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'So Relieved': Survivors, Loved Ones Welcome James Holmes Convictions

The dominant reaction was relief after a Colorado judge read out 165 guilty verdicts Thursday against Aurora theater gunman James Holmes.

Survivors of the 2012 massacre at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater — and relatives of the 12 people who died that day — cried, shook hands and hugged after James Holmes was convicted of 24 counts of first-degree murder Thursday.

But the dominant reaction was simple relief.

Emotion swept the courtroom as Arapahoe County Chief District Judge Carlos Samour slowly read the 165 verdicts one by one — all of them "guilty."

Related: Aurora Theater Trial: James Holmes Found Guilty of Murder

Tom Teves — whose son, Alex, was one of those killed July 20, 2012, during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" at the Century 16 multiplex — low-fived a sheriff's deputy.

Sandy Phillips, the mother of another victim, Jessica Ghawi, said quietly to other families: "We got him."

The lead prosecutor, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, simply held his head in his hands, seeming completely drained.

An emotional Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, the lead prosecutor, center, puts his head in his hands Thursday as the first verdict of guilty to first-degree murder against James Holmes, far left, is read by Arapahoe County, Colorado, Chief District Judge Carlos Samour, top right.AP

Only Holmes himself showed no emotion, staring straight ahead, his hands in his pockets.

Yousef Gharbi, who was shot in the head that day, said that after he heard the verdicts, he "gasped for air."

"That's what I wanted to hear, but I didn't know if that's what I was going to hear," Gharbi told reporters outside the courthouse in Centennial.

Jansen Young, whose boyfriend, Jonathon Blunk, was killed protecting her from Holmes' bullets, said she didn't know how she was going to feel when she showed up at the courthouse, "but I feel just so relieved now. It's a weight lifted off my shoulders."

Young told NBC News that she was looking for Holmes' parents so she could hug them.

"They lost a son, too," she said.