Centennial - When the accused gunman in a Colorado shooting rampage appeared in court on Monday, Tom Teves, father of a young man who died shielding his girlfriend, felt he had a duty to be in court.
"Somebody had to be in the courtroom to say, you know what, you went in with ballistic protection and guns. You shot a 6-year-old! I mean give me a break," Teves said after the court hearing.
"And then when the cops came you gave up? You've got the ballistic protection on - take on some guys who know how to use guns," he said.
Teves' son Alex was killed in the hail of gunfire unleashed during what began as a festive midnight premiere on Friday for the new Batman film in the Denver suburb of Aurora. Alex Teves, aged 24, died as he shielded his girlfriend, Amanda Lindgren, from harm in the chaos of the dark cinema.
James Holmes, who was arrested outside the cinema shortly after the massacre, said nothing during his first court appearance and may not have noticed Tom Teves.
Lindgren, also 24, had tears pouring down her face as she talked about her love for Alex, who she said was her best friend before they started dating.
Sadness and anger
"He protected me. My baby didn't hesitate. I was very confused, and he didn't hesitate," Lindgren said.
Ryan Cooper, who knew Teves from their time at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix and then together at the University of Arizona, said his friend was "absolutely hilarious" and transcended social borders.
"Every single day of high school, he would wear jeans and a plain white T-shirt. Every single day. There was not a single day he didn't," Cooper said.
"One day a bunch of his friends decided, 'we're going to have an Alex Tuesday'. And the entire school wore jeans and a plain white T-shirt. There were hundreds of people. That was just a testament to who he was."
On Monday, Tom Teves wavered between sadness and anger, tears welling up in his eyes as he criticised the man accused of killing his son of cowardice.
"My kid is dead and he's never coming back, and he was one of the best people on Earth. And I gotta look at that coward walking into court," he said. "And I saw the coward in court today. Alex could have wiped the floor with him without even
breaking a sweat."
The family is planning memorial services in Arizona and New Jersey.
"We're gonna miss him terribly and we love him, but we know he's in heaven and he's gonna be OK," Teves said. "We're the ones who are going to suffer."
On Monday an attorney representing the family of Holmes said his mother's initial comment to ABC News on the morning of the shooting had been misconstrued.
Reading a statement she attributed to Arlene Holmes, San Diego-based attorney Lisa Damiani said Arlene Holmes' comment "You have the right person" to an ABC reporter referred to herself, not her son James as some media have suggested.
Arlene Holmes made the comment when the ABC reporter phoned her early on Friday morning and asked if she was Arlene Holmes and if James Holmes was her son, Damiani said. Her comment has been misconstrued to suggest she was not surprised by her son's alleged involvement in the shooting.
At a press conference outside her office, Damiani said the Holmes family is choosing not to discuss James Holmes or his relationship with the family at this time. She declined to answer questions about the family's whereabouts.
The Holmeses were "doing as well as they can under the circumstances", said Damiani, whose comments came several hours after James Holmes' initial appearance in a Colorado court.