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AANS Spotlight – Neurosurgeons Serve as Real-life Superheroes Following Colorado Shootings

The AANS Neurosurgeon is official socioeconomic publication of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons which features information and analysis for contemporary neurosurgical practice.  It focuses on issues related to legislation, workforce and practice management as they affect the specialty of neurosurgery.  In today’s post we are spotlighting snippets of a piece by John Iwanski, AANS Director of Member and Public Outreach on how neurosurgeons served as real-life superheroes following the Colorado shootings.

AANS Neurosurgeon
John Iwanski

The night of July 20, 2012, is one that the neurosurgeons and staff of six Denver-area hospitals never will forget. Shortly after midnight, a masked gunman wearing tactical body armor walked into an opening-night screening of the final installment of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, “The Dark Knight Rises,” at the Century 16 theatres in Aurora, Colo. After setting off tear-gas grenades, suspect James Egan Holmes — who was in the process of withdrawing from the University of Colorado-Denver’s graduate neuroscience program — began opening fire in the crowded theatre. The suspect was armed with two .40-caliber Glock handguns and 3,000 rounds of ammunition; a Remington 870 single-barrel 12-gauge pump shotgun and 300 rounds of ammo; and a Smith & Wesson AR-15 assault rifle with 3,000 rounds of ammunition and a drum clip.

The first phone calls to emergency services via 911 came in at 12:39 a.m. Police arrived less than two minutes later, and watched as the wounded and other survivors escaped out of the theatre. They eventually would arrest Holmes outside the theatre near his car, which was parked near a back entrance. Seventy individuals were shot during the incident, 12 of them fatally — 10 of the victims were killed at the theatre, and two more died at local hospitals as a result of their injuries. It was the highest number of casualties ever as the result of a mass shooting in the U.S.  Read the full article here.

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