Dark Knight Rises Massacre: At Least 12 Killed, 50 Wounded At Colorado Movie Theater
During a "The Dark Knight Rises" screening in a suburban Denver movie theater, a masked man burst in and started shooting. According to the Denver Post, he apparently entered through an emergency exit at the front of the Aurora, CO theater: "The suspect then threw some type of explosive and started shooting into the packed theater. The man had a rifle, a handgun and a gas mask when police arrested him." The suspect has been identified as James Holmes, 24. Ten people died at the theater, while at least two died at area hospitals (preliminary total of slain victims is 14). Dozens, including a 3-month old baby, were also injured.
Here's video of people leaving the theater:
The LA Times reports, "[A] witness said he saw a man two seats over shot in the head. 'I can't get his image out of my head,' the witness wrote in a message. The victim was wearing a shirt with the Joker's face on it, and after he was shot, slumped back in his chair, his face covered in blood."
Holmes apparently told police officers that there were explosives in his apartment in North Aurora. Police evacuated the building and surrounding area.
Another witness said, "The suspect throws tear gas in the air, and as the tear gas appears he started shooting. It was very hard to breathe. I told my brother to take cover. It took awhile. I started seeing flashes and screaming, I just saw blood and people yelling and a quick glimpse of the guy who had a gas mask on. I was pushed out. There was chaos, we started running."
"I saw a man walk in through the exit," one eyewitness told Jojola. "[He] looked like he had a gas mask on."A woman from San Diego contacted ABC News and said she was James Holmes' mother: "She had awoken unaware of the news of the shooting and had not been contacted by authorities. She immediately expressed concern that her son may have been involved. 'You have the right person,' she said. 'I need to call the police," she added. "I need to fly out to Colorado.'"
The witnesses say he threw a two gas canisters into the theater after busting down the door. The witnesses said no one reacted at first - thinking he was a stunt for the movie.
"He looked so calm when he did it," the eyewitness said. "It was like scary. He waited for both the bombs to explode before he did anything. Then, after both of them exploded, he began to shoot."
The witnesses said he - at first - fired into the air and then started shooting towards the people.
"He had no specific target. He just started letting loose," the eyewitness said.
Both witnesses said one of the scariest parts was the shooter didn't say a word.
"Honestly, I thought I was gonna get shot," the eyewitness said. "I thought there was no way I was going to get out of there without getting shot."
President Obama said he was "shocked and saddened" by the incident and will speak about it at 11:20 a.m. (EST). Here's his initial statement:
"Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded."A Redditor in the theater posted about the experience inside the complex, "The shooting began during a gunfight scene in the movie, and at first, we thought it was special effects when smoke rose up. When shots happened again and people began to run, we thought something was up. A guy ran in and shouted there was a gunman in the building, and the alarms to emergency evacuate started to go off. I now know what tear gas feels like. I've never had to 'get down' with a police officer screaming at us. This is the most fucked up night of my short life. I need an army of kitten photos stat."
Warner Bros. issued a statement, “Warner Bros. is deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time."
Update: Aurora police say that Holmes' apartment has been booby-trapped with explosives and they could be there for "hours" or "days."
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