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CNHI News Service

July 24, 2012

Town mourns as new details emerge in Colorado rampage

AURORA, Colo. — Sunday was a prayerful day of official and unofficial mourning in this shattered community. The president of the United States flew into town to console the families of those slain and wounded, thousands of residents gathered for an evening memorial service, and hundreds more huddled in the rain for a prayer vigil across the street from the site of Friday's shooting rampage.

It now appears that the casualties could have been even more horrific. The gunman's semiautomatic assault rifle jammed and prevented him from emptying a 100-round magazine of ammunition, according to a law enforcement source.

There also emerged a new twist in the narrative that indicates that the alleged shooter, identified by authorities as James Holmes, 24, did not immediately surrender to police and could have come close to eluding capture by slipping away in the guise of a SWAT team officer.

Holmes, being held without bond at the Arapahoe County Jail, will appear in court for the first time Monday.

"Aurora is strong," said one handwritten sign at a makeshift memorial site marked with 12 white crosses near the Century 16 movie complex, where the gunman burst into a midnight screening of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."

Sunday evening, thousands of people filled a plaza in front of Aurora's city hall for the memorial vigil. The event blended familiar rituals of mass grief — American flags waved, and mourners laid flowers and lighted candles — with symbols of the young fan community that had gathered in the theater that night. One man held up a sign that combined the Batman bat silhouette with the "C" on Colorado's flag. A woman paired the bat with a bright-red heart. "Hope Lives," that sign said. Police officers watched from the rooftops.

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