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Jan. 8, 2013 at 11:59 AM   |   Comments

Day 2 of Colo. theater shooting hearing

CENTENNIAL, Colo., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The hearing to determine whether James Holmes will stand trial for the deadly Aurora, Colo., theater shooting entered its second day Tuesday.

Chief Judge William Sylvester heard emotional testimony in the first day of testimony Monday, with veteran police officers breaking down as they described the horror of the scene and watched a surveillance video from the site.

Two officers teared up as they recounted the details of the shooting, ABC News reported.

Sgt. Gerald Jonsgaard took a second to compose himself after describing finding the body of 6-year-old Veronica Moser Sullivan inside the theater.

Officer Justin Grizzle testified that when he arrived, paramedics had not yet made it to the theater, so he began taking victims to the hospital in his squad car.

"I knew I needed to get them to the hospital now," Grizzle said, tearing up. "I didn't want anyone else to die."

Holmes is charged with 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and weapons violations for the July 20 shooting that killed 12 people and injured 58 others. He is being held in Centennial, Colo. Holmes has yet to enter a plea.

A video from the shooting scene showed employees at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora drop to the floor and dozens of people rushing to exit the theater, The Denver Post reported.

It also showed Holmes walking into the theater, wearing a long-sleeved shirt, dark pants and a dark beanie stocking cap.

Aurora Police Detective Matthew Ingui testified witnesses described Holmes as "very calm and moving with purpose" inside the theater.


Giffords website pushes gun violence curbs

TUCSON, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Ex-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband launched a website urging gun violence curbs Tuesday, the anniversary of the mass shooting in which she was hit.

"Two years ago, a mentally ill young man shot me in the head, killed six of my constituents, and wounded 12 others," Giffords, D-Ariz., wrote on AmericansForResponsibleSolutions.org. "Since that terrible day, America has seen 11 more mass shootings -- but no response from Congress to prevent gun violence."

The website also features a commentary written by Gifford and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, published in USA Today Tuesday.

"This country is known for using its determination and ingenuity to solve problems, big and small. Wise policy has conquered disease, protected us from dangerous products and substances, and made transportation safer," the commentary said. "But when it comes to protecting our communities from gun violence, we're not even trying -- and for the worst of reasons."

The commentary said the website "will invite people from around the country to join a national conversation about gun violence prevention, [and] will raise the funds necessary to balance the influence of the gun lobby."


Drone attack in Pakistan kills seven

ISLAMABAD, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Attacks by U.S. unmanned aircraft killed seven militants in Pakistan's northwest tribal region Tuesday, Pakistani officials said.

Officials said two foreign fighters, reportedly from Uzbekistan, were among those killed when missiles struck two buildings near Mir Ali in North Waziristan region, the BBC reported Tuesday.

North Waziristan is a stronghold for militants operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Mullah Nazir, a senior Taliban commander, was killed in a drone strike in South Waziristan last week.

A militant training camp was hit during the weekend, officials said.

More than two dozen people have been killed in drone attacks since Jan. 1, the BBC said.

Use of drones has been a sore point between U.S. and Pakistani officials, who say the strikes kill civilians and violate Pakistan's sovereignty.


Home of Venezuelan microblogger raided

VALENCIA, Venezuela, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Venezuelan intelligence officers raided the home of a microblogger allegedly spreading false information on the health of Hugo Chavez, Chavez supporters said.

Federico Medina Ravell was not at home at the time but Chavez supporters said officers confiscated several computers, Britain's The Guardian reported.

Medina is the cousin of Alberto Federico Ravell, a well-known opposition journalist and co-founder of Globovision, a major news broadcaster and staunch critic of the Chavez government.

He is suspected of instigating terrorism through social networking sites and is believed to be behind a Twitter account that claims Chavez will not return from Cuba where he is recuperating from cancer surgery.

"We have to confront this impressive power on social networks that is able to destroy the consciousness of a people with ill-intentioned and misconstrued news," said Piedad Cordoba, a long-time Chavez ally.

Analysts on the state-backed channel Telesur charge the government is under information attack.


Toddler dies after ingesting chili powder

APPLE VALLEY, Calif., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- A 21-year-old California woman is being held on $500,000 bond in connection with the death of a toddler who ingested chili power, police said.

The 2-year-old girl suffered a seizure on Sunday after ingesting the spicy powder and San Bernardino sheriff's deputies arrested the father's girlfriend, The San Bernardino Sun reported.

Amanda Sorensen of High Desert was taken into custody on suspicion of child abuse, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A court appearance is set for Wednesday.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of the toddler's death.

Police did not release the name of the victim.

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