Tragedy Strikes Movie Goers as Real Life Villian Opens Fire Killing 12, Injuring at Least 50
Tragedy struck the Denver, Colorado suburb of Aurora late last night as a lone gunman opened fire in a midnight showing of the latest Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 people and injuring about 50 people, the youngest being a 6 year old boy, at the Century 16 Movie Theater. Reports say that the gunman knocked in an emergency exit at the front of the theater about thirty minutes into the movie during one of the action scenes and set of smoke bombs and tear gas before opening fire on the packed auditorium.
"We were maybe 20 or 30 minutes into the movie and all you hear, first you smell smoke, everybody thought it was fireworks or something like that, and then you just see people dropping and the gunshots are constant," witness Christ Jones told ABC's Denver affiliate KMGH. "I heard at least 20 to 30 rounds within that minute or two."
After receiving dozens of 911 calls around 12:39 a.m. MT, police arrived at the theater and arrested the gunman, 24 year old James Holmes, in the parking lot of the theater dressed in a bullet proof vest and a riot helmet without a fight. Police say he has carrying a gas mask, a rifle and a handgun and believe he left another weapon in the theater, and after searching thru his car found ammunition for the weapons.
A man who talked to a couple who was inside the theater told ABC News, "They got up and they started to run through the emergency exit, and that when she turned around, she said all she saw was the guy slowly making his way up the stairs and just firing at people, just picking random people," he said. "The gunshot continued to go on and on and then after we didn't hear anything," the couple told the man, "we finally got up and there was people bleeding, there was people obviously may have been actually dead or anything, and we just ran up out of there, there was chaos everywhere."
And it doesn't end there. When he was arrested, Holmes told police that he had explosives in his North Aurora apartment, which police rushed to check out, shutting down the whole apartment complex to search for the explosives, which were found in his apartment although it is uncertain if the explosives were set to go off or were just a part of a stockpile. Police also found a bomb in the theater were the gunman attacked but it is not sure if it was already planted there or if it was tossed into the crowd.
In a recently released statement President Obama said, "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."
Police believe the man acted alone and searched all of the cars in the theater of the parking lot but found nothing and they do not believe he was acting on behalf of a terrorism organization.
Watch a video of people evacuating the Colorado theater after a gunman opened fire:
Watch an eye-witness video interview about the shooting in a Colorado movie theater: