Friday 17 November 2017

US rampage is just the latest in a long and bloody list

People react outside Gateway High School, a few blocks from the scene of the Century 16
shootings in Aurora, Colorado, yesterday
People react outside Gateway High School, a few blocks from the scene of the Century 16 shootings in Aurora, Colorado, yesterday

Sophia Pearson and Jeff Kass

The rampage that claimed at least 12 lives at a Colorado cinema showing the latest 'Batman' movie is among the deadliest mass shootings in the US in the past 15 years.

The toll approaches the 15 killed in the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, about 32km from Aurora, where yesterday's shooting occurred during an early morning screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises.' The deadliest such incident in the US since then was the Virginia Tech rampage of April 2007 in Blacksburg, Virginia, in which Seung-Hui Cho took 33 lives, including his own.

Prosecuting such crimes raises the inevitable question of the defendant's sanity, according to Richard Kornfeld, who represented the family of Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold. James Holmes (24) was arrested at the scene of the Aurora shooting, Police Chief Dan Oates said. Any defence of Holmes would have to initially determine his mental state, Mr Kornfeld said.

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