Colorado shooting suspect appears in court

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UPDATED 7/23/12: James Holmes appeared in court Monday, appearing lethargic during  the proceeding.The Washington Post reports:

Judge Sylvester agreed to hold another hearing in a week, at which prosecutors will formally file charges. He also agreed to give Holmes’ defense team — a pair of Colorado public defenders — access to two crime scenes: at the Century 16 movie theaters and at Holmes’s booby-trapped apartment.

The nation is responding to the mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater just after midnight Friday, which left 12 dead and 59 wounded. A man wearing body armor and a gas mask went into a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” and opened fire on theater goers, killing 12 and wounding 59. Within minutes, officers were on the scene, and apprehended James Holmes, age 24. He is the only suspect.

UC Riverside and was a Ph.D. student studying neuroscience at the University of Colorado-Denver, although he was in the process of withdrawing, according to a university spokesperson. Police questioned a San Diego woman early this morning who said she was the mother of the suspect.

This is a tragic beginning to a July weekend, during which “The Dark Knight Rises” was expected to be the next summer blockbuster. Here in Los Angleles, police stepped up patrols of theaters throughout the city. NBC LA reports:

“Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies are patrolling movie theaters and areas where people are congregating, said Capt. Mike Parker, a sheriff’s spokesman.”

Social media has been flooded with responses from across the country showing support for the victims, one of whom even posted a picture of his bullet wound to Reddit, writing “Here are a few photos of my very lucky but nonethless terrifying brush with death. My thoughts go out to those less fortunate than me.”

As the shared experience continue to move online, Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams reflects on the shared experience of the movie theater and how that may never be the same, writing:

“And though we have state-of-the-art home entertainment systems and YouTube on our phones, we still line up to see expensive movies on big screens. Yet as any suicide bomber or school shooter knows all too well, it’s in those places of togetherness that we find ourselves most exposed.”

On today’s To the Point, Warren discussed the shooting in Aurora. (You can hear the full show, here.) Below, hear voices of witnesses and a discussion Bryant University Professor Gregg Lee Carter who says shootings with four or more victims happen about two dozen times a year in the United States.

Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa issued a statement calling for tougher gun laws on Friday afternoon, but even advocates say any gun legislation is unlikely in an election year.

It’s time for the federal government to again ban these weapons, just like California enacted the nation’s toughest law against assault weapons nearly two decades ago. It’s time for nationwide background checks and waiting periods so guns don’t fall into the wrong hands—criminal hands—only to be used against innocent victims in everyday crimes as well as mass murders. Our lawmakers need to come together and do more than just talk about the pain and sorrow in the aftermath of these gun violence tragedies. They need to act. They need to take a stand.