Obama, the father, weeps with families

Jul 24, 2012, 07:33 IST | Agencies

US President Obama visits Colorado and comforts victims of movie theatre shooting that left 15 dead, promises not to mention the name of the shooter

US President Barack Obama has wept with families of the victims of the Colorado cinema shooting and told people in the stricken town of Aurora that brighter days are ahead.

“I come to them not so much as President as I do as a father and as a husband,” Obama said, holding back tears after consoling the survivors and relatives of those killed.

US President Barack Obama greets Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper after arriving at Buckley Air Force Base. Pics/AFP

The president described the shooting incident, which left 15 people dead and 58 injured at a local movie theatre on Friday, as an “evil act”. But he said the attention surrounding the shooter “will fade away and in the end, after he has felt the full force of our justice system, what will be remembered are the good people who were impacted by this tragedy”. Obama tried to give an upbeat message in a press conference televised live across America.

Heartbroken: A woman inconsolably weeps as she attends a prayer vigil at the municipal centre in Aurora, Colorado for the victims and those injured during the shooting of the latest Batman film.

Off-screen heroes
Obama recounted one particular tale of heroism he was told by 19-year-old Allie Young and her friend Stephanie Davies. “When the gunman initially came in and threw the canisters, he threw them only a few feet away from Allie and Stephanie, who were sitting there watching the film,” he said.

“Allie stood up seeing that she might need to do something or at least warn the other people who were there … and she was shot in the neck. Stephanie, dropped down on the ground and placed her fingers over where Allie had been wounded and applied pressure the entire time while the gunman was still shooting.”

He added, “And so as tragic the circumstances of what we’ve seen today are, as heartbreaking as it is for the families, it’s worth us spending most of our time reflecting on young Americans like Allie and Stephanie,” he said. “Because they represent what’s best in us and they assure us that out of this darkness, a brighter day is going to come.” 

Holmes appears in court
The suspected gunman in the Colorado theatre massacre appeared in court on Monday for the first time. Holmes is accused of killing 12 people in a shooting at the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, screening in Colorado. Wearing dyed orange hair and looking dazed, James Holmes, who appeared sleepy during the proceedings, sat in maroon jailhouse jumpsuit, as the judge briefed him of the case. The judge added that Holmes is to be held without bail at a jail. He will be formally charged on Monday. 

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