ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. —The preliminary hearing for James Holmes has begun in Colorado—expected to last a week– and overflow lines extended out of the building.
It will certainly be a week that brings graphic new details to the public, about the Aurora theater tragedy.
The first to take the stand Monday were a pair of Aurora police officers who were the first to encounter the bloody massacre and the suspected gunman Holmes.
Affiliate KDVR in Colorado reports that officers Jayson Oviate and Aaron Blue said when they arrived on the scene of a reported shooting at the Century 16 theater on July 20, they encountered a sea of emotion as crowds fled the out the front of a theater where a gunman had opened fire.
Oviate described encountering, in the back of the theater, what he first thought was a police officer. He soon realized it was an emotionless man who was later identified as James Holmes.
“He was wearing body armor head to toe,” Oviate testified. “He was very relaxed, and it was like there weren’t normal emotional reactions of anything.
“He seemed very detached from it all,” Oviate said.
Blue described his own experience at the movie theater as anything but detached. After realizing that calling an ambulance to the scene would be incredibly difficult in the midst of chaos, Blue began the emotional task of trying to aid victims himself.
Proceeding inside the theater, Blue described almost slipping on a trail of blood leading out of theater nine, where the attack had occurred, finding a young girl hiding behind a dumpster and caring for Jessica Ghawi, one of the 12 who died in the attack.
“I was holding her head,” Blue said of Ghawi. “Every time she moved she stopped breathing.”
Blue said he made four trips to the hospital, including one in which he was transporting Ashley Moser, a wounded pregnant mother who would eventually miscarry and become paralyzed as a result of her wounds.
Crying while trying to compose himself, Blue said there was a man with a head wound in the car who said he was Moser’s. Blue said the man was yelling that he had to go back for his 7-year-old daughter, a girl who was later identified as Veronica Moser-Sullivan, the youngest of those slain in the attack.
Blue said the man kept trying to open the door of his squad car and jump out to return to the scene and look for the child.
Justin Grizzle was also among the officers who ferried victims to the hospital.
“There was so much blood I could hear it sloshing around in the back of my car,” Grizzle testified.
One of the six victims transported to nearby hospitals by Grizzle was Caleb Medely, a stand-up comedian who fell into critical condition after being shot in the head. Grizzle described hearing a “god-awful” gurgling sound Medley mad while trying to breath.
“I shouted, ‘Don’t f*cking die on me,” Grizzle said.
Medley, whose wife gave birth to a baby boy several days after the shooting, is the last victim who remains hospitalized. He is scheduled to be released from the hospital on Jan. 23, but he is still unable to speak and has difficulty standing on his own.
To read more about the officers’ description of Holmes and the tense moments of trying to safely enter the bobby-trapped apartment, click here: http://kdvr.com/2013/01/07/officers-holmes-was-strip-searched-we-took-dying-victims-to-hospital/
For full KDVR coverage on the shooting, click here.