independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Gunshots and plea for help heard in 911 calls from Colorado cinema shooting - court

A 13-year-old girl caught in last summer's shooting rampage at a Colorado cinema was heard frantically pleading for help in a tape of her emergency 911 call played in court on Tuesday.



In it, the girl could be heard desperately telling an emergency dispatcher that her 6-year-old cousin, Veronica Moser-Sullivan, and Veronica's pregnant mother, Ashley Moser, had been struck by gunfire. Veronica was the youngest of the 12 people killed in the attack.



"My two cousins have been shot," she cries, as the dispatcher tries in vain to instruct the girl, whose name was not given, on how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.



The recording was one of two 911 calls played in court during the second day of a preliminary hearing for the accused gunman, James Holmes, in which prosecutors are seeking to convince a judge they have enough evidence to put him on trial.



The onetime University of Colorado neuroscience doctoral student is charged with 24 counts of first-degree murder and 116 counts of attempted murder stemming from the July 20 shooting rampage at a midnight screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises," in Aurora, Colorado.



In addition to the 12 dead, 58 others were wounded. Prosecutors charged Holmes with two counts for each shooting victim - one for commission of the crime "after deliberation" and another for "malice manifesting extreme indifference to human life."



Prosecutors have yet to decide whether the seek the death penalty, though the charges make Holmes eligible for it.



During Monday's testimony, police officers and investigators outlined in graphic detail the shooting and its immediate aftermath.



Police say Holmes, who bought his movie ticket 12 days in advance, left the screening a few minutes after it started and re-entered Theater 9 at the Century 16 multiplex a short time later dressed in tactical body armor, a gas mask and helmet.



Armed with a semi-automatic rifle, shotgun and pistol, police say, he then lobbed a tear gas cannister into the auditorium and sprayed the audience with bullets.



Later, in the parking lot, he surrendered without a struggle to the first police officers arriving on the scene and alerted them that his apartment had been booby-trapped with explosives.



Police had described on Monday encountering a nightmarish, bloody scene inside the darkened theater, where dozens of victims lay sprawled across the auditorium as the Batman film continued to play and emergency-alarm strobe lights flashed.



One officer choked up with emotion as he recounted hunching over the lifeless body of Veronica Moser-Sullivan trying to find her pulse. Her mother survived but was left paralyzed from the waist down and suffered a miscarriage after the shooting.



The call from their cousin was made from inside the theater moments after the massacre.



A second call played in court by police detective Randy Hansen was placed during the shooting. In that tape, lasting 27 seconds, the distinct pop-pop-pop sound of 30 gunshots can be heard, though no voices are discernible.

Reuters

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