4 killed in home near earlier Colorado movie-theater shooting
News of the Aurora, Colo., shootings Saturday revived memories of the attack in which a gunman killed 12 people and injured at least 70 at a movie theater in July.
The New York Times
Four people, including a gunman who was suspected of taking hostages inside a house in Aurora, Colo., died Saturday after a standoff with the police, authorities said.
The episode began about 3 a.m. when shots were heard on East Ithaca Place, about 16 miles southeast of downtown Denver, said Sgt. Cassidee Carlson, a spokeswoman for the Aurora Police Department.
A woman who had escaped from the house told officers that shots had been fired and “that she observed three people inside the home who appeared lifeless as she was leaving,” according to a statement released by the police Saturday afternoon.
About 50 officers, including members of a SWAT unit and hostage negotiators, were called, Carlson said. When attempts to talk to the man by telephone and over a bullhorn were unsuccessful, the police statement said, officers moved in about 8 a.m. using an armored vehicle, which was fired upon.
The police were unable to force the gunman out of the house using gas, Carlson said, and about an hour later, officers shot him to death after he appeared in a second-floor window, she said.
Inside, the police said they also found the bodies of a woman and two other men. Carlson did not identify the victims or the gunman, and said investigators did not know what set off the episode.
In July, 12 people were killed and 58 wounded in a shooting at an Aurora movie theater during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” The gunman, wearing what the police described as ballistic gear, used an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and a handgun in the shooting, the police said.
James Holmes, 24, was arrested outside the theater and has been charged in the killings.
Prosecutors are scheduled to present their case against Holmes at a preliminary hearing on Monday that is expected to be attended by many of the survivors and family members of those who died.
Bob Broom, a member of the Aurora City Council, said memories of the movie-theater shootings were still fresh but that life in the city had begun to resume its normal rhythms.
“When the theater shooting first happened, there was incredible grief,” said Broom, who said he lives in the subdivision where the shooting Saturday took place. “But time heals. And it has healed in this situation.”
Barb Helzer, an owner of the Rock Restaurant and Bar, said she tensed up when she heard of the shooting Saturday.
“My whole staff, even the young staff, who normally don’t pay attention, we all said, ‘Oh my God, there’s been another shooting,’ ” she said.
Helzer said she has friends whose Aurora businesses have struggled since the summer. Others will not go to the movies.
“It is all still a recent reality here. We’re still nervous,” Helzer said. “You find yourself looking at people differently. We’re careful when we ask people to leave the bar. You don’t take things for granted anymore.”
Aurora, just east of Denver, is one of Colorado’s largest and most diverse cities with more than 335,000 residents. It is home to Buckley Air Force Base as well as the sprawling University of Colorado Health Sciences Center campus, where James Holmes studied neuroscience before the movie-theater shootings.
Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.