Saturday, July 20, 2013

Revisiting my week in Aurora via Twitter archive: From first on scene to follow-up

One year later, and I think it's a good time to allow myself to look back for a reminder of what it was like to cover the tragedy we are all remembering today.


I happened to be scheduled on-call the night of the theater shooting. It's a night I'll never forget. I hadn't quite gotten into REM sleep. I answered the phone just a few minutes after the shooting had occurred, but we didn't know what was going on-- only that it sounded bad and that it seemed like every ambulance in the metro area was heading there.



By the time I sent my first bleary-eyed tweet of the night, we were fairly certain that we were dealing with a mass shooting, but we didn't want to sound a false alarm. I also made a typo on I-225.

By the time Scott Wright and I arrived to set up the first live shot, we had confirmed at least the type of incident we were dealing with, so I made up a hashtag that would make a LOT of repeat appearances:


It was here that I started interviewing people who'd been in the theaters. Scott and I provided the first broadcast live shot from the scene. We flew solo for about 20 minutes. As more of the 9NEWS team showed up, we started to get official information, which in the initial chaos had some errant numbers.

On my way back from the first press conference with police, I snapped this photo that will be forever seared into my brain:


The national interest was immediate:


We spent a lot of time trying to confirm or deny what people inside the theater thought they saw.


And then came the other shoe:




The next day, I was sent to the suspect's apartment:


...and ended up on a white-knuckled chase of the motorcade heading to the bomb range.


Then, President Obama decided to visit the grief-stricken community.




And we all got our first look at a suspect that gave us more questions than answers.




The newsroom returned to "normal," as newsrooms eventually must.


But the experience is one that will be with us for the rest of our lives.

I feel for the people who witnessed the violence firsthand, and I'm proud we were able to do our part to inform the community at a time of incomprehensible horror.




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