Minutes after midnight on July 20, 2012, a local resident of Aurora, Colorado walks into a packed movie theater opening fire. The shooter, James Holmes, claims the lives of twelve and injuring 70 others (62 directly, and 8 indirectly.) Media sources nationwide portrayed Holmes as the "real life Joker", one of the nemesis from the Batman franchise.
Before midnight surveillance footage at Century 16 in Aurora, CO shows Holmes walking into the front of the theater where he handed his ticket and walked towards auditorium 9. The ticket James Holmes handed was ticketed for auditorium 8, although he purposely walked into auditorium 9, because for weeks he has been casing out the location and planning on this exact theater.
During the previews before the showing of The Dark Knight Returns, Holmes walks in front of the crowd, pulled out his cellphone and acts as if he is taking a phone call. He then walks to his left (right of the screen) out of the emergency exit door. Holmes wedges of a table cloth clip inside the door so he could walk out to his car, prepare for "the mission", and then walk back in auditorium 9.
Years later, Holmes will tell psychiatrist William H. Reid that he was "calm and collected" during the less than 30 minutes of active shooting. James suits up and prepare for the shootings. On the way back into the theater, Holmes put in earbuds to turn on his techno music. Holmes was dressed in ballistic clothing, wearing a weapon vest with multiple magazines loaded with .556 rounds, a gas mask, a Kevlar helmet, and he carries in a Remington 12-gauge tactical shotgun, a M&P15 rifle with Vortex Strikefire sight system, and a Glock handgun. Holmes throws a Clear Out tear gas canister into the theater and opens fire on the audience.
The first weapon James Holmes used was the Remington 870 Pump-Action shotgun. Using the shotgun he could shoot in the general direction of the audience and injure more people than he could with his semi-automatic or handgun.
Carli Richards, a 22-year-old veteran, was in the theater with her boyfriend Chris Townson. Both of them survived, but hey shot her with shotgun blasts before escaping.
Next James Holmes pulls out the M&P15 semi-automatic rifle. This weapon is like an AR-15. One factor that helped limit the casualties is that James Holmes was an inexperienced shooter. Holmes misfed the rifle causing the weapon to jam. This allowed several movie patrons the opportunity to run out of the theater to safety. The shootings were also less accurate because of his inexperience of shooting while wearing a gas mask.
Many people have the erroneous belief that James Holmes was a product of his environment growing up in an abusive childhood. This fiction is often linked by the media because of his likeness with the comic book character, The Joker who experienced a tumultuous childhood, according to his backstory at least. However, Holmes, the real-life Joker, experienced no more pain or abuse than the average kid does growing up.
Both of James' parents, Bob and Arlene, were loving and kind, and both had upper middle-class jobs that helped to provide their son with a great education.
James Holmes has a high intelligence and dreamed of one day becoming a neuro scientist, partly so he can unlock the key to his self-diagnosed "broken-brain" and his family's extended history of mental illness. Before the shootings, James documented his thoughts in his "Diary of a Madman", journal. This 'manifesto' shows the true twisted psyche of one of America's most dangerous citizens.
James Holmes is serving twelve life sentences (one for each deceased victim), plus an additional 3,318 years for his crimes. He will remain in prison until his death.