Aurora releases report on response to 2012 theater shooting

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Aurora theater shooting, July 20, 2012

AURORA, Colo. — The city of Aurora released a heavily redacted 188-page report Wednesday about the emergency response to the July 20, 2012, deadly movie theater shooting.

LINK: After Action Review Report

Twelve people were killed and 58 others were injured at the midnight showing of “The Dark Night Rises” at the Century Aurora 16 Multiplex Theater. James Holmes stands accused of the shooting and is awaiting trial. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The report was ordered released by a judge in August and the city had until Tuesday to appeal.The report says the first police unit arrived less than two minutes from the first 911 call and multiple responders arrived within three minutes and details what went right and what went wrong on the night of the shooting.

“The combined actions of Aurora police, fire and public safety communications saved all the injured who had suffered survivable wounds. Police apprehended XXXXXXX (James Holmes) immediately upon arrival at the scene. These optimum results were obtained thanks to many individual police officers and firefighters making sound emergency decisions under great pressure.

“Overall, there probably could not have been much better deployment and results than the Aurora police achieved. They deployed on the fly, with self-deployments initially, then gradually implementing more formal incident command. The one large exception to the success was the inadequate relationship with fire department command during the key part of the incident, but that did not affect the outcome — at least not this time.”

More than 80 recommendations were added to the report that could have made the response better, including better communication between police and fire responders.

“While there are things to improve, as is always found in hindsight, the City of Aurora should be proud of its response to the largest civilian shooting in U.S. history, and the largest mass casualty incident in Aurora’s history. … The outcome could not have been better in terms of lives saved and a rapid arrest,” the report says. “The neighboring jurisdictions and federal agencies, especially the FBI, provided excellent, timely assistance in force.

“The City is aware of the lessons learned, and has already taken measures to implement changes. It is hoped that the findings and recommendations will be useful to other jurisdictions as well.”