Colorado Rep. Coffman: I expected this level of violence in Iraq

Rachel Rose Hartman
July 20, 2012

Colorado Republican Rep. Mike Coffman on Friday compared the violence at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater overnight to the war in Iraq.

"I expected incidents to occur at this level of violence in Iraq ... not Aurora," Coffman, a combat veteran of the Gulf War and the Iraq War, told CBS Denver Friday morning.

Coffman, who grew up in Aurora and now represents a portion of the city in the 6th District, said he spoke with Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan this morning. "It was such a shock to the mayor, such a shock to me and to the whole community," Coffman said. He described the city—the third largest in the state—as largely suburban with a strong military presence.

A gunman opened fire at an Aurora movie theater's midnight opening of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises." At least 12 victims were reported dead, according to local news reports Friday morning, and around 50 injured.

Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter of the 7th District told CBS Denver Friday he first learned of the news via text from the White House. "I feel terrible for the people who were innocent and just shot by this sucker," Perlmutter said, adding that he is "in shock" and mourning along with many people in the community. He lamented about "crazed young men who are psychotic and have pretty powerful weapons" and asked the public to "pray for people and put our arms around each other."

Perlmutter referred to the alleged shooter as a "psychotic son of a bitch" in a separate interview with KOA radio.

Colorado lawmakers and others expressed great sympathy Friday for the dead and wounded at the scene.

"This is not only an act of extreme violence, it's also an act of depravity," Denver Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement. "It is beyond the power of words to fully express our sorrow this morning. Our prayers and condolences go first to the families of those killed, and we share the grief of everyone affected by this senseless event." Other representatives weighed in.

From Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock:

It is a tragic day for all of us when innocent people fall to senseless violence. On behalf of my family and the City of Denver, we offer condolences, prayers and support to those hurt by this heinous crime. Our hearts are broken but we are determined to move forward together. Denver is working diligently with neighboring Aurora officials, law enforcement and emergency responders to provide any assistance and resources needed. We stand at the ready to support the individuals and families affected by this senseless, senseless act.

From Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet:

This was a horrible, senseless and abhorrent act. My family and I are shocked and deeply saddened this morning and our hearts are with the victims and their families. My staff and I are in contact with and offering our support to law enforcement and medical officials as they respond to the shooting.

From Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette, 1st District:

This morning, our Colorado community has been shaken by an inexplicable and horrific act of violence against so many innocent men, women, and children. We are all profoundly saddened by this senseless attack. My family and I join with all Coloradoans and those across the country today in praying for the victims and their families and loved ones. While we do not yet know the identities of the victims, in the coming days and weeks I know that all of us in the Denver-area will offer our support and assistance to those impacted by this shocking tragedy.

From Democratic Rep. Jared Polis, 2nd District:

The thoughts and prayer of all Coloradans are with the victims of this horrific act of violence in Aurora. I know that all of our neighbors will reach out to offer assistance and condolences to their families and loved ones in this difficult time. I appreciate the work of local law enforcement officials who have acted swiftly to protect Coloradans from further acts of violence.

From Republican Rep. Scott Tipton, 3rd District:

Last night's shooting in Aurora, Co. was senseless and horrifying. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those that were tragically killed—may they find strength and peace during this difficult time—as well as for those that were wounded; that they make a full recovery.

From Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, 4th District:

Colorado and the nation woke up this morning to news of horrendous tragedy; our prayers are with each and every one of the victims and their families. Law enforcement is doing what they do best—acting bravely in the face of violence and we are all grateful for their service. In the hours and days to come, we will learn the answers we so desperately seek to fully understand what happened. Those responsible will be brought to justice.

From Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, 5th District:

These shootings are senseless and tragic. The hearts of all Coloradans go out to the victims, the survivors, and their families. Our law enforcement and criminal justice systems must have all the resources needed to bring the perpetrator to full justice. In times of tragedy, the people of Colorado have a well-deserved reputation for coming together, and this time will be no different.