Obama’s visit to Aurora draws details of victims, survivors

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AURORA | President Barack Obama touched down in Aurora and met with shooting victims and their families for almost three hours before addressing the press from the Anschutz Campus in Aurora.

His visit came as Aurora reeled from one of the worst mass shootings in the nation’s history. In his conversations with the families, Obama said they spoke mostly about memories of the people killed.

“I also had the chance to give folks some hugs, to shed some tears but also to share some laughs as they remembered the wonderful lives that these men and women represented,” he said.

During his address, Obama dramatically told the story of Allie Young, 19, who was shot in the neck, and her friend Stephanie Davies, whose quick thinking likely saved Young’s life.

The president said after Young was shot, Davies pulled her out of harm’s way and held her fingers to her friend’s neck to stop the bleeding. Holding his fingers to his neck the way Davies did for Young, Obama said Young told Davies to flee, but she refused, staying with her friend until the shooting stopped. Then, with the help of a few others, she carried Young two parking lots away to an ambulance.

“Because of Stephanie’s timely actions, I just had a conversation with Allie downstairs and she is gonna be fine,” he said.  “I don’t know how many people at any age would have the presence of mind that Stephanie did or the courage that Allie showed.”

Obama, flanked by Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, Gov. John Hickenlooper, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates, Congressman Ed Perlmutter and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, spoke for about 10 minutes near the hospital pharmacy where he thanked state and local officials who responded to the tragedy “magnificently.”

Obama said Hickenlooper was an extraordinary example of strength in the face of the shootings and the recent wildfires that battered much of the state. He also commended Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan and Oates.

“Chief Oates has been dealing with as difficult a set of circumstances as any law enforcement official deals with and he and his officers have done everything right, by the book, with great courage and great determination,” Obama said.

Obama also quoted a scripture from the book of Revelation that said, in part, God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more.” He said he visited the families of victims “not so much as president as I do as a father and as a husband.”

The attacks resonate, Obama said, because people can easily imagine themselves in the families’ shoes.

“We can all understand what it would be like to have someone that we love taken from us in this fashion,” he said.

In his conversations with the families at the hospital, Obama said they spoke mostly about memories of the people killed.

The hospital is about five miles from the Century Aurora 16 theater where police say 24-year-old James Holmes shot 70 people, killing 12, during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

The hospital is on the same campus as the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where Holmes, who was arrested minutes after the shooting, studied neuroscience until he left the school this year. The campus sits just a block away from Holmes’ booby-trapped apartment on Paris Street.

Hospital spokeswoman Erika Matich said Sunday that 12 people were treated and released, one died and 10 remain hospitalized. Matich said seven of those patients are in critical condition and three are in good condition.

Finding words in a situation like this isn’t easy, Obama later told the press.

“I confessed to them that words are always inadequate in these situations, but that my main task was to serve as a representative for the entire country and to let them know we are thinking about them at this moment and will continue to think about them each and every day,” he said.

He also said the attention the accused shooter is getting will soon fade.

“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,” he said. “It reminds you that even in the darkest of days, life continues and people are strong and people bounce back and people are resilient.”

The president encouraged people to reflect on the actions of Young and Davies.

“To the community of Aurora, the entire country is thinking of you,” he said.

He also said he hopes people reflect on violence acts like those in Aurora.

“Hopefully we all reflect on how we can do something about some of the senseless violence that ends up marring this wonderful country,” he said.

 

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theQ
theQ
10 years ago

You need to pander for all the votes you can get.

reader
reader
10 years ago

to “theQ” – what a cruel statement to make as people are trying to heal from
this tragedy. 

Can’t we just put politics aside for at least a couple of days? 

Can’t we think of the victims and their families, as well as everyone else affected, or
is the need to politicize this more important?

Shame on you!

Person
Person
10 years ago

I echo reader’s sentiments.  Shame, shame, shame on you, the Q.  I, for one, am honored and touched that our President cares so very much about the people of Aurora and all people, everywhere. 

theQ
theQ
10 years ago

You people are stupid beyond belief…your programmed idiots…shame on you for being so uneducated about your elected criminals…obama don’t think of noone but his election and im sure he cares but he knows in the back of his mind this makes him look good,..so shut up you obama ball sniffing idiots.

theQ
theQ
10 years ago
Reply to  theQ

There is a hundred different disasters obama could attend…..he will always do the one that would pander to the stupid for more votes.