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tv   Dateline NBC  NBC  July 20, 2012 9:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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- that's nice... i guess. i thought it was a part of the movie. i heard a lot of people screaming. >> it was pure chaos. the guy was just shooting and it was the most terrifying thing i've ever seen. >> our suspect's name is james eagan holmes. within roughly one minute to a minute and a half, police officers apprehended mr. holmes in the back of the theater. we are confident that he ancted alone. >> such evil is senseless. it is beyond reason. >> it is an absolute horror for all of those people who were in those theaters, and their families. our hearts go out to them. >> a dark night that will never be forgotten, and the search for
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answers to the tragedy in colorado. good evening. i'm ann curry here in aurora, colorado. a community reeling from that deadly shooting overnight in the theater just behind me. here are the latest numbers from police. 12 people were killed. 59 people were wounded. some of them remain in critical condition at this hour. we begin tonight with the very latest. tonight, it is not just aurora, colorado, in stunned disbelief, it is an entire nation. nearly 18 1/2 hours after the deadly rampage at this multiplex in suburban denver, police here are still trying to make some sense of a senseless act of violence. the alleged gunman is in custody. he's been identified as 24-year-old james eagan holmes. he lived in this apartment building and tonight police are still searching there for explosives. aurora police chief daniel oates. >> and our investigation determined that his apartment is
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booby trapped with various incendiary devices and apparent trip wires. >> reporter: until recently, james holmes attended graduate school at the university of colorado denver where he was studying psychiatric and neurological disorders. he spent his high school years in a well to do neighborhood of san diego, where neighbors said he was quiet and kept to himself. from 2006 to 2010, holmes attended the university of california riverside, chancellor timothy white says holmes graduated with the highest honors with a degree in neuroscience. >> he had a merit-based scholarship while he was here. and then he moved on to colorado for graduate work. >> reporter: so far, police are not releasing anything about a motive. but they say it seems holmes acted alone. >> however, we will do a thorough investigation to be absolutely sure that is the case. but at this time we are confident that he acted alone. >> reporter: almost no information has been released about the identities of the victims who died. but a family member says one of
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those killed was a young sports journalist, jessica ghawi, known professionally as jessica redfield. >> get out of the mall, please. >> reporter: and amazingly, just last month she narrowly escaped a shooting at a toronto canada shopping mall in which two people were killed and several wounded. at the time, on her blog, she had written, who would go into a mall full of thousands of innocent people and open fire? is this really the world we live in? and late last night, a midnight movie nightmare. federal law enforcement sources told "dateline" this evening that holmes had bought a ticket at the theater, he sat down, federal sources said, then opened an exit door and kept it propped open. then they say he went to his car to retrieve his weapons. about 15 minutes after the film started, police say smoke bombs went off. james holmes, police say, was dressed for battle. >> he was wearing a ballistic
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helmet, a tactical ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, a throat protector and a groin protector and a gas mask. and black tactical gloves. >> reporter: he was armed with three guns. he left another in his car. and then opened fire. the 911 dispatch calls are chilling. >> we need rescue inside the auditorium, multiple victims. >> somebody down in theater nine. somebody down. >> i got a child victim. i need rescue at the back door theater nine now. >> reporter: among the panicked moviegoers was this couple holding their 4-month-old baby boy ethan. >> when i ducked his head, like, fell back because of the way i was holding it into the crack in the seats between -- in front of us and i got stuck and he was crying and i was, like, his head is exposed. he's going to get shot. i can't stand up because people were standing up getting shot. >> reporter: we have much more to report to you tonight and we'll have complete coverage of the shooting and the ongoing
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investigation in our second hour tonight. but first, now, a very different kind of investigation. >> i don't go under cover every day. that's what made me nervous. >> they had a secret plan. >> were you armed? >> yes. >> and you were wearing a wire? >> yes, to solve a baffling case, a college student on a friday night out who vanished. >> she was a very shy girl, but she was something special. >> the possible suspects, just about everyone. the friend, the boyfriend, the mysterious older man, even her mom. >> i was shocked that he even suspected me. >> so why were police at a dead end? enter this guy. >> he sees things other cops don't see? >> phenomenal. >> they call him the evidence whisperer. he's about to crack this case before your eyes. >> the answer was in the details. >> it was right there. >> and you won't believe how.
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>> you walk out of there thinking, i spooked him, it worked. >> i hoped. i wasn't quite sure. >> the night lindsay disappeared. thanks for joining us. i'm lester holt. it stumped police for years, the case of a young college student who had gone missing. but they finally get their big break from a very small thing. take a look at this photo. there is a key clue here, a single detail spotted by an eagle eye detective. and that's what helped him turn this nine-year mystery in a slam dunk case. watch now and see exactly how he did it. here is josh mankiewicz. >> reporter: sometimes the tracks are as clear as the sky, but other times you need to know where to look to see the truth. this man has made a career of noticing what others do not.
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what is his reputation? >> meticulous investigator. just pours over the volumes of evidence and finds things that other investigators do not find. >> reporter: the evidence whisperer. >> correct. >> that night i went out dancing. >> reporter: does this man act guilty? does he know more than he's saying? >> i didn't know anything was going on. all right. i just heard lynsie. >> reporter: what about this man? can you believe the story he's telling? >> i was supposed to pick her up twice, she was so out of character, she didn't show up on either day. >> reporter: the evidence whisperer wasn't at either of those interviews. but watching them helped him solve the mystery of what happened to a vivacious young woman, and bring answers to the mother who loved her. >> i was always proud of her. she was a real fighter. >> reporter: lynsie arrived on july 2nd, 1980, the youngest of three. maybe that fighting spirit isn't visible in her photos, but her
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mother nancy says it was always there. she had a passion for animals. she helped out in her spare time at a local shelter. kim davidson, who worked at lynsie's middle school remembers she also had a sense of compassion. >> it was freezing cold and i didn't bring a jacket that day. and i held little hands up on my shoulder and a sweater come up around me and i turn around and it was lynsie. and she said, i can't stand watching you shiver and she wrapped me up in her sweater. she just melted me. >> reporter: she gave back in other ways. me her mother says she would lie about her age so she could give blood. remarkable in itself because lynsie struggled with her own disabili disabilities. her left arm was paralyzed, her left leg impaired. did she talk about how she became disabled? >> she brought it up to me and said she was in a car accident and was thrown when she was a little girl. but very matter of fact, not
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poor me or not anything like that. >> reporter: but growing up, she needed so much care. her mother nancy was with lynsie like her shadow. >> somebody had to be with her 24 hours a day. >> reporter: that was you? >> yes. it was her and i alone. she was my only purpose. in my life, it was to make her as normal as she could be. >> reporter: by the time kim met lynsie, her dad and brothers moved away. kim remembers a tight family unit of just two. how close were they? >> unbelievably, extremely. >> reporter: but as lynsie reached adolescence, that started changing. like a lot of teens, she wanted her own identity. she changed the spelling of her name from this to this. by high school, there were girlfriends, even some boyfriends. and by the time she was 20, after so many years of mom and daughter being each other's best
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friends and confidants, lynsie began to keep some things in her life to herself, like where she was really headed. one night in february, 2001. does it make any sense she would lie to you about what she was going to do to you that night? >> i have never known her to lie to me. but you don't know what you don't know. >> reporter: it was a friday night, lynsie was in college part time and working, but still living at home. she told her mom that instead of their usual friday night dinner, she was staying the night with a girlfriend named andrea, someone nancy had never met. and then a young man named chris came to the door to pick lynsie up. >> the last thing i said to her was remember your seat belt and she looked over her shoulder and said, back at you, mom, love you. that's the last thing she said to me. >> reporter: nancy locked up the house and went to bed. the next day lynsie was supposed to call after she was done tutoring two girls from the neighborhood. when the call never came, nancy
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drove over and found out lynsie ne never showed up at her job. >> all of a sudden my daughter is not where she's supposed to be. she taught these little girls for four months about. >> reporter: and you have no way of reaching her. >> i have no way. >> reporter: nancy was frantic. >> i started calling hospitals. i called the morgue. that's how you desperate i was, to see if there was a jane doe in the morgue. >> reporter: there was no jane doe. and there was no lynsie eklund. most people that disappear like that, they come back within a couple of days. >> if not 24 hours, yes. >> reporter: is that what you thought was going to happen? >> i think we did. >> reporter: colleen lomis is a detective with the police department. you had no unidentified bodies. >> we had no unidentified bodies. >> reporter: you checked the er. >> we checked everybody. we checked everything. there was no sign. it was just as if she had vanished. >> when we come back, lynsie had
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a secret she kept from just about everyone. >> when is the last time you saw lynsie. >> a week ago. >> no. i don't think so. >> when the night lynsie disappeared continues. ♪ ♪ [ female announcer ] for everything your face has to face. face it with puffs facial tissues. unlike the leading regular tissue, puffs has soft, air-fluffed pillows for 40% more cushiony thickness. so you can always put your best face forward.
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her daughter was missing. nancy ekelund began handing out flyers and counting the days without lynsie. ticking them off on little post-it notes. the pd brought in the usual suspects, like the boyfriend. >> when you guys were dating, she hasn't been dating anyone else to your knowledge. >> no. >> reporter: his name is matthew ramirez. he was at college with lynsie. then in came the last person known to have seen her, chris mcames, 21 years old, out of school. he told the cops he was unemployed.
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lynsie met him through friends about four months prior and it turned out he never drove lynsie to andrea's house for a sleepover. chris said that was a lie lynsie made up for her mother. the real plan was to go clubbing all night in san diego. >> don't tell my mom we're going to san diego because my mom won't let us go. she won't let me go. something like that. and definitely don't tell her that we're clubbing. >> reporter: chris told police when their night of clubbing went bust, they went home earlier than expected. he dropped off the other girls, he said, and headed to lynsie's house. chris said it was after 4:00 a.m. when he finally got back here to lynsie's neighborhood. and he said that lynsie was worried her mom might hear his truck pull up at that hour. so chris said lynsie asked to be dropped off not at her house, but here at the corner, 50 yards away. that sounded strange to police, until they heard from lynsie's friend, that at other times she had asked to be dropped off
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right here. chris said he then drove home and police even found a photo from a bank atm of what looked like chris' truck heading north on the right street, at the right time. to the cops, chris' story added up. and that was when police learned matthew and chris were not the only men in lynsie's life. there was someone else who both matthew and chris had mentioned to investigators, an older man who drove lynsie around. no one knew his name. they had heard lynsie refer to him as her friend. >> everybody knows him by her friend. >> reporter: nancy had no idea lynsie was friends with any older man. she was about to find out. two days after lynsie vanishes, you get a phone call. >> yes. >> reporter: you're pretty much at your wit's end at this point. >> yes. >> reporter: the phone rings and it is a guy named marty.
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did you know marty? >> no. >> reporter: as far as you know, did lynsie know marty? >> no. >> reporter: marty told nancy he had gone to pick up lynsie at school but she wasn't there. he said he had money of lynsie's she needed for tuition. none of that made any sense to nancy. after lynsie goes missing, nancy, her mother gets a phone call, from a guy named marty. >> marty rossler. >> reporter: and what does marty say to her? >> marty says he befriended lynsie, he's a friend of lynsie's and he's concerned because he hadn't heard from her. >> reporter: what did you learn about marty rossler? >> marty rossler was not marty rossler. >> reporter: marty rossler was really marty pregenzer. he did not have a criminal record. what he did have was a relationship with lynsie he hadn't told his wife about. he told police he often picked lynsie up and give her rides, but that was about it. marty was 58. and she was 20? >> she was 20. >> reporter: they were boyfriend and girlfriend?
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>> don't think so. >> reporter: so police brought in marty. over two days they recorded those interviews. at times on video and sometimes just on audiotape. >> when is the last time you saw lynsie? >> a week ago. >> no. i don't think so. >> absolutely. >> no. absolutely not. >> marty said he had last seen lynsie the day that she went to san diego on that friday. >> reporter: did you believe him? >> we really didn't believe him. >> reporter: they didn't believe him because of a tip they received, a clerk at a local clothing store had called to say she had seen lynsie and a much older man who matched marty's description, together, at her store, after the day lynsie went missing. >> i had been in that store, all right. and i said, i'm like you, i'm easily identified, okay.
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probably every place i been would know i was in there with her. okay. >> it was a very long, very long interview y interview. >> reporter: friendly? >> no, no. >> either by accident? >> never touched her. never touched her. >> okay. >> did you put her some place where she's left? >> no, no. >> reporter: police searched marty's home and found nothing. no proof that marty had anything to do with lynsie's disappearance, so they moved on to a new suspect, someone closer to lynsie than anyone else on earth. coming up -- >> i was shocked that they even suspected me. >> lynsie's own mother, were investigators ruling her out or roping her in? >> i don't know what this is all about. ♪ send a note
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nancy and lynsie had been together all lynsie's life. now alone, nancy waited, ticking off the days. daughter was and about the pace of the investigation. police were not keeping her in the loop.
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to visit. you look at the boyfriend, matthew, you look at marty, the older guy, the relationship nobody knew about, he denies it. >> right. >> reporter: you look at chris. he says i dropped her off, never saw her again. >> right. >> reporter: and you look at lynsie's mother. >> we did look at lynsie's mother. you have to. >> so i made my cookies and all this kind of silly stuff, i thought -- >> reporter: coffee. >> yeah. >> reporter: the cops weren't coming for coffee. they arrived with a search warrant, shovels, and cadaver dogs. >> i was shocked that they even suspected me. i didn't know what even a search warrant was. >> reporter: the house nancy and lynsie once shared was torn apart. >> i don't know that nancy was on the radar for a long time. she was on the radar long enough to be able to set her aside. >> reporter: after that search, they did just that.
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they believed this anguished mother had nothing to do with the disappearance of her daughter. so they took nancy off the list. they also took off the boyfriend, matthew. he had an alibi that held up, putting him somewhere else at the time lynsie went missing. so that left just two. >> i haven't seen her since that day. >> reporter: marty who police didn't trust because of his secret relationship with lynsie, and because he had lied about his identity. and the man who dropped lynsie off at that corner, the last person to see her before she vanished. chris mcamis. >> grab a seat at the end. >> reporter: april 2002, more than a year after lynsie went missing, detectives decided to start over. they brought chris mcamis back to see if his story still held up. >> i would like to think lynsie has been, like, either abducted
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or something happened to her. >> like what? >> i would really rather think that she was somewhere else. >> reporter: police turned up the heat. >> i'd like to think, and all things in a perfect world, she would be some place. >> it is a possibility she's dead. >> what? >> reporter: his lack of emotion was suggestive that perhaps chris should move to the top of the list. but it was not evidence. after the interview, chris mcamis was free to leave. and detectives weren't any closer to learning what happened to lynsie ekelund. >> you thought that one day she would walk back through the door. >> yes. >> reporter: she believed it because she wanted to. and because over the years, several people had told her they had seen lynsie. >> they never saw the front of her face. they always saw the back of her.
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and i held on to every word they said. >> we worked this case diligently for a long time. at some point, you hit the wall. >> reporter: there are nine detectives in placentia, working everything, drugs, gangs, rapes, murder, and cold cases. but 2008 it was clear placentia pd had hit that wall. they would need help on this one. and who they needed was a guy named larry. tell me about larry. >> larry is -- larry is phenomenal. >> reporter: phenomenal because, what, he sees things other cops don't see? >> phenomenal because he sees things cops don't see. i don't know anybody who could have done a better job than larry. >> reporter: the evidence whis er perrer was about to listen to the facts of this case were really saying. >> when we come back, was there something that police had missed? you bet. that picture of the truck spotted on the night of the
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like a hundred times. [ male announcer ] why limit your iphone? switch to sprint. the only network with truly unlimited data for your iphone. ann curry again in colorado. the aurora police chief just held a news conference. we got some updates on last night's massacre at the midnight showing of the new batman movie. the death toll still stands at 12. the police revised the number of wounded to 58. some of them still remain in critical condition at this hour. the alleged gunman, 24-year-olds james holmes, is reportedly still not cooperating with
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investigators. but the police chief has told us more about what they discovered in his booby trapped apartment. >> i personally have never seen anything like what the pictures show us is in there. i'm a layman when it comes to bomb stuff, i see a lot of wires, trip wires, jars full of ammunition, jars full of liquid, some things that look like mortar rounds. we have a lot of challenges to get in there safely. >> coming up, we're going to have complete coverage. dennis murphy has a minute by minute account of the tragedy as it unfolded throughout this day and into -- throughout the night and into the day. also keith morrison has dramatic stories from survivors. kate snow reports on the life and death of one of the victims. and i'll have an interview with the young couple that escaped with their lives and their two young children. for now, however, let's go back to the story of the night lynsie
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disappeared. >> reporter: by 2008, lynsie ekelund had been missing for seven years. the case had gone from cold to frozen in time. so placentia pd decided to outsource the investigation to the cold case unit at the orange county d.a.'s office. to a guy named larry montgomery. with more than 30 years working homicide, larry put away his share of bad guys. not usually by knocking on doors. instead, larry works by looking very closely at the evidence. he doesn't work fast. in fact, larry is meticulously slow. and that was just what this cold case needed. was there anything in the original investigation that struck you as something that you needed to re-examine? >> everything. >> reporter: everything that had led placentia police into that
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wall, trying to decide between two suspects. >> i mean, i'm concerned about this girl, okay. you know. and she's missing. >> reporter: marty, lynsie's older friend who kept their relationship a secret, and lied about his name. and chris. >> in my heart, it seems like she -- >> reporter: the last person known to have seen lynsie when he dropped her off at that corner. at this point any idea on your part which of those two was the more likely suspect? >> no, i don't know until i get into it and see the details. >> reporter: you're no doubt aware you have a reputation for believing that, i don't know, god is in the detail, but guilt is in the details. >> and innocence. >> reporter: guilty or innocent. was it marty or chris? larry even considered another possibility. could it have been random? someone who had seen lynsie at just the wrong time. >> so you got a bad guy just waiting, hoping that the girl drops out of a car at 4:25 in the morning. >> reporter: it happened. >> yeah.
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and you consider that but then weigh it and go, it doesn't -- is this a good possibility? probably not but keep an open mind. >> reporter: so larry sat down and read through the entire case file, all the witness statements, all the interviews. he did that for two years. >> we're down this road again. >> reporter: he watched the february 2001 interview that police did with a very unhappy marty. doesn't it strike you as tremendously suspicious that marty would call after lynsie disappears, talk to lynsie's mother, and give a phony name? >> if you didn't know the background of marty, absolutely. >> when i talked to the mother on the phone, i just gave her an identifier. okay. i mean, marty rossler, that's what i said. >> which is a lie. >> which is a lie. >> reporter: watching that interview, larry chalked up marty's dishonesty as an attempt to save his marriage.
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>> i don't want my wife to be brought into this thing. >> reporter: larry also took a closer look at the idea that marty and lynsie were together at that clothing store after she went missing. no one ever found any security video of that and larry learned over the years that well meaning people often get dates wrong. and larry learned a key fact. marty had actually participated in those early searches for lynsie. you eliminated marty fairly quickly then? >> yes. >> reporter: marty's behavior matched up with that of an innocent person not a guilty one. >> he's doing what you would do if you were looking for lynsie. he was searching. >> reporter: so larry montgomery turned his attention to chris mcamis. guilty or innocent? chris was the last person known to be with lynsie. he told police he drove straight
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home after dropping lynsie off. and police found that photo of what looked like his truck heading north away from lynsie's neighborhood, which took him past this atm camera. the video from the atm camera, police at the time saw that as not iron clad proof that chris was telling the truth, but suggestive that what he said he actually did. >> correct. >> reporter: but when larry compared photos of chris' truck with the photos from the bank, he saw something no one else had noticed. the paint on the back of the side view mirror on chris' truck was white. what about the truck in the photo? >> the truck in the photo had a dark spot in that area, which means whatever mirrors were there, if mirrors were there, they were black. >> that's right, it is not. >> reporter: suddenly chris' alibi had a big hole in it. larry moved on to chris' history with women. two ex-girlfriends talked to
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police about how chris would become unhinged by rejection, or what he called disrespect. larry heard about how chris had once crushed a pet crab with a hammer right in front of one of his girlfriends because he thought the crab had killed one of his fish. this is a guy with significant anger issues. >> certainly appears that way. >> reporter: larrys and caught m talking some of the time talking about lynsie in the past tense. then larry found something in the paperwork from placentia pd that proved chris mcamis had about his whereabouts on saturday, february 17th. the day lynsie didn't come home. chris had told the cops he stayed close to home. but larry checked chris' credit card statements. >> there was one entry on
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february 17th, and it turns out it was santa clarita, 50 miles north of where chris lived. >> reporter: why would chris be in santa clarita? >> well, that's what i wanted to know. >> reporter: digging through the reports, larry found information about chris' dad, that he was in construction, and that in 2000 and 2001, he had a job site in santa clarita. you can't tell now, but back in 2001, this was a major construction site. now, chris had told police he did not work for his dad that winter, but he was on unemployment. but larry saw some big cash deposits going into chris' bank account in addition to his unemployment checks. so he thought that chris might have been working for his dad off the books. and larry came up here to ask around. they told you it was chris' father's construction company. >> chris' father did some of the tractor work at that site. >> reporter: and chris worked there. >> and chris was one of the
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tractor drivers that the superintendent said was there every day. >> reporter: is this where you thought to yourself, that's where lynsie ekelund is? >> i thought chances are excellent that if i kill eed lynsie, i was in chris mcamis' situation and had use of a tractor out in the middle of nowhere, i might use that tractor to dig a hole to put her in. >> reporter: now all the evidence whisperer had to do was prove it. >> coming up, an undercover operation. >> were you armed? >> yes. >> and you were wearing a wire? >> yes. >> could she help them get the proof they would need? >> the color in his face went white. ♪ finally, you gotta bring the heat...
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it was october of 2010, nine years after her daughter disappeared, nancy ekelund was still waiting and doing what she could. she was now at 3,535 days without lynsie. she didn't know it, but a few miles away, larry montgomery was tightening the noose around chris mcamis. larry had proceeded a motorcycle cop from a nearby town to go undercover. >> they needed a police officer that looked like a college
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student and didn't have the mannerisms of a police officer. >> reporter: officer spring sandeli fill the bill. how you were you dressed? >> something a college student would wear and something that would appeal to a guy. >> reporter: were you armed? >> yes. >> reporter: and you were wearing a wire? >> yes. hi. are you chris? >> yes. >> hi, my name is nicole anderson. i'm from the magazine. >> reporter: officer was sandeli was posing a student reporter, complete with a press pass. she knocked on chris' front door. chris talked to a student reporter from lynsie's college in the past about the case. you use your real name? >> i used a fake name. told him who i was. >> we received word at torch magazine that remains had been found that they believe belonged to lynsie. so i guess they're doing dna testing right now. and in the meantime, i'm
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supposed to contact friends, family, to get their initial reaction for a story. >> okay. >> when i told him the police believe they found lynsie's remains, his demeanor changed. >> reporter: how you? >> quite drastically. i could see his color in his face went white. >> reporter: the police had not found lynsie's remains. that was a lie. police do it all the time and it is legal. in fact, larry hadn't tried to find lynsie at the construction location where chris had worked. and he had gotten some interest from cadaver dogs. but nothing more. just down the street from chris' house, detective bryce angel of placentia pd who had been assigned to work with larry was listening and keeping an eye on the action. so you're watching him while this interview happens on the front doorstep. >> i was sitting, you know, ten houses down, watching the reporter, the undercover police officer. once she left the area, we were in business. >> reporter: what happened? >> later that night, he was seen
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coming out of his house and going into the garage, lights go on. we're talking like 3:00 in the morning. it was clearly a sign of somebody who couldn't sleep. >> reporter: detectives were sure they had rattled their suspect. the next day they trailed chris when he left his house. >> at some point it became apparent he knew we were following him. >> reporter: they broke off surveillance. and brought chris in. >> chris, have a seat. >> reporter: larry had read all about chris mcamis. he looked at tape of every time chris had been in for an interview. >> here is what the situation is -- >> reporter: today, he and chris were going to meet for the first time. >> i have been investigating the case for about two years now and -- >> reporter: larry had a plan to get chris to talk, without asking for a lawyer. >> you probably want to know what's going on, what's happening, why you're sitting here. >> reporter: larry promised to fill him in on the case in detail, thinking chris would want to know if the cops had the goods and then maybe he would
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have something to say. >> i do have to advise you of your rights which i will do in a moment. after that, i would like to do, i would like to explain to you everything. >> reporter: larry read chris' rights and before chris could really respond, larry laid out his case. he said he knew chris had never dropped lynsie off that night. because the atm photo that at first fooled investigators actually proved chris wasn't there. >> it wasn't your truck. for years it was thought that it was your truck. it is not. matter of fact, your truck did not go by that night. it wasn't there. >> reporter: he told chris about the credit card statement and how he found someone who remembered chris working on the job site. >> all of a sudden, big red flags. you are working. you are up there when you said you were not. and he said you don't work on saturday. and you disappeared on a saturday morning. none of your credit card usage
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up there is on any weekends, all on week days except for the day lynsie disappeared. so you're not there working that day. >> reporter: he told chris about the lie about lynsie being found. >> we had the dna checked against the body and it is lynsie. so now we have got lynsie up there, right in the area where you were, right at the time when you did not drop her off, and we have enough to prove the crime. >> reporter: and knowing about chris' anger issues with previous girlfriends, larry summoned up a little empathy to draw chris in. >> i know you have the ability to be angry, but i don't know what would cause her to get you that angry, or what she could have done. >> reporter: chris didn't say much until a little body language revealed that larry was on the right track. >> was it a premeditated thing? i didn't think it was.
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so what did she do? >> reporter: larry finished talking. he was hoping chris would give it up. >> i think i need a lawyer to talk to you about this with me. >> it's up to you. >> reporter: the supreme court made it pretty clear, if someone declares that they want an attorney, the interview is supposed to stop until one can be hired or provided. but in this case, larry was walking a line. believing that asking for a lawyer isn't the same as wondering if you need one. karen lomis was watching from the other room. >> reporter: that's as close as you can get to the i want a lawyer line without crossing it. were you holding your breath when he said that? >> yes, this is a make or break interview. if he didn't confess, he was going to walk again. >> coming up -- >> i knew that was a moment of
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truth. >> years of mystery come down to one chance. >> we have the other side of the story. >> what kind of story would he tell? [ female announcer ] introducing new all mighty pacs™. our most concentrated all ever!
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your mood improves. friends will want to know, "what's your secret? mine is cross training and running. you'll be happier and healthier the more you know. . i need to know what occurred so i do the right thing. because something happened to her. >> reporter: larry montgomery spoke for 45 minutes. he had given chris mcamis everything he had. >> take a look at your credit card usage. >> reporter: the photo, the job site. >> how long did you know lynsie?
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>> this is not a convenient time right now. >> oh, okay. >> reporter: the phony story about finding the body. and then the interview had suddenly stopped dead. >> i think i need a lawyer to talk to you about this with me. >> reporte . >> well, it is up to you. >> reporter: because chris said i think i need a lawyer and not i want a lawyer, larry thought whatever came next would be admissible in court. detective angel who had been letting larry do the talking, then spoke up. >> i knew that was a moment of truth and had to interject something very quickly. >> nobody likes to be labeled a monster and in this case, that's the way it is pointing. only you have the other side of the story. nobody is going to be able to speak for you. that's what i want to let you know.
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there is a reason everything happens. i'm sure there was some circumstances that happened that night or that morning. >> he kind of sighed and he laid out his story. >> all right, what happened was -- >> reporter: and suddenly you realized -- >> this is it. he's going to give it up. i was sitdi insitting next to t detective from the other agency and i reached over and grabbed his arm and i said he's going to confess. >> reporter: it was sad and it was ugly. >> she -- i was going to take her home. >> okay. >> she was telling me, why don't i sleep over at your place because i don't want to upset my mom. >> reporter: as larry had suspected, chris never dropped off lynsie at that corner. >> i was trying to kiss her and she elbowed me in the chest.
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and then i went to my -- i went to my kitchen in my apartment and i drank a lot of vodka. and then i went back and i tried to do the same thing. she pretended to be asleep. and i pulled her pants down and i was totally drunk. >> okay. >> she got up, said, oh, my god, what are you doing? i'm calling the police. when i got up and walked to her, she tried to knock me out with my phone, with my own phone on my face. like this to my face. >> okay. >> and being drunk, it enraged me. it set me on fire. and i grabbed her, threw her on
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to my bed, and i got her into a headlock. >> okay. >> and she died. >> and then what did you do? >> then i tried to figure out what i should do because i couldn't believe how it just happened that way. >> quickly, huh? >> i just couldn't believe it. i thought she was just going to pass out and i ended up killing her. >> reporter: that was it. lynsie ekelund had been killed before anyone realized she was even missing. chris says he then drove up to the work site and used a skip loader to dig a hole. he held on to lynsie's body for a few days and then when no one was around, he buried her. did it feel any better to finally know? >> no, because i was really devastated. there was a relief, but i wasn't any happier because of it. >> reporter: chris returned to the site that had become
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lynsie's final resting place. >> right where this tree is i pulled my truck over and parked it. >> this tree to our left here? >> uh-huh. right where this tree is. didn't used to exist there when we had construction. >> okay. >> reporter: he wasn't sure of the exact spot. >> it is over in this vicinity. >> it could be way out there or way over here? >> from the tree all the way to that brush. >> that brush over there? >> yeah. >> reporter: it took more than a day of digging to find what was left of lynsie. first they found a shoe. then a jacket. and a bracelet. that's how nancy knew they had found her. a coroner confirmed it using dental records. >> the back of my truck was over here. >> reporter: two years after he confessed, chris mcamis pleaded guilty to second degree murder. his sentence is 15 years to life.
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you told me that you thought you had let this consume your life too much. >> oh, it did. it does to this day. >> reporter: now it is over. what are you going to do? >> i don't know. i knew life is opening up to you and i don't know. i don't have any answers. i just have to get over this. >> and that was josh mankiewicz reporting tonight. good evening once again, everybody. i'm ann curry in aurora, colorado, reporting the latest details on a national tragedy. that shooting rampage inside a movie theater here less than 24 hours ago. >> it sounded like madness. >> a man kicked through the door, completely covered in all black. >> some thought it was part of the show. gunshots, tear gas, chaos. a night at the movies becomes a real life night of terror. >> he was shooting people behind
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me and i had gun shells falling on my head, gunshot after gunshot and women and children screaming and it was really terrifying. >> a gunman dressed to kill in a carefully planned attack. >> we are not looking for any other suspects. we are confident that he acted alone. >> what could have driven him to do this? >> he was like kind of shy, wasn't aggressive. >> tonight, the latest on the shooting in theater nine. powerful stories of victims. >> it was an infectious attitude she had that everyone loved. >> and survivors. >> i heard jamie yell, get down. and my daughter, she was asleep, i just got her and threw her on the ground. >> a difficult and dark night in america. >> the people we lost in aurora loved and they were loved. we will be there for them as a nation. >> tragedy in colorado. the night started out like a
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party, fans in aurora had been waiting for months to see the new batman movie, so when a young man let loose with a gas canister, many thought it was all part of the entertainment, until he opened fire on the people trapped inside. we begin our coverage with dennis murphy. >> oh, my god. >> reporter: it was just before midnight, they were the most devoted of movie fans, lined up outside this century 16 multiplex in a mall about ten miles east of denver. one fan tweeted, it is going to be a good night. a tweet from another woman, movie doesn't start for 20 minutes. they would be among the first in the area to see one of the biggest movies of the summer, "the dark knight rises." the final chapter in batman's epic struggle of good versus evil. but then, about 20 minutes into the movie, evil himself clad all
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in black body armor and wearing a gas mask appeared at the exit door to theater nine. jennifer seeger was in the second row, just five feet away. >> i thought that he was just part of, like, a prop or something he was just being theatrical, it was part of the show, you know, since it was the midnight premiere. >> reporter: on the screen, a shootout scene was unfolding. she wondered if the guy coming up the aisle was part of the show, a publicity stunt. >> he threw the grenade or whatever it was of gas and it exploded and i thought that was a special effect. nobody knew what to think of it. >> reporter: the menacing figure released devices with what seemed to be a kind of tear gas. without his word, he aimed his gun at the ceiling and fired a shot. that's when jennifer said, everybody realized this was for real. >> everybody was starting to scream and run and that's when he went straight from here to here with a gun in my face at that point. that rifle was in my face. i didn't know what to think. i instinctively jumped forward
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and ducked in the middle of the aisle. i had gun shells just, you know, falling on my head, burning my forehead. all i smell is powder. >> reporter: as the gunman fired again and again, the bullets sprayed into the theater next door. alex malano was in theater eight with his sister. >> at that point i saw something come through the wall, multiple objects flow through the wall. i saw holes. people stood up and started checking themselves. a couple of people were walking away holding areas and i heard moaning like they were in pain. >> reporter: back in theater nine, people were frantic. clamoring over the dead and the injured to reach an exit. this cell phone video captured the ensuing frenzy. >> i was having a hard time breathing because of the tear gas or whatever he put through, and i was having a hard time breathing, and i'm, like, i'm going to sufficiego ing to suffocate if i can't get out of here. >> reporter: but he was fire on people as they tried to escape. >> on my way out, i see dead bodies and people were lifeless, like 14-year-old girl was on the
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stairs, i don't know how old she was, but that's how old she was to me and she was lifeless. >> reporter: at 12:29 a.m., the 911 dispatcher board lit up. >> somebody is shooting in the auditorium. at least one person has been shot. they're saying hundreds of people just running around. >> reporter: officers from the aurora police department descended on an appalling scene. >> we got another person outside shot ithe leg, a female. i got people running out of the theater, they're shot. >> get us some gas masks for theater nine. we can't get in it. >> reporter: inside they found victims sprawled where they dropped, along with one of the gunman's weapons. outside, survivors were stumb stumbling about, dazed. never seen so many cop cars in my life, it is a parade of lights, one man tweeted. another, i know i saw one man with blood running down his hands being carried into a cop car. >> i saw at least four, maybe five people that were limping, wounded, slightly bloody. the most that i saw was a girl
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who was pretty much covered in blood and she didn't have any wounds on her. so, i mean, it kind of -- it made me think the worst. >> reporter: the suspected shooter it would turn out hadn't gotten away. police cornered him in the parking lot by his car. he offered no resistance. ultimately they tide four weapons to him, an ar-15 assault rifle, a sawed off shotgun and two glock handguns. aurora police chief daniel oates. >> the suspect was dressed all in black, he was wearing a ballistic helmet, a tactical ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, a throat protector and a groin protector and a gas mask and black tactical gloves. >> reporter: not only that, his hair was dyed red according to law enforcement, and he called himself the joker, batman's nemesis. he told officers he had one more surprise for them, explosives in his apartment. they rushed to the aurora apartment building of the
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24-year-old james holmes, a student originally from the san diego area, said to be withdrawn from a graduate program at the university of colorado medical school. cops, firefighters, bomb squad set up a virtual siege of the building. >> we're treating that with the utmost caution, we're evacuating the neighborhood with aurora police department. >> reporter: moving cautiously, they spied trip wires. the place was a powder keg. >> our investigation determined that his apartment is booby trapped so we have an active and difficult scene there. it may be resolved in hours or days. we simply don't know how we're going to handle that. >> reporter: the first count toll was devastating. 12 dead and almost 60 injured, including children, one as young as 4 months. earlier friends and families had rushed to hospitals to find out what they could about who was dead and who was alive. kusa's will ripley reported from the scene. >> a man with a head wound and a
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bandage around his head was able to come out and hug his cousin who was here, his best friend who was here and other relatives as well. and they all kneeled down and they prayed. >> reporter: among the dead, an aspiring sportscaster, that woman who tweeted the movie doesn't start for 20 minutes. the president, both campaigns virtually suspended for the day, reflected on the outrage and his own two daughters. >> michelle and i will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter tonight and i'm sure you will do the same with your children. but for those parents who may not be so lucky, we have to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation. >> reporter: mitt romney said this about the shootings. >> our hearts break with the sadness of this unspeakable tragedy. >> reporter: the suspect is expected to make his first court appearance on monday. authorities are saying he acted alone, and had no terrorist ties, no criminal history other than a traffic summons.
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tonight, the aurora police chief said the suspect had gone on a shopping spree for weapons and ammo in the last 60 days. >> he purchased four guns at local metro gun shops, and through the internet he purchased over 6,000 you rounds of ammunition. >> reporter: all the purchases, legal.he chief, were completely as the day ended, 30 victims were still in the had hospital, 11 of them in critical condition. virginia tech, columbine high school just down the road, and now another gunman's rampage tearing at america's heart and soul. a dark night for america indeed. >> when we come back, what was lost? the story of a young woman, one of the victims.
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friends, donors, campaign supporters, special interest groups where did the obama stimulus money go? solyndra: 500 million taxpayer dollars. bankrupt. so where did the obama stimulus money go? windmills from china. electric cars from finland 79% of the 2.1 billion in stimulus grants awarded through it went to overseas companies. [ romney ] i'm mitt romney and i approve this message. the death toll stands at 12. we don't know much about the victims, but we do know about one young woman, the kind of person a movie fan you might
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expect to see at a midnight screening of a new batman movie. and incredibly, this had not been her first encounter with a gunman. here is kate snow. >> reporter: her name was jessica ghawi and she called herself a texan spitfire. >> i can interview if you want to. >> i think i'll interview you. >> reporter: friends say, if you had to know one thing about jessica, it was that she loved hockey and sports writing. she wanted to make it as a sportscaster. peter burns was a friend and mentor. >> you talk to anybody here in the sports scene that knew her, it was an infectious, you know, attitude she had that everyone loved. >> so friday you all are playing the texas stars. >> reporter: this is an interview she did on the ice in her hometown of san antonio, texas. >> she's not two seconds on the ice and sure enough she falls flat on her rear. >> reporter: and she clearly loved a laugh, even when it was on her.
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twitter was her thing too, last night she persuaded an old buddy to go to the movies and, of course, she tweeted about that under her work name, jessica redfield. she joked about convincing her friend to go, people should never argue with me. and then another tweet from the theater, movie doesn't start for 20 minutes, she wrote. that was the last thing she ever tweeted. it went to her friend, jesse specter. >> i like to think of her as being just so excited to go see the movie. and as excited as she was about doing everything else that she did. >> reporter: jessica's family heard the awful news in the middle of the night. >> started with a phone call, early morning, in san antonio, texas, from my mother, hysterical. >> reporter: her brother jordan is a firefighter in san antonio. >> i could decipher my sister had been injured and more specifically shot. >> reporter: he found out what happened from jessica's friend, who was in the movie theater with her and survived. >> i knew fairly soon that it
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appeared my sister had sustained a fatal injury. >> reporter: jessica's friend told them that all hell broke loose, jessica and her friend dropped to the ground, she was shot in the leg. >> he remained calm and took care of my sister, when she got hit with the first rifle round in the leg. was trying to treat her on the scene, in the movie theater, in the line of fire, when he sustained an injury, a rifle round. >> reporter: he suddenly realized she was no longer screaming, she had been hit in the head. >> after he realized that my sister appeared to have sustained a fatal shot, he attempted to save his own life by exiting the building. but he stayed with my sister up until the end from my understanding. >> reporter: remarkably, just weeks ago, jessica had cheated death in another shooting. she was in toronto, canada, visiting her boyfriend, when a gunman opened fire in the food court at a busy shopping mall. jessica had been standing there only minutes before. >> what are the odds that you're in one of those incidents once in your life? let alone twice within, you
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know, a two-month span. >> reporter: news of jessica ghawi's death was all over the internet today, and the memories of a smart and sassy young woman poured in. >> she had a little twinkle in her eye, like, yeah, i'm a lot of fun, but you don't want to mess around here. >> reporter: this from another friend, she was a red head through and through, a ball of energy and fire. but the most haunting words came from jessica herself, in a blog about the shopping mall shooting in toronto, she wrote, i say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing, so often i have found myself taking it for granted, every hug from a family member, every laugh we share with friends. in that same blog, she also wrote this, we don't know when or where our time on earth will end, when or where we will breathe our last breath. jessica ghawi was 24 years old, full of life, and laughter. >> she sounds like a really
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great and talented girl, kate. and there were others. we know so many -- >> so many, so much senseless loss here, ann. what we do know is that there was a group, another group we know about five navy sailers here at the movies last night, a bunch of buddies who came in from their nearby base, buckley air force base, three of them were okay and walked out of the theater, one was injured and treated on the scene, but the last of them has not been found yet and they don't have any word on him yet, but last time we checked, i called his father, that man's father, and he said he was waiting for a call from the pentagon. it is presumed that he's probably among the deceased. >> and as i mentioned, this kind of movie at this hour, we seem to draw so many young people. what do we know about the ages? >> a lot of young people and surprisingly maybe some families too people brought small children. we know at least one hospital, children's hospital, of colorado, said that their youngest victim was 6 years old,
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they treated 6 to age 31 was the range of their victims. it is a wide range of people. we don't know a lot yet about these victims because simply they're still going through the process. we just learned from the aurora police as early as -- or as late as this afternoon they were still talking to families and friends and trying to sort out the identities of all those deceased. >> we do know is this place's heart has been broken. kate snow, thank you so much for your reporting there. and to the question now is what drove the alleged shooter? we're going to get a close-up look at james holmes when we get back. hey will you pass me some of that lipton.
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it is a question people are asking tonight, why would anyone open fire in a crowded theater. tonight, a more complete picture of james holmes is beginning to emerge. here is chris hansen. >> reporter: a reporter says that when they got a hold of james holmes' mother this morning, the first thing she said was, you have the right person. what did she mean by that? what did she know? at first, all we knew about the shooter is that he was taken alive. >> 24-year-old suspect is now in police custody. >> reporter: and we soon learned how he appeared to the terrified people in the theater.
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>> he's about 6 foot tall, 6'3", anywhere in between that, about 185 pounds 200 pounds, very muscular and just scary. >> reporter: the details about 24-year-old james eagan holmes began to surface quickly. law enforcement officials say holmes had his hair dyed red or orange and told them he was the joker, the batman villain played by heath ledger in the earlier warner bros. film "the dark knight." could he have been role playing a scene right out of that batman movie? >> good evening, ladies and gentlemen. for tonight's entertainment -- >> reporter: we don't know what holmes' motive might have been, but we know it was well planned. police chief dan oates says holmes came ready for action. >> the suspect was dressed all in black, he was wearing a ballistic helmet, a tactical ballistic vest, ballistic
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leggings, a throat protector, and a groin protector and a gas mask and black tactical gloves. >> reporter: law enforcement sources tell "dateline" holmes bought a ticket for the movie and went into the theater. soon after, they say, he propped an exit door open and went outside to the parking lot. that's when authorities say holmes went to his car, put on his body armor and went back in firing. but who is this young man whose only brush with the law before today according to police was a speeding ticket? for one thing, he appears to be different than most people his age. he's a kind of online ghost, he doesn't appear to have a facebook page, twitter account or any obvious online footprint. holmes grew up in southern california and attended westview high school, north of san diego. he played on the soccer team and graduated in 2006. summit shah echo what other classmates say about holmes. >> he was quiet but when he was
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comfortable, he was talkative, witty. a mostly nice guy. it is kind of a weird shift to see him go from the guy i knew to somebody who killed 12 people and counting. >> reporter: the holmes family is not talking. anthony mai is a neighbor who says he's known the family for years. he says he can't imagine the james holmes he knew you would have done something so horrific. >> i didn't think he would do that. and i still don't believe he did it. but until i get the facts right and until the news are actually specific about everything, then i'll believe what is actually going on. >> reporter: by all accounts, holmes is clearly a bright young man. in 2006, he attended college at university of california riverside, about an hour east of los angeles. chancellor timothy white said he was a top student when he graduated in 2010. >> he was an honor student in neuroscience. graduated, he had merit-based scholarships while he was here.
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and then he moved on to colorado for graduate work. >> reporter: most recently holmes was a ph.d. student at the university of colorado medical school. a spokesman there said he left the school in june. when he moved to his apartment in aurora, colorado, holmes filled out a rental application where he described himself as a quiet and easy going medical student. but christopher rad odriguez an caitlin fonzie who lived in the unit below him said it wasn't quiet last night. at midnight, they heard loud music coming from holmes' apartment. what kind of music was blairing? >> it was techno music, loud bass, like boom, boom, boom, that kind of thing and on a constant loop for an hour. >> reporter: rodriguez said the timing of the music seemed precise. >> the music started exactly at midnight and it continued on that continuous loop until 1:00 a.m. and it stopped right at 1:00 a.m. >> reporter: on its own. >> on its own. and what i'm thinking is i'm
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thinking maybe it was set up to a timed system, to start at midnight and then stop at 1:00 a.m., which corresponds exactly to the incident at the movie theater. >> reporter: bothered by the noise, fonzie went upstairs to holmes' apartment. >> i did go upstairs and knock on the door loudly, kick the door, see if i can get anybody to quiet down in there. i did jiggle the door a little bit and it looked like it was unlocked. so i was going to peek my head in there but something told me that wasn't probably a good idea. >> reporter: no kidding. according to chief oates, the apartment police found today was rigged to explode. >> his apartment is apparently booby trapped. and what we have is a whole bunch of bomb techs from all different agencies. we could be here for hours. we could be here for days trying to figure out how to get in there. obviously we're very concerned about getting in there to get whatever evidence there is. the pictures are pretty disturbing, looks pretty sophisticated in the way it is booby trapped.
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>> reporter: could this be another jokeresque attempt to cause more carnage. at the same time music was playing, law enforcement officiales say holmes was at the theater. he had four guns, a smith & wesson ax r-15 assault rifle, a pump action shotgun and two .40 caliber glocks. they say the assault rifle was equipped with a 100 round magazine. they say the gun were purchased in colorado at two different sporting goods stores. one handgun was purchased just last week. police also say holmes had some sort of tear gas canister. >> tonight, chris, even more details about what investigators are doing inside that apartment. >> well, ann, they suspended the investigation at the apartment for tonight. tomorrow morning they will use a high tech robot to go in there. this robot has wire canons that can disturb a bomb, like this one, and it has the ability to actually snip wires. this bomb, the authorities know a lot about, they know some of the materials used and they know precisely where holmes got them.
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there are bottles of liquid. there are powder, there are wires, there are all kinds of things in the house. he even used rounds of ammunition in this bomb. and speaking of ammunition, we learned tonight that holmes bought 6,000 rounds of ammunition over the internet. >> we also, you also actually, spoke to people who had been able to get a look inside that apartment. what did they reveal? >> they say he was living a relatively sparse lifestyle. they saw a bicycle, not much furniture, but he may have had to move that out of the way for the bomb. but interestingly, in these investigations, the authorities gain a lot of information from the suspect's computer. which they haven't been able to look at yet because of the bomb situation. >> right. meantime, the question now becomes, you know what will the next legal steps be. one would presume, in a case like this, a psychiatric evaluation is expected. >> that would be natural in this case. so we know he's going to be in case monday, he's scheduled for an appearance on monday.
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we know he has a lawyer. we don't know who that is yet. and he will make that first appearance and it will be an arraignment. he'll make a plea, guilty or not guilty, usually not guilty to start off. and then the wheels will start turning in terms of the court process and whether or not there is a psychiatric evaluation, which is, as you said, you can count on. >> meantime, the police department is very busy as you talked about trying to work on diffusing this bomb, trying to move forward with the investigation. we have seen police officers and cars keeping the reporters back away from the scene of this tragedy. what can you tell us about how they're able to focus an investigation that seems to be causing them to look at so many -- >> they have a lot of assets here. they're very professional police department led by a chief who was once a new york police officer and detective. so he knows what he's doing. and his people know what they're doing. they have the atf out here. experts and explosives, the fbi is working the case. it will be interesting, i think, if they can get a computer, a laptop out of that house.
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>> because what they can find from that computer is everything, even if he erased it. >> absolutely. the forensics they can perform are absolutely amazing. and if there is a computer in there, which you you have to leave a 24-year-old is going to have a laptop that will tell the tale. >> chris hansen, thank you so much for your reporting tonight. when we come back, the dramatic story of the survivors, how split second decisions made the difference between life and death. ♪
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some witnesses say the alleged gunman, james holmes, seemed to be specifically targeting those who were trying to escape. so in this case, was not running from danger the best way to survive? here is keith morrison. >> reporter: it is a right of the american summer now, the midnight show of the newest hottest block buster in town, so there was a little buzz in the air, a rush for good seats, a happy anticipation and the very big crowd. by the time corbin dates
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arrived, only the two front rows were open. he and a friend picked row two and as the lights went down, he noticed a man in front of him with a fake looking red beard, noticed him because -- >> he got a phone call, this person actually decided to go to the back door, the back emergency exit door, opened it and used his foot to prop it open. >> reporter: then 20 minutes or so into the movie, there was a shooting scene and the man was back. >> dressed all in black, a black helmet, definitely a black gas mask. he had also, it looked like -- i thought it was a toy rifle strapped around. >> reporter: must be a stunt of some sort. >> he threw a canister into the audience. i was, like, okay, cool. and then it went off. and i realized it wasn't a firework, it was actually -- it was a canister of toxic gases. >> reporter: that's when it dawned on him. that was a gas mask, and from the tears and choking smoke dates knew this was no stunt, and then the man started shooting. >> as soon as that can exploded,
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gunshots were going off, people were screaming. it didn't sound like a continuous fire, just like a >> reporter: screams, gunfire, chaos. the only silence from the gunman. who said nothing. >> it didn't process into my mind to start screaming and running my way out of there. >> reporter: just feet away from the shooter, he felt less afraid and analytical. >> i can hear the gunshots. i can hear people screaming. there is a difference between a throat scream and an actual bloody murder scream. >> reporter: he realized the gunman was moving around the crowd and was firing from a different direction and then silence. as corbin and his friend rushed to the exit, he paused for a moment and turned around. >> as the gunshots were going off, i can hear falling to the ground, some rolling up under the seats and just burning our skin. >> reporter: four rows from the back of the crowded theater, tanner coon had a bird's-eye view of the madness. >> first shot was fired. i thought it was a firecracker.
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i eventually realized it was gunshots after another three or four shots. >> reporter: he told his friends, get down. one of them was a 12-year-old. >> he was freaking out. he was really distraught. >> reporter: it was when tanner and his friends crawled for the exit that he felt and saw what he can't get out of his head -- >> i slipped in some blood and landed on a lady, i shook her and told her we need to get out of here, get up, we got to go, there was no response. she did not move. she did not say anything. so, you know, i presumed she was dead. >> reporter: and this was truly strange, the horror of it was not confined. walls don't always stop bullets. batman was playing in the next room over too, where members of a football team were so excited for that movie, they broke curfew for the midnight show. one of them avoided death by, a millimeter. >> that is something that, you know, i try not to think about and just be prayerful i came out alive. >> reporter: 17-year-old zach
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gold and 30 eager friends with in their seats two hours early, good seats, they were stoked. >> 15, 20 minutes and there was a scene that came in the movie where actually a gun was pulled and they were shooting and some kid, you know, was like, man, i got hit. i looked and, you know, really didn't think much of it, it was, like, somebody threw a firecracker. >> reporter: here is how zach discovered that the bullets were real. >> i was turning around, and it sounded like a firecracker just hit the back of my head. >> reporter: he put his head to his ringing ear. felt how wet it was. >> my hands were up here, i felt, you know, liquid, which i knew was blood. >> reporter: zach was one of 70 people wounded in the attack. his wounds, some of the collateral damage. when the shooting from theater nine ripped through the wall and into the crowd in theater eight. and in this age of tweets and facebook, zach's cousin posted photos of his war wounds on zach's home page. the entry wound was just below his here.
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had he not turned his head when he heard the first victim yell, he would be in a wheelchair prap perhaps dead. as corbin can plainly see as you rush from the theater, there was far too much of that. >> i looked around, i saw bodies on the upper part of the auditorium, leaning over the chairs, on the stairs, people that were laying right in front of me, and knowing there was not much i could do for them. >> when we come back, our emotional conversation with the young couple feeling very blessed tonight.
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one young couple and their two little children are safe tonight, thanks to a last minute decision they made after they entered the theater. they decided to sit in the balcony instead of the first row. but jamie and patricia will never forget the horror of the man with the guns and all the
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people he shot. jamie, how long did it take you to figure out what was happening? >> within -- probably within five seconds, you just -- the guy came in through the exit door to our right, through the tear gas, almost hit the -- hit someone not too far away from us. and, you're like, it is a prank, it is a prank. that took two seconds, went back out the exit door and heard it shut, okay, it is just a prank and he opened up and you saw you gunshots. you saw gunshot -- you thought it was gunshots, you thought it was fire, you didn't know. but my instinct was telling patricia, get down, get to the floor, just get to the floor. >> i heard jamie yell get down and my daughter, she was asleep, she was laying down, i just grabbed her and threw her, i mean -- >> on the ground? >> i threw her on the ground. >> she threw asia to the floor and i ducked with ethan and when
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i ducked, his head, like, fell back because of the way i was holding it into the crack in the seats between -- in front of us and got stuck and he was crying, i was, like, his head is exposed, he's going to get shot. i can't stand up because people were standing up were getting shot. so i just -- i jumped over and, like, i got to get him. so i just maneuvered over somehow and grabbed him and crawled toward the stairway and just thinking, should i play dead? are they coming up the stairs? how many are there? >> how was it that you and your children survived? >> i just remember -- i just knew when i stood up to get my daughter, and he shot that way, i right away knew, you get up, he sees you, he's going to shoot. >> what did you do? >> there was a point where the gunshots stopped and i saw people running and i saw they're
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running, he's not shooting, get up and go, and i just got up, i grabbed my daughter's hand and we just got out of there as soon as we could. >> you ran? >> yeah. i was trying to find jamie. i didn't have my phone. thankfully there were three people, two boys and a girl, i wish i would have gotten their names. the female let me use her cell phone so i could call jamie, helped me with my daughter. i'm thankful for there, there were people who were willing to help. >> is there anything you want to say to parents who are grieving this tragedy? >> i don't even know what to say. they're in our prayers and i just -- i don't even know. you don't know what to say. and that's what makes it so hard because i'm so happy and we're
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so blessed that we got out, but i just feel so sad for those who didn't make it out. and for their families. and i just -- i'm praying and i just hope that somewhere some good comes out of this, that, you know, families, i pray that they're all right. and -- >> we just need to be there for each other and, like, be kind to each other. people come -- we rush through life taking everything for granted, like, money, clothes and so materialistic and -- >> and just getting so stressed out. >> keep your family as your number one priority. we rush through life, we forget to tell each other we love you and it is, like, call your friends, call your family, kiss your son, kiss your daughter, hug them, you never know when it is going to be the last time, like, i just remember seeing his head looking up at me, seeing
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his little eyes and just crying, just being so frustrated about what to do. you don't want to see him hurt because he's your little boy. >> so when the tragedy of this day, you realized something that was very important that you love each other enough. but this was the day you would ask patricia to marry you? >> it just smacked me in the face. yes, this is the one. this is the mother and she took so good care of our children and just got them out safe. i'm so thankful for her and, oh, my god. >> he asked you this question today. >> in the hospital. >> in the hospital. and what did you say? >> i said yes. >> when we come back, how can one recover from a national tragedy like this one? a young man whose life was also
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changed forever by the massacre at columbine high will join us live and talk about the lessons he has learned. ♪ [ tires screech ] [ male announcer ] with fuel economy that's best in class and better acceleration than camry and accord, you'll wish you had the road to yourself. [ tires screech ] it's our most innovative altima ever. nissan. innovation that excites. ♪ you tell us what you want to pay, and we give you
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there is another colorado community that knows only too well what aurora is going through tonight. it was a little more than 15 miles away in littleton where 12 students and one teacher died at columbine high school in 1999. and a survivor of that tragedy understands what the victims' loved ones are facing here. it has been more than 13 years since craig scott found himself frozen with fear on the library floor during the shooting rampage at columbine high school. craig survived. his sister rachel did not. >> i found out the next morning it was confirmed she was dead. >> the nation met craig, then a 16-year-old sophomore, two days after the massacre, when he
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appeared on the "today" show. >> my sister was a real person. she really had a lot of ambition and i loved her a lot. >> in the year following rachel's murder, "dateline" spent time with craig and his family as they tried to cope with their immeasurable loss. >> i didn't get to say good-bye to her. physically. i didn't say anything when she dropped me off at school. >> in public, craig displayed courage as he traveled across the country, sharing his story with thousands of students. but privately he was haunted by terrifying flashbacks, especially after dark. using a handheld camera in the spring of 2000, craig chronicled a desperate attempt to escape his nightmares. >> i'm up here on the top of my roof. got a knife for protection. >> reporter: the lowest point
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came soon after other cameras left. craig and his brother michael were watching a movie on tv, a violent screen triggered another flashback and craig snapped. >> the next thing i knew, i picked my little brother, who i love, i carried him to the kitchen, slammed him against the kitchen floor, i pulled out a knife and put it in front of his face and said, do you want to know what it feels like to almost lose your life? >> reporter: it was a terrifying moment, but also a turning point in craig's life. he decided he had to let go of his anger. the first step was also the hardest. forgiving rachel's killers. >> forgiveness was like setting a prisoner free and then finding out that prisoner is you. columbine was the worst day of my life. but now looking back, i can be almost thankful in a way for going through such a hard thing because it made me who i am today. >> craig scott now joins us. thank you so much for being here, craig.
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what does it take for people to overcome, to recover from a tragedy such as this one? >> well, i think that it definitely takes a lot of time. for me it took i think ten years to really get back to a real place, i still miss my sister, but i have friends that were there. some of them are still going through a lot of healing and still has a long ways to go. it really is a long process. but i do think that there are things that can help in the healing process. i think that i was blessed enough to have family and faith to surround me. i think people stepping in from the community, i mean, i remember my mom having to look after me and deal with the loss of her daughter and people, neighbors bringing meals.
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i think that remembering the loved ones and remembering the good things about rachel, the good things she did, focusing on something positive. i think there is going to be people that are going to be real angry and will want to do something with that anger and i hope they can channel it to something that is positive. i know, for me, for years, i held on to such hatred toward the shooters. they had no right to do what they did, killed innocent people, did them no harm, and it started to really take a toll on me and affect the way i treated people as i carried around that anger and so part of my healing process was forgiving and letting go. >> forgiving. >> it is -- it is -- i'm not -- i'm just talking about my healing process and i think that it is not saying what someone did is okay, it is a letting go of so that you can be moved on. there is a quote that forgiveness is like setting a prisoner free and then finding
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out that prisoner is you. and i felt like i was that prisoner and that was part of my process. being able to -- for those that have faith, i grew deeper in that, that was part of my healing process. one of the biggest things that helped me get through was just seeing something good come from losing my friends and losing my sister and going through and i truly hoped what happened here in a minute in this theater, that there can be some amazing, immense good, positive things, movement, something that can come out of this. and i hope that the people that went through this can become unified, don't let this shooter steal anything from you. and so that's -- that would be my input. >> thank you so much this evening. nice to see you. >> thank you. >> before we go, we want to tell you that aurora's police chief held a news conference tonight where he revised the number of injured down to 58, the death
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toll still remains at 12. the number of people -- a number of people are still in critical conditions all in hospitals all around colorado. there are reports that james holmes dyed his hair red and called himself the joker but he's not talking so we don't know if he has a connection to the batman franchise or anything else. there is a lot more to report on this. we'll be reporting on it throughout the day tomorrow, including on the "today" show. that is it for this edition of "dateline" friday. good night and thank you for joining us.


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