Aurora theater shooting case: Victims, families hear shooting details for first time since gag order

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. - A long line of survivors of the Aurora theater shooting and family members of some of the victims went to court Monday to attend the preliminary hearing of accused killer James Holmes.

"I just needed to see and hear," said the mother of shooting survivor Heather Snyder.

While the victims and family members know what happened to them and their loved ones, they know little about Holmes' arrest and other details about the case because of a judge's gag order issued three days after Holmes' arrest.

During the preliminary hearing, prosecutors are expected to detail the case against Holmes. The judge will then decide if there's enough evidence to put Holmes on trial for the murders of 12 people and the attempted murders of 70 others injured in the theater shooting on July 20, 2012.

Among the family members at the hearing Monday morning were relatives of 25-year-old Ashley Moser.

Moser was shot multiple times and her 6-year-old daughter, Veronica Moser, was killed.

Ashley Moser also miscarried after the shooting. She is still recovering from her wounds and is in a wheelchair because she is partially paralyzed.

In court, Aurora Police Officer Justin Grizzle talked about rescuing Ashley Moser and her partner.

Ashley was in the back seat and her boyfriend was in the front seat of his police cruiser.

Grizzle testified that Ashley was shot in the face and stomach. The man was injured.

For about half the trip, with the patrol car lights flashing and sirens blaring, Grizzle said he had to restrain the man from jumping out of the car.

"The man kept asking where his 7-year-old daughter was," Grizzle said.

The next officer to testify, Specialist Sgt. Jerald Jonsgaard, said he found the little girl inside the theater and she was Veronica Moser Sullivan.

"I checked for a pulse, she was dead," the emotional officer said. "I could see one shot to the abdomen area."

The survivors and victims' families also heard from the officer who arrested Holmes outside the theater.

Officer Jason Oviatt said Holmes was wearing body armor and was still armed when he was arrested.

A second officer, Aaron Blue, testified about trying to save other shooting victims.

Blue said a sergeant told him to get his patrol car to transport people to the hospital, because ambulances couldn't reach victims near the theater's emergency exit area because crowds and vehicles were blocking the path.

Blue said he drove over curbs and around people to get to another officer who was pulling a woman out of the theater who had been shot in the head and leg.

Blue testified he later learned that was Jessica Ghawi.

Blue said a colleague, Officer Williams, drove as Blue held Ghawi in the back seat.

"Every time she moved, she stopped breathing," said Blue.

Ghawi did not survive.

The preliminary hearing is expected to last several days.

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