tv Caught on Camera MSNBC July 22, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
i'm chris jansing now live in aurora, colorado. the president of the united states is on the ground to offer his condolences. we expect to hear from him shortly after his meeting with the families. president obama has been spending time tonight with the families of the victims killed. he was also expected to meet with local officials and first responders. behind me what you're seeing, the people of this community coming together to grieve at a public vigil which is scheduled to begin later in this hour. colorado's governor john
hickenlooper and other officials will attend. joining us now is congresswoman diane degette. >> good to be here with you. >> i think i saw you last in person after columbine. can you process this tragedy, congresswoman? >> it just seems unfathom to us here. columbine was right outside my district and now this. they're good people here and just out people for a movie. and it's really hard for all of us here in the denver and colorado community. >> and you were saying that there are constituents of yours inside that theater. >> i had constituents inside the theater and injured and i think we even lost some so it's a terrible blow for everybody. >> you know, we look out across the field of people and it's been growing steadily throughout the evening and i was talking with a pastor and we were talking about how many families. what role do you think something like this plays when you have
such a senseless act of violence? >> i think it really helps everybody to have the community come together. it certainly helps me. i brought my husband and my 18-year-old daughter with me. my daughter knew some people who were in some of the neighboring theaters so, you know, it hits the whole community an ento have everybody come together, it means a lot for the families. it means a lot for the injured people and it helps all of us. it helps all of us. >> tonight, we know it's a time for healing and we've spent a lot of time today talking about the victims and that's appropriate. you don't want them to get lost in all of this and the brother of one of the victims just tweeted that he had met president obama. he agreed not to name the shooter because he doesn't want him to be the one who's remembered in all of this. is there some useful way to go forward that you see from this? >> well, i mean, we need to work
together to heal as a community. parents need to talk to their children about values. all of that. and then i think there's some hard discussions to have later. i've been through all this having been to columbine, having sat with president clinton at columbine and coming together as a community like this and you need that time to heal and then you really need to talk about some of the hard questions. and of course, you can't jump to conclusions. as a lawmaker, we always want to think, what can we do to help this situation? you can't jump to conclusions that any law you would pass would be an immediate panacea to this but we need to look at what happened and see if there's response we can have. >> the obvious conversation is always about gun control after things like this but it seems to me as people look at what happened to columbine, what happened your colleague, gabby giffords just last year in tucson, arizona, and now, does
there need to be some sort of conversation about these individuals and could there have been a way to identify them earlier? could there have been a way to help them sooner? >> i don't -- i mean, in -- certainly in the gabby giffords situation and the columbine situation, we had severely mentally disturbed people. there were signs in those cases. in this situation, obviously, this is an evil, evil person who would do something like this but the evidence is still coming in. and as i say, today's not a day to talk about that. today's a day to come together as a community and to mourn those we lost and to be thankful for those who the wonderful first responders were able to save and the doctors and just to come together as a community. >> remarkable stories of heroism have come out of this, inside the theater, with the first responders. >> well, remarkable stories of heroism. the police were on the scene within 90 seconds and people
were loading victims in to their police cars and taking them to the hospitals where the emergency system was activated, so that's the other thing i've been involved in after columbine and september 11th, helping local communities and state authorities come together to be able to have much better response teams and thank god for that because i think we have saved some people. >> when you talk about what good can come from evil, it's hard to imagine that this could have happened, the response as quickly as it did, as organized and on the scene and in the hospitals sadly if columbine and 9/11 hadn't happened. >> we saw that with columbine. some of the responses were delayed. some of the communication was bad and then, of course, with september 11th. we were able to pull the community responders together and that's i guess that's a silver lining. it's not much solace for the family who is lost their loved ones. >> well, we do thank you for
being with us. and i know you want to be with your family, with your husband an your daughter. but it's kind of you to take the time. >> i just want to thank everybody, all of your viewers and americans for the outpouring of love and affection they have shown for our community. it means a lot to us. >> it is so uniquely american how we respond in times of need. >> thank you so much. >> thank you, chris. >> good to see you. i'm sorry it's under these circumstances. >> thank you. >> diane degette of colorado. we are awaiting live remarks from president obama which we do expect to happen in this hour. it's already been a very busy day here in aurora. many developments. nbc's miguel amalguer has more on how the city is coping with the aftermath of the tragedy. ♪ >> reporter: on a day of prayer and reflection, a community torn apart by violence comes together. >> lots of us, maybe all of us, keep asking us why.
>> reporter: today they remember the victims. >> john larimer. matt. >> eventually, you get the spirit to go on but we'll never forget. >> reporter: the sorrow has spread across the nation. in texas, jessica ghawi's parents are grieving. >> no parent should go through. >> >> reporter: as survivors mourn, an air force reservist was trained for war. >> there was nowhere to hide. >> reporter: nothing prepared her for this. she lost her friend, jesse childress. >> him dying's been the hardest thing because, you know, i ended up with some buck shot in my hand but his life is gone. >> reporter: aurora was just ranked the ninth safest city in the country. >> welcome back. >> reporter: at rosy's diner, the busy sunday breakfast crowd is still in shock.
>> this is our theater. you would never guess something weird like that was going to happen in your backyard. >> reporter: sheryl grower has three daughters. rayna is 6 years old, the same as veronica moser. >> i tried to explain it as easily as i can to understand without going in to details. ♪ i once joets. >> reporter: three days have passed since the shooting. the emotion and tears here are still fresh as is the pain. >> and we're joined right now by one of the organizers of the vigil that's about to start withen the next half hour. colorado's state representative rhonda fields. thank you so much for coming back. >> thank you for having me. >> i think it is important to put in context you lost a son and his if i yeah santo gun violence and i can only imagine what happened when you found out what happened here in the theater. >> my heart just broke all over
again, especially for the mothers. it is a terrible thing to have to bury your child. look at today. we have the folks from around the community to support those who have been lost or those still in the hospital. >> you are someone who's been through this, and it has to be emotional in many ways for you to help organize this. what do you hope to accomplish? >> i hope this starts with the healing process because that's what's going to have to happen at some point. we have to heal and we have to restore the community, we have to rebuild our community. we're going to have to help each other. and i don't think we really truly understand how great our loss is yet. >> if a mother would come up to you who had lost a child -- >> yes. >> -- and i think of the mother who's in the hospital right now. >> oh my gosh. >> the 6-year-old girl was among the victims, the youngest of the victims, and said, i don't know how i'm going to go on, do you have advice? >> you know, chris, there is just no formula for dealing with grief. you know? i would just have to say that you have to take it one day at a
time. you can't have anybody rush you through the grieving process. you never really get over it. you just kind of live with a handicap. you live with that loss. you live with that deep hole in your heart. >> we know that the president is here right now. he's been speaking with the family members. we have already heard from the brother of one of the victims who said he thought it was an incredible experience. how important is it that the president came here today? >> it is so important because it lets us know what he cares about the tragedy happening in colorado and for him to take time to talk to victims and their family, sends a strong message that he cares about what's going on in our nation. >> tell us a little bit of what's happening here. what are we going to expect in this vigil. >> what you are going to hear today is some praise singing, some songs. there's going to be some words of encouragement. the's going to be some praise. there's going to be some worship. there's going to be prayers and i'm hoping that the president will also share some words of
comfort for us. i think that our state needs some healing now and it would be great to hear it from him. >> it has to be encouraging from you and maybe people find it strange but there's so many families here experiencing this together and parents who have to explain to their children what happened. >> i know. and i don't know how you even begin to have that kind of dialogue and that kind of conversation. alls i know, the reason you see so many families with children is aurora is a community that celebrates and embraces families and that's why people move here. we have great schools. we have great parks and recreation. this is a sad day for us. >> are you confident something goodwill come of this evil? >> you know, they say that evil can never prevail in the presence of goodness, so i'm believing that there has to be good that comes out of this. but it's too soon to say what that good is going to be. i'm just glad that the guy who did this horrible thing, this
evil act is in jail. and he'll never hurt another person again. >> it's so good of you to take the time. i know you have a vigil that you helped organize and you want to be a part of it so state representative rhonda fields, so wonderful to see you. >> thank you so much. >> again, helping to organize this memorial for victims of the mass shooting. and again, we're waiting for the president. he is expecting to come out of the university of colorado to speak shortly. there we see some of the police officers and they have been heralded for their quick response in the theater on friday morning. we are here live in aurora, colorado. we'll be right back. by what's getting done. the twenty billion dollars bp committed has helped fund economic and environmental recovery. long-term, bp's made a five hundred million dollar commitment to support scientists studying the environment. and the gulf is open for business - the beaches are beautiful, the seafood is delicious. last year, many areas even reported record tourism seasons.
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>> because i was there when it happened and i experienced the victims coming in the e.r. because i was having some symptoms and it was really shocking and i feel heart broken. >> been in colorado several years and this is becoming -- just too common here. after columbine and just keeps happening. and it has to stop. it just has to stop. >> people from this community have erected a makeshift memorial. we have seen hundreds of flowers left there, cards, stuffed animals, balloons. it's right across from the street from the theater where the shooting took place early friday morning and earlier today i spoke with one family who said they were at the memorial to pay their respects and show the world that the shooter was wrong. people really do care. >> we needed to pay our respects. i just feel awful. and i needed to do something. >> the community's greater than this tragedy, coming together as
a community. and show our respects and one deranged man can't take our community away from us. >> and it's really amazing to see what -- how the community's pulling together and as i was walking up i was thinking whatever he was trying to accomplish, he got the opposite because people clearly care. and it means a lot to me and i'm really glad i came and i got to see that. >> when you hear that a 6-year-old child is among the victims and looking at your beautiful family -- >> she's 6. that's why i can't let go of her. she's probably a big part of why i'm here. >> what do you tell your children? >> we have told them we've kept it very vague. we don't give them any details. that somebody did something crazy and hurt a lot of people and we're -- we continual reassure them we'll keep them safe but that we are very sad for the people that this did happen to.
>> we hear the stories from the families, the victims who say that the outpouring has been so tremendous and now the president is coming later today. can that help with the healing? >> certainly couldn't hurt. i mean, it's so much that has overwhelmed. i think everyone's support will make a difference. >> my conversation earlier today with one family, a mother, father, three beautiful children. among the many residents, not just of aurora but the entire area who were drawn there and really wanted to share in the support that they were showing for the people who have suffered such an enormous loss. nbc's miguel amalguer is with me, as well. what a crowd we have gathered here tonight, miguel. >> over the last hour or so we have seen them come in from the trick toll a flood now. we have seen service members walk by. members of the police department. i think folks are grateful for
all of the service and all of everyone just coming together and really supporting the men and women who are the first responders, some of the first folks there at the night of the shooting. >> you have gone around aurora. tell us what you have seen and heard and the people you have had a chance to speak with. >> this morning we were at a popular diner, a diner called rosy's where people go every week and thoughts and many parents were there. we spoke to a woman there with her 6-year-old daughter and thinking about the shooting, every time she thinks or hears news about what happened, she thinks of her daughter and would have done in that situation. later on in the afternoon, we went to a church that was having a service where they read one by one the names of all 12 victims. certainly a very touching moment there. folks who didn't necessarily know the victims and knows someone connected to the tragedy in one way or another. aurora, a third largest city here in colorado and a small community. >> the themes that do emerge
include this theme that people want to make sure that those victims are not forgotten, and we mentioned this just a short time ago that there was a tweet from the brother of one of the victims, jordan ghawi, when's been so amazing at getting his sister jessica's story out there. a beautiful 24-year-old aspiring sportscasters and this is what he tweeted. he said, sat down with president obama. he has been incredible. he, too, has agreed not to mention the shooter's name. and now we've heard from the campaign that that is true. that the president will not mention the name of the suspect in this case. and i think as i was saying that the stories that have come out about these victims and the promise that was lost, it does break your heart. >> we know in the first 12 victims lost their lives, those names weren't immediately released by the coroner's office or the police department but the family members that stepped forward and saying i have lost my son, my daughter. and i want to get their story out. i want to share their personal
story and kids, young adults. the oldest victim is 51. a grown man going to the movie with his daughter and wanted to share the loved ones' lives and what they were doing. an aspiring sportscasters. someone who just graduated high school. that 6-year-old taking swimming lessons. they found some comfort in other folks knowing each one of the people has a very special story an they wanted to share that with the rest of the community. >> the youngest, 6 years old. the oldest 51 years old. and three of the men lost their lives saving -- in two cases, their girlfriend and in one case a female friend who was a co-worker, as well. >> moving stories. when the gunshots rang out, the men that lost their lives had dove in front of their girlfriends to shield them with their own bodies to protect them and lost their lives in property sesz and very moving to hear that story. one was enlisted in the service. had -- was going back to reenlist and dove on his top of
his girlfriend and she told us, he was a hero and every day service to the country and also not just the hero the night he died but that's the way he lived his life. >> two members of the military. and you expect when you're some place like buckly air force base or another military base around the country, you do sadly sometimes expect to hear someone's lost in iraq, someone in afghanistan. but to get the word two of them were killed in a single moment in a movie theater is almost too hard to imagine. >> we spoke to one of the service members who was with one of the other service members, navyman, that lost his life, she said, you know, he always was a proud military service member and that he would have done happily given his life to save someone else and she felt that's what he did that night. >> miguel, thank you so much for sharing all of your stories. we do appreciate it. and we're still waiting for the president's remarks here in aurora, colorado, as well as the public vigil that's expected to start soon. we'll have it all for you live
right here on msnbc. >> we first moved out here, three months later columbine happened and it's been quite a few occasions that have brought our community together, our city, our state. and it's just very sad. you know? there's connections to people that we know that were there or -- and this is going to be a long time healing for everyone. . this summer put your family in an exceptionally engineered mercedes-benz now for an exceptional price during the summer event. but hurry, this offer ends july 31st. brave knights!rry, as you can clearly see from this attractive graph that our sales have increased by... sorry, my liege. honestly. our sales have increased by 20%. what is this mystical device i see before me? it's an ultrabook. he signed the purchase order.
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we are back live in aurora, colorado, and you can see the scene outside the municipal center. they were expecting a big crowd. well, already, this crowd has filled the lawn and they said that would be about 5,000 people. now it looks like there's an overflow and people looking for places to stand. and what's execed to be about an hour-long vigil and what looks like a prayer service with a lot of music and local pastors to speak. a community that's grieving. and they're hoping that this will be part of the healing process. we're also waiting for the
president of the united states. it's taking him longer than we expected or was on his schedule. he's been meeting with the family members of the victims and we are hearing from his office that he's just not rushing it. he's spending as much time as he feels he needs to with these families. so in the meantime, let me bring in the reverend dr. wellton gady. we're also joined again by eugene robinson at "the washington post." thank you so much for joining us. reverend, let me start with you. as someone who, i'm sure, has been called in times of sorrow to speak to your flock and tell them about words of comfort, how to deal, perhaps, with personal tragedies, how important do you think are the words that the president is going to say after he finishes meeting with the family members? >> it's the words that are very important. in fact, two things are happening there this evening
that each is terribly important. one is for the people to get together. it's very important in a time like this that those who want to do something have something to do and getting together with their friends and neighbors is one of the best things they can do. it's a good reminder that we always need each other. in crisis, we need each other. we need each other, encouraging one another. if there are no words to speak, at least to embrace. to put a hand on each other. the president's words will make possible this whole nation to put its hand on the shoulder of those people in aurora and to offer our comfort. we're dealing with people who are mixed emotions, mixed up about what's happened. wanting to make sense of something that doesn't make any sense. and i actually think what you
just said before you turned to me about the president taking his time is something that we can learn from. healing is important. but healing doesn't come quickly. healing takes time. and we need to give it all the time it needs so that we can eventually instead of moving from grief to grief to grief, we can move from grief to change that gives us a new day. >> we are getting some of the first pictures out of the these meetings that the president had. not just with family members of those whose lives were lost, but also, with some of the victims in the intensive care unit so the president has really been spending as we said a lot of time carefully listening to the stories of these families and did agree, we are getting confirmed by the campaign not to
mention the name of the shooter. and gene robinson, to the point of healing, and i know beautiful writer that you are, you would never presume to put words in the mouth of the president of the united states but what do you think it's important for him to say? what do you think it's important for the people of america to hear at a time like this where there's so much that is divided in our country? and where there's so much anger, frustration and heart break from what they have seen over what's happened here in aurora, colorado? >> i think the important thing is to speak from the heart. we are divided a country on many issues and i can think of issues relating to this shooting on which we're divided. we are divided on gun control. we can't figure out how to deal with mental health. but we are united in our grief, in our desire in our need to come together as the reverend said and to support the people
of aurora. so the president can speak from the heart. and also, he is a man of faith. and i think he can speak from that standpoint, as well, and speak of his own faith and perhaps help the people of aurora as they try to get through this. this is a community that's still traumatized. you are out there, chris. you know better than i. but i remember i went down to the virginia tech shootings which is just -- for days afterwards, there was just this feeling of almost stunned silence that people didn't know how to react and didn't know what to say and the president can begin this process of being able, even just to verbalize and to talk it out. at a time when we are literally traumatized. >> is there any perspective that can be given to an incident like
this, do you think, reverend? i mean, we are all looking for ways, again, just to try to make sense of it or to try to make it not seem as horrible as it so plainly is, as senseless as it soclear ly is. is there a perspective the president can give of good that comes from evil? >> well, i think there is. but you have to be very careful the way you do that. because if you make a quick transition to say from every evil act comes something good, that just isn't true. evil produces some good acts only if people make decisions and take positive actions to not let such evil happen again. and i think the president has a responsibility to assure the people in aurora and the people
in this nation that despite a political campaign, one of the most important things that can happen in our nation is to learn again the importance of coming together, not to critique each other, not to question each other, but to be together for the good of the community. he also can offer the reminder that the political leaders of this nation have a responsibility both political and moral to address the kinds of situations, whether it's mental care, whether it's what we do with guns, what we do what about law enforcement that the nation is going to do everything it can in a bipartisan way to make this a stronger, safer nation. healing comes when positive steps are taken. when positive steps are not taken, healing is delayed and
frustration grows. we don't want that to happen and the president can say, we're going to put you on a road in which something good can come from this. >> i want to mention that what we hear in the background is seeing here in aurora, colorado, a cappella selections of living hope baptist church preparing to get the vigil under way. at the bottom of the hour. in the meantime, we have been hearing from people inside these meetings with the president of the united states. we have been seeing just a few photographs that have been taken that show that the president has been spending a lot of time in deep personal conversation with the people whose lives have been so deeply touched by this tragedy. and gene, we have just about a minute or so. but some big picture thoughts if you will as you are someone who writes about these kinds of
incidents and whether it's the lessons we have learned or what it tells us about us as a nation, what are your thoughts tonight? >> you know, my thoughts are -- my one thought is enough. enough. i was down at virginia tech after that shooting. we've been through this too many times, chris. and so we do have to say, enough. we have to move beyond the acknowledgment and the grief and can we agree that we need to do something? that maybe there are things we can do. to prevent the next columbine and the next aurora and the next virginia tech. if we can just take that step and agree to agree then we will have begun as the minister said. i think we will have begun a
process of healing. >> msnbc political analyst gene robinson of "the washington post." thanks to you. reverend welton gaddy of the interfaith alliance, thank you again. i want to as we're waiting for the president want to go through the names of the people lost here because of the commitment that's been made by the president not to mention the shooter. and so many questions we've been asked to please not forget the victims. 6-year-old -- well, we're pause for a few moments to let the local nbc stations to join us for a nbc news special report. hello. i'm chris jansing here live in
aurora, colorado, where we are waiting to hear president obama speak. the president flew here late this afternoon. he's been meeting with the victims of the mass shooting at a local theater. 12 people were killed, 58 were wounded. here now the president of the united states. we are still waiting for the president. let me bring in miguel amalgeur and spent much time with the families of the victims and some people in the icu. >> much likely touched by the stories we have been hearing for the last several days of the victims that lost their lives, the youngest 6 years old, the oldest 51 years old. they were at the theater when the gunshots rang out. it's been a tough day for not just the community but, of course, for the victims of the family, the president spending some time with them to hear their concerns and, of course, now as this community gathers,
estimated 5,000 people coming to this memorial to share their grief together, this large remoirl. >> this is a prayer vigil and just over the last hour, it looks as though not only has the lawn completely been filled and the police told us earlier that would be 5,000 people, but even more, an overflow crowd. >> it's certainly a huge audience out here. it's going to be a very moving tribute, chris, when it does get under we. >> in the background as we're hearing is joyful music that's coming from a local church group from the baptist church here. we are waiting for the president of the united states who's surely at an emotional couple of hours spending time with these families, hearing their deeply personal stories and just giving them the comfort he can and now with his message to the nation, from the university of colorado hospital, let's go to the president of the united states when's approaching the podium to
give some words after spending several hours on the ground meeting with these families and meeting with these victims. 12 people who were killed. 58 who were injured. 24 of them still in the hospital. nine of them still in intensive care. and word that we got sadly from the mayor just a little earlier today that some of them still are facing a life threatening condition. and it's so against that background of shock of the violence of what happened inside that movie theater of the absolute chaos that happened, of the word that the youngest victim was just 6 years old, there was a single mother among those who died there. a 51-year-old father who had come with his two teenage daughters that he was among the victims there. there were also at least three men who literally stood in front
of bullets, who protected in two cases their girlfriends, in another case, aember of the military who was there with a friend of his from the local air force base, buckley air force base and she tells the story of how he saved her life by protecting her. there's 24-year-old alex teves. 27-year-old alex sullivan. he was at that movie theater celebrating his birthday. today, sunday, would have been his 1-year anniversary. and miguel, talking to some of the families, you realize how much promise was lost here. >> yeah, chris. we expected to hear from the president earlier today. just delayed because he spent so much time with the families. he wanted to get to know them, to hear their stories, to be a part of their lives and certainly he was delayed a bit here and the other folks that didn't meet with the president
and affected by the stories joined us out here for the large memorial. and now up to 5,000 people who gathered here, hearing the stories of the victims and the survivors, they're rallying together. they wanted to be together. aurora, third largest city in the state of colorado but certainly has the small town feel. the community gathering to be together. >> we did see a tweet from one of the people able to meet with the president when's the brother of jessica ghawi. she's a 24-year-old. she grew up in texas. big football state but she was known to be a hockey fan and she was an aspiring sportscasters. he was the first family member who came out and he said, i want people to know about my sister. i want people to know what was lost and he tweeted about how great it was for him to meet with the president and how he was so happy because the president had agreed not to mention the name of the shooter. and we did get confirmation from the campaign that the president
has, indeed, agreed not to do that. and miguel, you have spent a lot of time in the community together. we see, obviously, the tremendous response here with more than 5,000 people. but in churches and diners and local sandwich shops collecting money for the victims' families. we have seen a tremendous outpouring. here now, after meeting with the families, the president of the united states. >> good afternoon, everybody. i want to begin by just thanking all of the state, local and federal officials who have responded magnificently to this tragedy. governor hickenlooper who has already been dealing with a range of natural disasters here in the state has been an extraordinary example of strength. the mayor who has only been on
the job seven months and obviously has responded with great strength and leadership. the police chief who, you know, we had an opportunity to speak over the phone. chief oates has been dealing with as difficult a set of circumstances as any law enforcement officer deals with. and he and his officers have done everything right, by the book, with great courage and great determination. and so, we're very proud of them and i think i speak for the entire congressional delegation who's here, as well. you know, scripture says that he will wipe away every tear from their eyes. and death shall be no more. neither shall there be mourning,
nor crying, nor pain anymore for the former things have passed away. and when you have an opportunity to visit with families who have lost their loved ones, as i described to them, i come to them not so much as president as i do as a father and as a husband. and i think that the reason stories like this have such an impact on us is because we can all understand what it would be to have somebody that we love taken from us in this fashion. what it would be like. and how it would impact us. i had a chance to visit with each family. and most of the conversation was filled with memory. it was an opportunity for families to describe how wonderful their brother or their
son or daughter was. and the lives that they had touched and the dreams that they held for the future. i confessed to them that words are always inadequate in these kinds of situations but that my main task was to serve as a representative of the entire country and let them know that we are thinking about them at this moment and we'll continue to think about them each and every day. and that the -- that the awareness that not only all of america but much of the world is thinking about them might serve as some comfort. i also tried to assure them that although the perpetrator of this evil act has received a lot of attention over the last couple of days, this attention 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 are impacted by this tragedy. and i also had a chance to give folks some hugs and to shed some tears but also to share some laughs as they remembered the wonderful lives that these men and women represented. i also had a chance for the natalie to visit some folks who are going to be okay, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the staff at this hospital. and i just want to thank everybody who's worked tirelessly here to deal with this tragedy. some of the stories are remarkable.
you know, you see young people who have come in and just two days ago or 36 hours ago or even 24 hours ago it wasn't certain whether they'd make it. and now suddenly, their eyes are open, they're alert and they're talking, and it reminds you that even in the darkest of days, you know, life continues. and people are strong. and people bounce back and people are resilient. and particularly given the fact that so many of the victims were young. it is a great blessing to see how rapidly they're able to recover from some pretty devastating injuries. there's one particular story i want to tell because this was the last visit that i had. and i think it's representative
of everything that i saw and heard today. i had a chance just now about five minutes ago with visit with aly young, aly is 19 years old. and i also had a chance to visit with aly's best friend, stephanie daveys who's 21. stephanie was actually down stairs with aly, as well as aly's parents when i walked in to the room. and i don't think this story's been heard, at least i hadn't read it yet but i wanted to share it with you. when the gunman initially came in and threw the canisters, he threw them only a few feet away from aly and stephanie who were sitting there watching the film. aly stood up, saying that she might need to do something or at least warn the other people who were there.
and she was immediately shot. and she was shot in the neck and it punctured a vein and immediately she started spurting blood and apparently as she dropped down on the floor, stephanie, 21 years old, had the presence of mind to drop down on the ground with her, pull her out of the aisle, place her fingers over where she -- where aly had been wounded and applied pressure the entire time while the gunman was still shooting. aly told stephanie, she needed to run. stephanie refused to go. instead, actually with her other hand called 911 on her cell phone. once the s.w.a.t. team came in, they were still trying to clear
the theater, stephanie then with the help of several others carries aly across two parking lots to where the ambulance is waiting. and because of stephanie's timely actions, i just had a conversation with aly downstairs and she is going to be fine. i don't know how many people at any age would have the presence of mind that stephanie did. or the courage that aly showed. and so, as tragic as the circumstances of what we have seen today are, as heart breaking as it is for the families, it's worth us spending most of our time reflecting on young americans like aly and
stephanie. because they represent what's best in us. and they assure us that out of this darkness a brighter day's going to come. to the entire community of aurora, the country is thinking of you. i know that there's going to be a vigil and an opportunity for everybody to come together. and i hope that all of those in attendance understand that the entire country will be there in prayer and reflection today. so, thank you. god bless you. god bless all who helped to respond to this tragedy and i hope that over the next several days, next several weeks and months we reflect on how we can do something about some of the senseless violence that ends up
marring this country but also reflect on all of the wonderful people who make this the greatest country on earth. thank you very much, everybody. >> the president also a father and a husband, recounting a remarkable story of heroism as he spoke at the university of colorado hospital here in aurora where he was with the families. spent so much time for with them and a message for the country that out of the darkness will come a brighter day. also, the vigil continues. we'll have continuing coverage on msnbc. we now return viewers on nbc stations to your regularly scheduled programming in progress. i'm chris jansing in aurora, california. this has been a nbc news special report.
and we are back again outside of the vigil where there are at least thousands of people gathered. we have been hearing from the chairman of the key community response team. people who do respond in the city of aurora in times of need. this is john gay. we now turn you over to him and to this memorial service. >> one would ask why. because our city and state was proactive and has prepared themselves since columbine for an unforeseen emergency or tragic events. with regard to this tragedy, prepared and timely support came to our city's aid from many agencies like the feds, the states, the countries, the counties, the surrounding municipalities with willing
offered medical and mental health services. [ applause ] those who extended facility use and much needed charity, the merchants and vendors who gave their services, food and drink willingly. [ applause ] also, needed support was extended by our faith-based community and from many citizen volunteers. i, we, aurora. [ applause ] and the state of colorado wishes to thank them for they are what makes aurora an all-american city. [ applause ]
i want the nation to remember aurora not for this tragic event but for the way aurora is a city united responded to this tragedy. our city will be stronger and greater because of our adversity. and our citizens and our city will survive, prevail and prosp prosper. aurora's responded well because of its tremendous leadership, by chief oates, chief garcia, mayor hogan and others. [ applause ]
by the well trained service providers and most importantly by our concerned, caring and supportive citizens like all of you here tonight. [ applause ] aurora is and will always remain an all-american city. your presence here tonight is most appreciated and welcomed because it helps to start the healing process for all our american city of aura wurora an
our great state of colorado. threat heal process begin. [ applause ] our prayers are extended to all of those who have been directly or indreektly affected by this unforgivable tragedy. may god bless them, embrace them and may he be with us all during this time of adversity. reflection and healing. may his grace bless us. may peace and tranquility prevail among us all as we go forth from this evening. thank you all. [ applause ] now it's my distinct pleasure to introduce james conley for the convocation. bishop? >> mayor hogan, members of the
city council of auwuroraurora, d clergy, my brothers and sisters, tonight we come together to pray and to be with one another. some of us are survivors, family members or friends of those who suffered through this senseless and evil act of violence which took place early friday morning. all of us in this local community were affected by what happened here on friday. and we'll never be the same. this senseless and evil act of violence has left many of us wandering how and why this could happen. these questions arise when the every day