Obama joins Coloradans in mourning | News | DW | 23.07.2012
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Obama joins Coloradans in mourning

At the end of a brief trip to Aurora to visit with people affected by Friday's cinema shooting, US President Barack Obama delivered a speech outside a hospital where some of the wounded are still being treated.

He said he had come to Colorado not as president, "but as a father and a husband."

James Holmes is in custody after being arrested outside the movie theater where police say he opened fire in the middle of a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 people and wounding 58.

Obama said he had the chance to "shed some tears, but also share some laughs" with families that had lost a loved one in the shooting.

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US mourns Colorado shooting victims

He said "all of America and much of the world was thinking about them," and added that the shooting suspect Holmes would be subject to "the full force of our justice system."

In addition to meeting with victims' families, Obama met with some of the survivors of the shooting and shared one particular story of courage and heroism. Allie Young, 19, was seeing the movie with her friend Stephanie Davies, 21, when Holmes entered and threw gas canisters, filling the theater with smoke.

"When the gunman initially came in and threw the canisters, he threw them only a few feet away from Allie and Stephanie who were sitting there watching the film," Obama said. "Allie stood up seeing that she might need to do something or at least warn the other people who were there ... and she was shot in the neck and it punctured a vein and immediately she started squirting blood."

Obama said that Davies then pulled her friend from the aisle of the theater and applied pressure to the wound. With her free hand, she called the police, all while the gunman was still shooting. When police had arrived, Davies helped Young get to an ambulance. Young is expected to make a full recovery, Obama said.

After Obama's speech, thousands of people gathered at a public vigil for the victims outside of Aurora City Hall, which is just a few blocks away from the theater where the shooting took place.

"While our hearts are broken, our community is not," Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan told the crowd.

Police, fire department officials, and emergency medical responders received loud ovations at the vigil for their work during and after the attack. Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said officers had Holmes in custody 90 seconds after the first emergency call was made, and police coordinated with the fire department and federal agents to defuse explosive booby traps left at Holmes' apartment.

mz/av (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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