James Mapes: Charge dismissed for taking gun into theater, but he's not out of the woods

james mapes mug shot cropped.jpg
Big photo below.
Last week, we told you the story about James Mapes, who was arrested for bringing a gun into a Thornton movie house the weekend after the Aurora theater shooting. At the time, we quoted a Thornton Police rep who said that despite the fear caused among patrons, the city attorney might not charge Mapes, and that's how it turned out. But he's not yet in the clear.

According to Officer Matt Barnes, spokesman for the Thornton PD, corresponding via e-mail, "The Deputy City Attorney filed a motion to dismiss the charge without prejudice yesterday, and it was granted by the municipal judge."

However, he adds, "The dismissal without prejudice allows the Adams County District Attorney's Office to continue review of the case presented by the police department, and determine if any violation of state law has occurred."

What happened? Here's how Mapes describes the incident and his subsequent arrest, which he blamed in large part on "that jackass in Aurora" -- James Holmes, who's been accused of killing twelve people and injuring more than fifty others.

"It wasn't really a political statement," Mapes added. "I just went to see a movie. But it's a political statement that one madman out of four-and-a-half-million people shouldn't be dictating to the rest of us that we should stay in our houses."

cinebarre thornton.jpg
Inside the Cinebarre.
As we reported, Mapes describes himself as a regular patron of Cinebarre theater in Thornton, which he's been visiting since it opened several years ago, as well as a movie fan in general; he goes to shows every week or two, he estimates. Moreover, he frequently carries a gun with him when he does so. In most cases, the weapon is covered, but not always, depending on the time of year and the amount of clothing he's wearing due to the weather, and he says he's never before had a problem or caused concerns.

Because July 29, the night of the incident, was warm when he got home from work, he showered and donned shorts and a T-shirt. He declined to provide the full slogan on the shirt he wore, which starts with the word "LIBERALISM," but insists that his attire wasn't politically calculated, either. The shirt was handy, so he threw it on without giving it much thought, never believing that it'd imply he'd set out to be arrested, and headed to the theater to catch The Watch, a new comedy about neighborhood watch volunteers confronting aliens that stars Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill.

By the way, Mapes notes that he saw The Dark Knight Rises, the film that was screening during the massacre in Aurora, on opening night at Cinebarre. He was viewing it during the attack across town, and says he was carrying a gun then, too.

The gun was visible on the 29th, Mapes acknowledged. "The only thing I could have done is untuck my T-shirt," he says. "[The gun is] the size of a brick, so obviously you're going to see it. But then somebody calls the police because they're all paranoid about what happened."

Seventeen Thornton officers responded quickly to the report, evacuating all screening rooms at the theater and taking Mapes into custody.

Judging by his tone of voice, Mapes was frustrated by being charged with a municipal violation for doing something that he's done countless times before without the slightest trouble. Still, he didn't express regret for bringing a gun with him -- although he conceded that "if I'd been thinking about it, I probably would have worn a different shirt."

When we spoke with Barnes the day after the evacuation, he told us it was possible city prosecutors wouldn't file formal charges against Mapes. Why not? Mapes had a concealed-carry permit, and Barnes noted that Colorado "is an open-carry state." For that reason, he went on, the city attorney might determine that this status would supersede the local ordinance, particularly given that Thornton doesn't have an open-carry rule, as does Denver. Instead, Thornton businesses can post information informing customers that weapons are off-limits -- but since Cinebarre didn't do so, that couldn't impact any case against Mapes. And because the element of a potential charge regarding a gun in a liquor and beer establishment is what Barnes terms "a sentence-enhancer," it wouldn't apply if the dangerous weapons charge was found to be a non-starter.

Today, Barnes notes that the city attorney dismissed the local allegation against Mapes "to allow the District Attorney's Office to review the case to see if any violation of state charges had occurred."

That's confirmed by Krista Flannigan, spokeswoman for the 17th District DA's office in Adams County. "It's been presented to us and we're reviewing it for the possibility of state charges," she says. As for when that determination might be made, she says, "It takes as long as it takes."

Here's a larger version of Mapes's booking photo:

james mapes mug shot.jpg
James Mapes.

More from our News archive: "Clark Tabor busted in L.A. theater after saying he should 'go off like in Colorado.'"

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20 comments
security850
security850

More bs from our local gun nuts.  Maple knew or should have known that going to a theater right after the Aurora murders , with a visible gun, would panic people.  He chose instead to make a political statement above a concern for other people.  He may have done nothing illegal, but to use a gun as a political prop for someone with a character flaw is certainly "wrong."

James
James

Mapes did nothing illegal or wrong. He was in lawful possession of a handgun. The municipal code that he was arrested for violating does not even consider a handgun to be a dangerous weapon. the terms are clearly defined in the code. A handgun is classified in a separate definition as a "handgun", not a "dangerous weapon" which is essentially a catchall for other weapons not specifically defined.

The only way Mapes would have committed a crime was if he was a juvenile in possession of a handgun, if he was a parolee, or if he had drawn and brandished the handgun in a threatening manner.

It was a bad arrest and an overreaction in the wake of Aurora. Mapes deserves an apology at the very least.

Scarifying
Scarifying

Cue Donkey Hotay's hysterical anti gun rhetoric in 3...2....1.....oh shit, too late. The good news is the new and improved Hotay Magic Shield, for those firefights where fighting back is frowned upon by those with delicate and easily offended sensibilities and absolutely zero instinct for self preservation. Just place both hands over your eyes whenever a hail of bullets starts to fly in one of those nifty "gun free" zones that the sheeple actually believe will deter a madman, so that you can conveniently await the arrival of your police rescuers, (whose track record for actually PREVENTING slaughters just pops right up and speaks all too loudly for itself!)  while those around you are mowed down.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Typical no-neck Neanderthal gun-nut.

 

 

James
James

 @security850 

What happened in Aurora has no bearing on what Mapes did in Thornton. The Aurora incident did not change the laws overnight.

Mapes's right to carry a handgun is not restricted because of other people's irrational fears.

Mapes would have been viewed as a hero if he had been in the Aurora theater and used his own weapon to stop Holmes before he could kill and wound all those people.

I don't believe Mapes was making any political statement. It appears he was going about things as usual, carrying his weapon as he usually does as is his right to do. Exercising your constitutional rights, even if others do not agree with it, is never wrong.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

 @James Well expressed viewpoint, James. We're going to make your post an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks.

Monkey
Monkey

 @DonkeyHotay Who did nothing wrong. A new poll suggests Colorado residents don't want more gun control, we like guns. It's the minority who overreact after news reports of murder and think guns don't belong in public.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Monkey Who perhaps did nothing "illegal" ... yet did EVERYTHING wrong in this instance.

 

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @James  The only difference it that one of these gun-loons began shooting.

 

A bit too late for the innocent public to discern.

 

May you or yours be blasted into oblivion at some future public gathering where the visibly armed psychopath waltzes in completely unmolested and unreported by observers -- who could have called the police, but chose not.

 

 

James
James

 @DonkeyHotay 

You missed the point or refuse to see it.

Mapes lawfully carried a handgun and should not have been arrested.

Holmes used his weapons to commit a crime.

The difference is obvious.

 

No matter what the laws may be, there is no way to control what goes on in a person's mind. These crimes are committed by the individual, not by the gun.

Gun control laws only restrict access to people who obey the law and make it harder for innocent people to protect themselves. If more people carried weapons then idiots like Holmes would never get the courage to act.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @James 

 

Can you murder 12 people and wound 59 others in a movie theater with a candy bar?

 

 

James
James

 @DonkeyHotay 

Assuming they are both in legal possession of the weapon (I believe some of the weapons Holmes had were not legal for open carry) there is no relevant difference until one of them commits a criminal act. At that point, the difference is that one is a criminal and the other is not.

 

Consider the difference between you and I, assuming we are both upstanding law-abiding citizens... if I go and steal a candy bar does that make you a thief? You certainly have the capability to steal candy bars. Do candy bars need to be prohibited so that nobody can steal them?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @James So do tell ... what -- exactly -- is the difference between an openly armed gun-loon entering a theater about to commit mass murder, and an openly armed gun-loon entering a theater who isn't going to murder anyone this time?

 

Be specific -- show your work.

James
James

 @DonkeyHotay 

That has absolutely nothing to do with the case of James Mapes.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @James  

 

James Holmes was a "law abiding gun owner" ... right up to the moment he walked into the theater.

 

 

James
James

 @DonkeyHotay 

It is not the gun that is dangerous, but the person who uses it. Just because some people are irresponsible does not mean that others can not exercise their rights safely.

There is no magic solution that will protect everyone. There will always be guns. Increased control of them only effects those who are law-abiding, making them an easier target for those who are not.

fireaxxe
fireaxxe

 @DonkeyHotay  @Publius Ok Donkey, James Holmes was not a law abiding "man with a gun" when he entered that theater; he purchased his firearms illegally by lying on his background check form about being under a doctor's care for mental illness. Granted, it's easy to purchase guns in CO and since medical records are off limits due to HIPPA, Holmes was able to purchase his guns illegally. 

     There are mass murders all over the world even in places where gun ownership is strictly regulated. Heck, a guy in China just killed 9 people with a knife a couple of months ago. Remember the racist in Norway who killed nearly 100 kids? People will always kill people. It's in our nature. Holmes could have easily brought one his IED's in a tote like he had rigged in is house and killed everyone in the theater instead of "just" 12. He is a very sick individual who would have hurt people regardless of the laws. You or I can not stop evil with legislation.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Publius 

 

James Holmes was a law abiding "man with a gun" ... and no one called ... until after he opened fire.

Publius
Publius

 @DonkeyHotay Dude, you are tilting at windmills.  He has the right to own and carry a gun.  He has the authority to be in that building.  There is no restriction by the municipality or the owner of the property that would restrict him from openly carrying a holstered hand gun there.  CO is an open carry state therefore (much like Virginia) many people carry guns openly and no one bats an eye.  Until or unless some gun  control freak (hoplophobe) calls in a "man with a gun" alert.

 

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