that I can add as well. The FBI is there. ATF agents
are there as well as local police. And just to pick up on what Jeremy said
at the end, it`s very important for them to preserve the evidence that`s in
They have gotten a look in the apartment. Obviously that`s how they
saw all those trip wires and this elaborate setup that local officials
called a booby-trapped. There had been at least one report that they`ve
seen a computer in there. So, that`s critical evidence that they`re not
going to go after until they know they can do it safely.
And there is a report from a local newspaper that one of those
neighbors who heard the music and actually called the non-emergency number
to complain. Then since nobody came, she actually walked upstairs and
knocked on the door. She wanted to tell him, you know, knock it off. And
she actually tested the knob and she said for whatever reason, she decided
not to turn it and go in. If that actually is a real trap, if those
actually are real explosives that is a split second decision that obviously
saved her life. But at this point, we don`t know what`s in those bottles
as Jeremy pointed out, Al.
SHARPTON: Chris, wow. Thank you for your time and the information.
JANSING: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Much more on the terrible tragedy in Colorado ahead. An
eyewitness and the shooter`s neighbor join us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This morning, we woke
up to news of a tragedy. That reminds us of all the ways that we are
united as one American family. If there`s anything to take away from this
tragedy, it`s the reminder that life is very fragile. Our time here is
limited and it is precious. And what matters at the end of the day are not
the small things. It`s not the trivial things which so often consume us
and our daily lives. Ultimately, its how we choose to treat one another
and how we love one another.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Two eyewitness accounts of the tragedy in Colorado join us
as we continue our coverage next.
SHARPTON: An unthinkable tragedy. A random mass shooting that killed
12 people and left 59 injured in a movie theater. Nobody would imagine
something as common and seemingly safe as seeing a blockbuster movie would
ever end in terror and tragedy.
Joining me now is someone who didn`t need to imagine that situation.
He was there.
Quentin Caldwell, a former marine, was watching the film in theater
number eight, right next to where the shooting took place.
Thank you for being here, Quentin.
Quentin, can you tell me when did you realize the noises you heard
weren`t part of the movie?
QUENTIN CALDWELL, EYEWITNESS (via telephone): Well, as the movie was
playing, there was a gun fight on the screen at the same time. And
suddenly we just -- out of nowhere hear a louder pop, pop, pop, pop. And
it was to the distinctly separate from the track, it was to the right. And
everybody kind of jumped a little bit and didn`t realize what was going on.
So, we didn`t notice anything. My wife he was next to me said that
sounded real. That sounded way too real. And so we just kind of -- I
brushed it off and thought nothing of it. But suddenly on my left behind
me, we heard somebody say somebody`s shooting up the theater, somebody back
here is hit. And they picked up young couple, the young couple picked up
the girl and she was leading profusely from her jaw. We were still kind of
awe struck, you know, seeing that. So, we thought it was a publicity stunt
or something like that. But then to my right another gentleman got up and
was doubled over bleeding from the mid-section. And then, he ran out into
the lobby. And we still were kind of (INAUDIBLE). And all of a sudden the
alarm came on. And that`s when we knew this wasn`t a PR stunt, that this
SHARPTON: So at first you thought this was some PR stunt. Young
lady, young girl in the back then a man doubled over. And it wasn`t until
the alarms went off that you realized something was awry.
CALDWELL: Well, when we heard the pops, we didn`t see anything. It`s
a dark theater. You don`t see the gun fire going off because it`s dark.
What had happened was the person whoever was shooting next door, straight
to that theater, and the wall that separate the two are thin. They`re just
dry wall with a little bit of sound batting on them, just cotton. They
just came clean through, you know. Didn`t see sparks, didn`t dust,
nothing. It just came right through and hit the people that were in our
SHARPTON: Now, as people began to realize what was happening with the
alarms, and you saw people injured, did panic break out? I mean, walk me
through what happens once everyone realized what had happened.
CALDWELL: Once everybody started to realize something real was going
on, there was a bit of panic. And you saw people get up and start rushing
towards the bottom screen exit. And that`s when I noticed that everybody
was starting to pile up. So, right then, I just thought they`re going to
trample each other. So, I kind of barked up, you know, everybody slow
down, relax. Walk. We need to make sure everybody gets out of here OK.
We have kids in here. So, everybody started to pile up a little slowly.
But then suddenly somebody went out the door and then ran back in, slammed
the door. She pushed everybody back and said there`s somebody out there
and I think he has a gun.
SHARPTON: How many shots did you hear? Can you give us an idea?
CALDWELL: I heard four.
SHARPTON: You heard four.
CALDWELL: There was a lot of commotion with the movie, the movie is
super loud. So, you know, the distinction between the movie and the real
shots was faint for some of the shots but distinct for three.
SHARPTON: Now, you -- the audience. Give me the scene. The
audiences were sitting there watching. You hear these shots. As things
evolve and start coming into the realization that this is real, the alarms
go off, you`re on your way out, you try to stop people from stampeding.
And then someone closes the door, you say, and they think someone`s out
there. What happens at that point?
CALDWELL: After that, you know, people started to kind of panic a
little because they thought that was the only exit. So, we said it`s OK.
Let`s turn around. Let`s go out the lobby exits. All right. Everybody go
out that way. But as soon as we turned around to try and exit that one,
somebody else ran in and said there are more people out in the lobby with
guns. And don`t go out that way. They`re yelling don`t go out this way.
SHARPTON: So you`re saying that for a period of time you were under
the impression there may be a gunman outside of one exit and then you felt
it was more than one gunman you were told in the lobby exit?
CALDWELL: No one said if it was a gunman or if it was the police or
anything. It was just basically the person walked out, saw someone
basically yell at them get back. And didn`t know what to think of it.
Basically the person was really in shock, you know, that that happened.
CALDWELL: So, everybody was really confused and sitting in the
theater just wondering how we`re going to get out of there.
SHARPTON: Now, where are the young girl that had been hit and the man
you saw double over? What has happened to them during this period or do
CALDWELL: I believe the young girl was actually able to get out the
side door because no one else had left out that way yet. It was once the
whole crowd tried to start leaving that one person saw something, slammed
the door and pushed everyone back. I don`t know if that person was shoved
back in by an officer or what was going on. But the first lady was able to
get out. And the man doubled over ran out of the lobby right into the
lobby. And that was when the shooting was still going on in the other
theater. So he was able to get through into the lobby.
SHARPTON: And you say it was very thin walls between the different
theaters, so you actually could get hit from the theater next door.
CALDWELL: Yes. They share a common wall. And I have a friend that
works at the theater, and there`s basically just a huge level of studs and
dry wall and sound material that separates two theaters. And when we were
basically blocked off from both exits that when I noticed the holes in the
wall because somebody had spoken up about it. So, I walked over and kind a
stuck my hand over and put my fingers in there to see what was going on. I
didn`t know if what I was seeing was real. It still kind of hays, and when
I felt the dry wall, that`s when I realized these are bullet holes. This
is real. And I look down to my seat and see the blood trail of the
gentleman that ran out of the theater and that`s when I started to stun.
SHARPTON: Well, Quentin Caldwell, thank you for being here tonight.
And we`ve all been to movie theaters, and it doesn`t get more
frightening than this. Sitting in a movie to enjoy an opening night of a
blockbuster and you`re in the middle of a massacre. This -- it doesn`t get
much worse than this.
Much more on the tragedy in Colorado ahead and we try to figure out
who this shooter was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw a young girl on the left-hand side right in
front of the theater. She had to be at -- I mean, no more than, like, 12,
13 years old it looked like. And she just had, like, visibly she had two
bullet wounds on her leg and just blood covering her stomach. Right after
that, a police officer was helping a man out of the theater. And he was
just completely covered in blood.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw about five adults, like, some people they
had bullet holes going through their stomachs. Like, I want to say three
of them. I saw one, she had something -- like, her leg. And then I just
saw blood everywhere. On another person and then the little girl. She had
one. It looked like it was through her stomach. And then the blood coming
down her legs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A cop came walking through the door holding a
little girl in his arms and she wasn`t moving.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Tragic moments like these are a time when our nation comes
together. And much of today`s story played out in the social media`s fear.
The first tweets came, before anyone knew what was to come as fans
happily headed to theater nine, at the Century 16 movie theater.
Zach tweeted. "Everyone`s dressing up as Batman. I`m doing dressed
as Bruce Wayne."
Aspiring sports caster Jessica Redfield tweeted hours before the show
about how she talked a friend into seeing the movie with her. Of course
we`re seeing Dark Knight. Red-headed Texan spit fire, people should never
argue with me. Her last tweet to another friend, movie doesn`t start for
20 minutes. Tragically, she didn`t survive the shooting.
As people across the country woke up to the news, countless took to
twitter and Facebook to express their sadness. At gateway high school not
far from Aurora, they shared pictures of a prayer circle. By midday, 12
killed, 38 injured, and the youngest patient was only three months old.
Re-tweet for respect. Had been shared by thousands. Even after we learned
it was 59 and not 38 who`d been injured, but the three-month-old was the
Fortunately, he was released from the hospital this afternoon. The
POLITICS NATION community on Facebook has been sharing thoughts and prayers
on this story all day. For all who haven`t already, we encourage you to
come share yours on our Facebook page. And of course we promise to keep
you up to date on all the news.
SHARPTON: We`re back on POLITICS NATION with a look at the suspect in
the Colorado tragedy. James Eagan Holmes. We may never fully understand
about this heinous and horrific crime. But here`s what we do know about
the alleged shooter who killed 12 people and left another 59 injured.
Holmes is a 24-year-old who attended high school and college in Southern
California. He graduated in 2010.
He moved to Colorado last year to study neuroscience at the University
of Colorado, Denver where he was a Ph.D candidate. But the university
reports that last month Holmes dropped out of the program. Last night,
Holmes was arrested in the parking lot of the movie theater in Aurora just
moments after he shot and killed 12 people and injured another 50. Here`s
what we know about what happened in that theater.
Holmes decked out in a gas mask, riot helmet, and bulletproof vest
busted in through a back door and hurled canisters of an unknown gas into
the theater. Police say, he was armed with two pistols, one shot gun, and
one assault rifle at the scene. And then Holmes had wired his apartment
with booby-traps loaded with quote, "very sophisticated explosives and
flammable devices." It`s hard to imagine what would make someone commit
such unthinkable crime.
But were there any clues that James Holmes could be capable of this?
In a moment, we`ll talk to Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI profiler, now an
NBC News analyst and Jeff Gardere, a clinical psychologist, an NBC news
But first, joining me now on the phone is Anthony Mai. He lives in
the same neighborhood as Holmes` family in San Diego and has known the
suspect James Holmes all of his life. Anthony, what can you tell us about
James Holmes? Did you ever see any signs that he was capable of this?
ANTHONY MAI, FORMER NEIGHBOR HOLMES (on the phone): You know, when he
-- when I was around and when I see him, you know, he sound like a normal
guy, you know, living a normal life. You know, nothing big or anything. I
mean, he was a little bit quiet sometimes. I thought that was kind of
SHARPTON: So there was no sign. He was kind of normal, quiet guy
around the neighborhood?
MAI: Yes, basically.
SHARPTON: Did you ever notice or hear of any violence associated with
MAI: No. I`m just shocked that, you know, this actually happened.
Like, you know, I don`t think he would do this type of stuff.
SHARPTON: Was he a loner? Did he have friends? Did he hang out? Or
was he basically a loner?
MAI: I didn`t see him around that much, but you know, I think he had
a couple of friends. And stuff like that. But he just stayed at home.
SHARPTON: So he basically was a home guy. What kind of family in the
neighborhood were they family that everyone knew or kind of just a normal
family that didn`t have a lot of associations? What is the reputation of
his family in the neighborhood?
MAI: Well, his family is a really good family. You know, they`re
really good to us. You know, they bring us gifts, you know, every
Christmas and all. It`s just like our neighborhood in general. We kind of
do our own thing. So, we`re not really associated with everybody but we
still take care of everybody. Especially their family, they`re really good
SHARPTON: All right. Well, thank you, Anthony, for giving us your
insights. Thank you very much.
MAI: No problem.
SHARPTON: I`m sure it`s a traumatizing time for the neighbors there
of that family as well as for the family.
Let me go to Clint Van Zandt. Clint, you have been a profiler for the
FBI. What do you look for in cases like this? What should we be asking?
What should we be looking for to give clues as to what led this guy to this
kind of unthinkable behavior?
CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, you know, Al, I`ve heard
so many armchair quarterbacks today saying he`s a sociopath, he`s a
psychopath. You know, we try to put labels on people and then we try to
say, well, that`s the cause and then we want to say well, how can we heal
somebody then based upon that. Do I wish that, you know, your other guests
Jeff or somebody else would have had some time to sit down with this guy
within the last month or two and say, you know, you`re expressing some
anger, some frustrations, some rage.
Let me help you find some socially acceptable ways to work this out.
Sure. I wish that would have happened. But anybody who says they can 100
percent predicts violence or human behavior, I mean, I think they`re
kidding us, Al. And I think when this goes to trial if it ever does,
you`re going to see one psychologist or psychiatrist on the defense and one
of the prosecution and they`re probably going to have different opinions
because there`s different things that motivate people at different times in
their life. We`re just -- even though we look at human behavior as a bell
curve, we`re still not that predictable.
SHARPTON: Now, Jeff, we`ve been through Columbine, Virginia tech, any
number of tragedies, Congresswoman Giffords. But maybe he`s right. Maybe
we look for consistent patterns and maybe it`s not consistent. Maybe
someone has patterns that could be recognized growing up. Maybe some just
snapped. I mean, are we looking for the wrong things?
JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I think we`re trying to
look for everything. And Clint is correct. Everyone is different. And
that`s why when we talk about what the red flags happen to be. Were there
warning signs? Sure there were warning signs. But that`s not enough to
call the police and have someone put away. It`s a warning sign to get them
some mental health help. But there are things that we see.
There are patterns. A lot of these people tend to be isolated. Have
very poor social skills, maybe paranoid. Certainly are angry. And I think
that`s an understatement with someone who`s shot 71 people and 12 people
are dead. But I think what we`re seeing in this guy that may be a little
bit different is that he was a very smart individual. Working on a Ph.D in
neuroscience. So something was going wrong. I believe and I think Clint
might agree with this, it was a very slow decomposition.
This is a guy who has a lot of issues and as time went on, he just
didn`t have the right methods to be able to deal with those issues and that
rage and that anger just that was it for him. At some point he had to
express it. And he found the right vehicle by going with this Dark Knight
movie and that he even calls himself the joker. We call him the clown
prince of crime, someone who`s about killing machine, who`s about chaos and
that`s what we saw with this individual.
SHARPTON: Clint, how do you respond to that?
ZANDT: Well, number one, we`ve got a new high or in my case I believe
a new low. This is the most -- this is the largest number of people ever
killed or wounded by one person with a firearm ever in the United States.
You know, show at Virginia Tech had that dubious honor. Now we have
someone else in the record book, Al. And I`m afraid that that`s a new
record for those who sit on the edge of the abyss and think about getting
their name in the history book.
If you want to see how to act out in anger, frustration, and rage and
get the flags of this nation lowered to half mass in your honor, so to
speak, we have set yet one more terrible example. And realize, since
Columbine in 1999, there have been 27 mass shootings in this country.
Twenty seven different times people have acted out like Jeff is talking
about. And in this case they pick up a gun and they have a message. And
unfortunately, they write it in blood in the sense of history.
SHARPTON: Jeff, Holmes` mother was told that her son was of the
alleged shooter by another network this morning. Her response is quote,
"you have the right person." Holmes` mother said apparently speaking on a
gut instinct. I need to call the police. I need to fly out to Colorado.
What, if anything, could that mean?
GARDERE: And I think this is something that all the experts could
agree on, Reverend. The parents know their children. The parents no when
their children have issues with delusional thinking, the isolation, the
rage, the anger. The problem we run into is we that cannot get these kids
committed to get the proper mental health treatment. They won`t take
medication. So we see them decompensating. And it breaks our hearts as
parents but we know what`s going on. Some parents maybe in denial about
it. But his parents knew. They knew that this was him and this is what
was perhaps their biggest nightmare.
Clint Van Zandt and Jeff Gardere, thanks to both of you for your time.
GARDERE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: More on the tragedy in Colorado. We`ll hear from another
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: When I was on the floor, I was thinking was, Do I
lay him down. Do I play dead? If there`s more than one gunman, are they
going to walk up the stairs and shoot? Like Ethan`s crying and we`re
laying there and I`m like - well, I mean, he`s going to -- if Ethan`s
crying, he`s going to come shoot me and might shoot him.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: To know that not everybody made it out. It was
so scary and just so sad that something like this had to happen when
everybody there was just watching a movie. We just want to watch a movie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: When we got out of the building, it was just chaos.
You saw injured people. There was this one guy who was on all force
crawling. There was this girl spitting up blood. There were bullet holes
in some people`s backs, some people`s arms. There was this one guy who was
stripped down to just like his boxers. It looked like he had been like
shot, like, in the back or something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We`re back with our continuing coverage of the tragedy in a
movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. NBC News Channel`s Jay Gray is in
Aurora following this story. Jay?
JAY GRAY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Al. Yes, we`ve talked a lot
about the ongoing investigations here at the theater and then at the
apartment complex of this suspect.
I`m here with 23-year-old Corbin Dates. You were actually, you were
inside the theater at the time the massacre unfolded. First blush, what
did you and the folks there think was going on?
CORBIN DATES, EYEWITNESS TO SHOOTING: From -- when I first got there
before my friend, I thought it was going to be like a normal night like
every other night you see a movie.
DATES: I grabbed my seat and I noticed a guy came inside the theater
and sat right in front of me. And I was in the second, he was in the first
far right. I noticed he had a phone call. Most people when they get their
phone calls, they would take it in the lobby.
DATES: This person took his phone call to the back exit door. And
once he went out there, he put his foot down and tried to prop it open
about this much of a crack. When I could see it this much, it seemed like
he was trying to signal somebody to come -- will come towards this way to
get more. That`s what I saw.
GRAY: Sure. Sure.
DATES: So --
GRAY: As the gunman came in, you saw that happen.
GRAY: You kind of get back to the movie, I assume. And then as the
gunman came in, what was the initial thought?
DATES: Within 20 minutes, the gunman came in where everybody thought
it was a stunt. A promotional stunt for the movie because -- I guess, we
thought it was to enhance the feeling of the atmosphere. So, the guy comes
in wearing all black. About I want to say, the height of 5`8," 5`9," has
helmet, a gas mask, complete body army and weapons around his neck that I
couldn`t see because it was so dark.
Next thing I know he pulls out a canister and throws it into the
audience. And it went behind me into the audience behind. And I still
thought it was a stunt until the canister went off. And I could really
smell and feel the toxic gas that was coming out of that canister.
GRAY: And you had an up-close view of all this. You said, you were
in the second row.
DATES: That`s right.
GRAY: So you saw everything going on. Once the shots were fired, I
assume you hit the deck.
DATES: Yes. Once the canister went off, I`ve thought it was normal,
two seconds after that happened, then the shots went off. Immediately, I
and my best friend went to the ground and we tried to bear crawl our way
out of there while keeping calm.
GRAY: I`m sure that was a difficult task to keep calm when such --
going on inside. Describe a little bit about what was happening during
your escape, and what you heard and what you saw.
DATES: As I was down on the ground, I know, as I was bear crawling,
I could hear the shots that were going off. And I could also hear the
clips hitting -- not the clips but the barrels hitting the ground and
sliding upon the seats. And at occasional times, they would burn my leg
because they were so hot. The people ahead of me were freaking out. And I
was trying to get them calm so that we could draw less attention to us.
Meanwhile, I`m hearing all these noise in the background of random gun
fires and a lot of people screaming for their life really trying to get
GRAY: It`s not been 24 hours. It`s obviously been a long and
harrowing experience for you. What are your emotions right now? Are you
angry yet? Are you scared still?
DATES: Right now my emotions are completely numb. And -- the
feeling of what happened or what took place. It`s just, it`s not
completely fully processing, fully up to par right now.
GRAY: Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us, Corbin.
We appreciate it. And that same numb feeling, a lot of people here are
going to go through for quite some time. Al, back to you.
SHARPTON: Jay Gray and Corbin Dates, thanks for your time tonight.
It is just totally, totally an experience that I think this nation is going
to have to begin to deal with. How we take these tragedies and not just
say nice words and go on until another tragedy happens. We`ll talk about
SHARPTON: For those who lost loved ones, today`s shooting is an
unimaginable tragedy. It`s also a recurring nightmare for this nation. A
mass killing like those we`ve seen too many before. In 1999 it was
Columbine. Two high school students shot and killed 12 of their
classmates, a teacher, and themselves. And wounded 26 others. After that
massacre, President Clinton searched for answers, offered consolation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We do know that we must do more
to reach out to our children and teach them to express their anger and to
resolve their conflicts with words, not weapons. To the people of the
community of Littleton, I can only say tonight that the prayers of the
American people are with you.
America`s prayers were with the people of Littleton just as they were
with the Virginia Tech community in 2007. When a mentally disturbed
student opened fire killing 32 people and then himself. It was the
deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Today our nation grieves with
those who have lost loved ones at Virginia Tech. We hold the victims in
our hearts. We lift them up in our prayers. And we ask a loving God to
comfort those who are suffering today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Our nation grieved again last year when the shooting in
Tucson, Arizona, left six people dead and 14 others wounded including
Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. President Obama vowed to stand by those
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I have come here tonight as an
American who like all Americans kneels to pray with you today and will
stand by you tomorrow. If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate as it
should, let`s make sure it`s worthy of those we have lost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: These are not isolated or rare incidents. They`re all too
common. All too familiar. For decades this country has averaged about 20
mass killings per year. According to the FBI, the number of annual gun
homicides since 2002 has stayed about the same. About 10,000. Ten
thousand. Today 12 people died in a shooting in Aurora, 59 more were
And we are forced to ask why does this keep happening? Does this
nation not have the will to stop this cycle? Will we just go for a few
days of words and go back until the next tragedy? Even if we don`t have
the right solutions, we must start asking the right questions.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. God bless the families all of
those that lost their loved ones or was wounded. Let us pray for all of
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