Colorado Shooting: Still Lots of Confusion, But Not Enough To Keep Anti-Gun Ownership Comments At Bay
Mass shooting at Batman screening in Aurora, Colo.; At least 12 dead, dozens more wounded
(CBS/AP) AURORA, Colo. – A gas mask-wearing gunman opened fire on moviegoers at a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie Friday, killing at least 12 and injuring dozens more in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.
The violent and chaotic scene erupted about 12:30 a.m. local time as the suspected gunman, identified as 24-year-old James Holmes, stood at the front of one of the Century 16 theaters at the Aurora Mall where “The Dark Knight Rises” was playing. Witnesses reported that the gunman entered the theater through an emergency exit door and threw a gas canister before opening fire.
“Then it was a blur,” Spenser Sherman told “CBS This Morning” said. “Then I heard a couple gunshots.”
“I thought it was part of the movie, like a fun little prank – that it would be over in a few seconds. It obviously wasn’t.”
She said she only saw a silhouette of the suspect, and that the gunman said nothing.
“Everybody had dropped to the floor after the first couple gunshots, and then he fired some more. And then after that, there was a pause in the gunshots. Some people say he was reloading, I don’t know. But at that point, my boyfriend was like ‘This is the time, we need to go, we need to get out of the theater right now.’ So we ran.”
Jennifer Seeger told CBS station KCNC the suspect first fired up towards the ceiling, as if to scare people, and then started spraying the audience. He pointed the gun directly at her; she ducked. “He had a gas mask on so I couldn’t see his face,” she said. “All I smelled was gunpowder in the air, and gas was getting to me.”
Police, ambulances and emergency crews swarmed on the scene after frantic calls started flooding the 911 switchboard, officials said.
Officers found Holmes near a car behind the theater. He surrendered without resistance, police said.
Police recovered four guns at the theater – one shotgun, two pistols and what is believed to be an assault rifle, a law enforcement source told CBS News correspondent Bob Orr. Authorities also recovered a gas mask.
A law enforcement source said the suspect also had a bullet proof vest, ballistic helmet and military SWAT clothing. Authorities were testing unidentified explosives in his vehicle, though their exact nature is unclear.
The nature of the attack suggests it was well planned. The suspect’s vehicle was parked at the rear of the complex, near the emergency exit where he was reported to have entered from.
Aurora Police chief Dan Oates said there’s no evidence of any other attackers. There was also no immediate word of any motive. Federal law enforcement officials are being briefed on the attack, but at this point, there is no indication it is terrorism-related, CBS News senior correspondent John Miller reports.
Police were at Holmes’ Denver-area apartment and confirmed that it was apparently booby-trapped and had evacuated other residents of the building. A law enforcement source told Orr that police saw what looked like “buckets of extra ammunition” and some kind of chemical inside his home.
Oates said it could take hours or days to safely enter the apartment.
Obama: There will be other days for politics
By Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
Updated 10:56 a.m. EST
President Obama paid tribute to the victims of today’s Colorado shooting tragedy and asked for Americans to pray for the people of the Denver suburb where the movie theater shooting spree happened.
Obama’s remarks came in Ft. Myers, Fla., where he was scheduled to speak at a campaign event. But Obama spoke only briefly and centered his comments on the tragedy.
“There are going to be other days for politics,” Obama said. “This is a day for prayer and reflection.”
Obama said after he was briefed about the shooting early Friday morning, he immediately thought of his two daughters, who like most young people enjoy going to the movies.
“If there is any take away from this, it’s that life is fragile,” Obama said “Our time here is limited and it’s precious.”
Vice President Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama have also canceled their events today, said Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki. The first lady was scheduled to travel to Virginia for two events and Biden was supposed to appear at a campaign event in Houston.
Obama also spoke with Gov. John Hickenlooper and the mayor of Aurora, the Denver suburb where the shooting occurred.
“We do not believe at this point there was an apparent nexus to terrorism,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
Psaki said that Obama campaign officials have asked affiliates in Colorado to pull down “contrast ads” for the time being. The Mitt Romney campaign has also pulled advertising in the Colorado market, said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
“It takes time for stations to be able to do this, but we are making every effort,” Psaki said.
The Romney campaign said the likely GOP nominee will also address the Colorado incident today at a previously scheduled campaign event. Both Romney and his wife, Ann, have also canceled scheduled events.
In a statement earlier today, Obama called the shooting “horrific and tragic” and said his administration stands ready to help the people of Aurora, Colo.
“We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded,” Obama said. “As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.”
The President was notified of the shooting by his deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, John Brennan, at 5:26 a.m. EST, Carney said. Obama received a follow-briefing shortly before he spoke from FBI Director Robert Mueller, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew and Brennan, Carney said.
Obama was in Florida on the second day of a two-day campaign trip.
Romney called the violence “senseless.”
“We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief,” Romney said in a statement. “We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”
Brady Campaign: ‘We don’t want sympathy. We want action.’
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence president just released a statement with the headline: “We don’t want sympathy from the president or other elected officials; We invited Americans to join our campaign to hold politicians accountable to act.” The group plans to meet with activists across the country today and circulate a petition “against arming dangerous people.”
In the statement, president Dan Gross wrote, in part:
“On behalf of the Brady Campaign, I send our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and survivors of the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
This tragedy is another grim reminder that guns are the enablers of mass killers and that our nation pays an unacceptable price for our failure to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. We are outraged. We understand that President Obama has just spoken and so might Mitt Romney.
As someone who has suffered the lasting impact of gun violence, and President of Brady, I can tell you that we don’t want sympathy. We want action… We are insistent that our elected leaders take action to prevent future tragedies. Political cowardice is not an excuse for evasion and inaction on this life-and-death issue.”
James Holmes, 24, identified as suspect in deadly mass shooting at Aurora, Colorado, movie theater
Updated at 11:32 a.m. ET
(CBS/AP) The suspect apprehended in the mass shooting at a suburban Denver movie theater has been identified as James Eagan Holmes, 24, law enforcement sources told CBS News correspondent Bob Orr.
Twelve people died in the shooting at a showing of the new Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo., early Friday morning. A law enforcement source told Orr the shooting appears to have been carried out by a lone gunman.
One federal official told CBS News that at this time Holmes appears to have been “under the radar.” CBS News reports Holmes doesn’t appear to have a criminal record in Colorado or in California’s San Diego County, where he lived previously. Pentagon officials said there is no record of Holmes having served in any branch of the military.
According to the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, Holmes dropped out of medical school last month, The Associated Press reported. School spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said she did not know when Holmes started school or why he withdrew.
There was no immediate word of any motive. Federal law enforcement officials were briefed on the attack, but at this point there is no indication it is terrorism-related, CBS News senior correspondent John Miller reports.
Police evacuated the area surrounding Holmes’ Denver-area apartment, saying the residence was apparently booby-trapped. A law enforcement source told Orr that police saw what looked like “buckets of extra ammunition” and some kind of chemical inside his home.
Aurora Police chief Dan Oates said it could take hours or days to safely enter the apartment.
Police recovered four guns at the theater, including two pistols, a shotgun and what is believed to be an assault rifle, Orr reports. Authorities also recovered a ballistic helmet and a gas mask.
A law enforcement source told CBS News investigative producer Pat Milton that the attack appears to have been planned well in advance. Holmes parked his vehicle at the rear of the Century 16 theaters at the Aurora Mall and entered the theater through an emergency door in the back. He exited through the same door and was apprehended without incident.
The violent and chaotic scene erupted about 12:30 a.m. local time as the gunman stood at the front of the theater. Witnesses reported that the gunman entered the theater through an emergency exit door and threw a gas canister before opening fire.
“Witnesses tell us he released some sort of canister. They heard a hissing sound and some gas emerged and the gunman opened fire,” Oates told reporters at a news conference.
Police, ambulances and emergency crews swarmed on the scene after frantic calls started flooding the 911 switchboard, officials said.
Officers found Holmes near a car behind the theater.
It was the worst mass shooting in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999. Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at the school in the Denver suburb of Littleton, about 15 miles west of Aurora, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school’s library.
The shooting occurred in Theater 9, which has a capacity of around 300 people, according to CBS station KCNC-TV in Denver. The youngest reported victim is a 3-month-old, who is said to be doing fine at University Hospital, which is treating 20 patients, including nine in critical condition. Another victim is a six-year-old being treated at Children’s Hospital, where a total of six victims were taken. Their condition wasn’t known. Victims were rushed to six area hospitals overall.
Aurora police spokesman Frank Fania on ABC’s “Good Morning America” said he didn’t know yet if all the injuries were gunshot wounds. He said some might have been caused by other things such as shrapnel.
Police had earlier reported 14 deaths but later said that only 12 fatalities were confirmed.
An amateur video posted to YouTube showed people walking around outside the theater, apparently in the moments after the incident. One man was seen wearing a shirt that appeared to be bloodstained. He was being led by a police officer. Some people could be heard shouting.
William Kent, who was in an adjacent theater, said bullets came through the wall but, with the action on screen, people didn’t realize what was happening.
“And they started the fire alarm or the emergency alarm, said that there had been something that happened in the building and evacuated everybody. There was a huge commotion to get out of the theater. When I exited, there were police officers with assault rifles running in,” Kent told CBS News.
Benjamin Fernandez, who was also in an adjacent theater, said he saw a young girl, around 12 or 13 years old, laying on the concrete when he exited the building.
“From what I saw, she had two bullet wounds in her leg and just blood all over her stomach. Her friends were all just yelling, crying. … We were just all pretty much in shock,” he said on “CBS This Morning.”
Witness Hayden Miller told KUSA-TV that he was inside Theater 16 and heard several shots.
“Like little explosions going on and shortly after that we heard people screaming,” he told the station.
Hayden said at first he thought it was part of a louder movie next door. But then he saw “people hunched over leaving theater.”
Paul Otermat, who told Sky News he was in the theater when the incident occurred, said he “thought it was a publicity stunt,” when he saw a man in a long coat walk in and hurl what he believed was a tear gas canister at the crowd.
“Then he started firing shots into the crowd,” Otermat said. He said he and his girlfriend ducked to the floor and crept out as gunfire continued. “My girlfriend saw a canister on the ground that was still foaming … We ran through the lobby and we heard more shots, and we ran out into the parking lot and got into our car and left.”
Official: Shooting suspect was former med student
AURORA, Colo.—A former medical student in a gas mask barged into a crowded Denver-area theater during a midnight showing of the Batman movie on Friday, hurled a gas canister and then opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.
When the gas began to spread, some moviegoers thought it was a stunt that was part of the “The Dark Knight Rises,” one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer. They saw a silhouette of a person in the smoke near the screen, first pointing a gun at the crowd and then shooting.
“There were bullet (casings) just falling on my head. They were burning my forehead,” Jennifer Seeger said, adding that the gunman, dressed like a SWAT team member, fired steadily except when he stopped to reload.
“Every few seconds it was just: Boom, boom, boom,” she said. “He would reload and shoot and anyone who would try to leave would just get killed.”
The suspect was taken into custody and identified by federal law enforcement officials as 24-year-old James Holmes. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
Authorities did not release a motive. The FBI said there was no indication that the shooting is tied to any terrorist groups.
Holmes had an assault rifle, a shotgun and two pistols, a federal law enforcement official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.
FBI agents and police used a hook and ladder fire truck to reach Holmes’ apartment in suburban Denver, Aurora police Chief Dan Oates said. They put a camera at the end of 12-foot pole inside the apartment, and discovered that the unit was booby trapped. Authorities evacuated five buildings as they determine how to disarm flammable and explosive material.
Victims were being treated for chemical exposure apparently related to canisters thrown by the gunman. Some of those injured are children, including a 4-month-old baby who was released from the hospital.
Aurora police spokesman Frank Fania on ABC’s “Good Morning America” said he didn’t know yet if all the injuries were gunshot wounds. He said some might have been caused by other things such as shrapnel.
The movie opened across the world Friday with midnight showings in the U.S. The shooting prompted officials to cancel the Paris premiere, with workers pulling down the red carpet display at a theater on the famed Champs-Elysees Avenue.
President Barack Obama said he was saddened by the “horrific and tragic shooting,” pledging that his administration was “committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded.”
It was the worst mass shooting in the U.S. since the Nov. 5, 2009 attack at Fort Hood, Texas, when an Army psychiatrist killed 13 soldiers and civilians and more than two dozen others wounded.
In Colorado, it was the deadliest since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, when two students opened fire at the school in the Denver suburb of Littleton, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves.
The mall in Aurora, the state’s third-largest city, has been the scene of violence before.
In July 2001, two men were shot and wounded inside the mall following an argument. In June 2005, a woman was killed and her boyfriend and a bystander were wounded following an argument inside the mall. Two men were arrested in that case, at least one of whom was sentenced to life in prison.
Friday’s attack began shortly after midnight at the multiplex theater.
The film has several scenes of public mayhem — a hallmark of superhero movies. In one scene, the main villain Bane leads an attack on the stock exchange and, in another, leads a shooting and bombing rampage on a packed football stadium.
It was the final installment of the “Dark Knight” trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Christian Bale as Batman. The series has a darker tone than previous Batman incarnations. It is the follow-up to “The Dark Knight,” which won Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar for his searing portrayal of The Joker.
The gunman released a gas that smelled like pepper spray from a green canister with a tag on it, Seeger said.
“I thought it was showmanship. I didn’t think it was real,” she said.
Seeger said she was in the second row, about four feet from the gunman, when he pointed a gun at her face. At first, “I was just a deer in headlights. I didn’t know what to do,” she said. Then she ducked to the ground as the gunman shot people seated behind her.
She said she began crawling toward an exit when she saw a girl about 14 years old “lying lifeless on the stairs.” She saw a man with a bullet wound in his back and tried to check his pulse, but “I had to go. I was going to get shot.”
Witness Shayla Roeder said she saw a young teenage girl on the ground bleeding outside the theater. “She just had this horrible look in her eyes …. We made eye contact and I could tell she was not all right,” Roeder said.
Police, ambulances and emergency crews swarmed on the scene after frantic calls started flooding the 911 switchboard, officials said. Officers came running in and telling people to leave the theater, Salina Jordan told the Denver Post. She said some police were carrying and dragging bodies.
Hayden Miller told KUSA-TV that he heard several shots. “Like little explosions going on and shortly after that we heard people screaming,” he told the station. Hayden said at first he thought it was part of a louder movie next door. But then he saw “people hunched over leaving theater.”
Officers later found the gunman near a car behind the theater. Oates said there was no evidence of any other attackers.
Holmes was studying neuroscience in a Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver graduate school, university spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said. University officials earlier said he was a student at the university’s medical school.
Holmes enrolled in the program in June 2011 and was in the process of withdrawing at the time of the shootings, Montgomery said.
At least 24 people were being treated at Denver area hospitals.
“Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are 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,” the studio said.
Aurora Suspect James Holmes’ Mother: ‘You Have the Right Person’
Editor’s Note: An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect. ABC News and Brian Ross apologize for the mistake, and for disseminating that information before it was properly vetted.
A California woman who identified herself as the mother of James Holmes, the 24-year-old man federal authorities said is the suspect in a mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, told ABC News her son was likely the alleged culprit, saying, “You have the right person.”
The woman, contacted at her home in San Diego, spoke briefly with ABC News and immediately expressed concern her son may be involved in the shooting death of at least 12 people overnight.
“You have the right person,” she said, apparently speaking on gut instinct. “I need to call the police… I need to fly out to Colorado.”
Holmes was apprehended by police outside the theater after allegedly killing 12 people and injuring another 50 during a late night screening of the blockbuster movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” authorities said.
Local news reports showed aerial video of police cautiously searching Holmes’ apartment, some five miles from the Century Aurora 16 theater, as the suspect reportedly told police he had explosives inside. At a morning briefing, local police said that the apartment appeared to be booby-trapped.
A thousand miles away in San Diego, several police cars have arrived at the home of Holmes’ mother.
James Holmes was a student at the University of Colorado Denver Medical Campus but had dropped out in June, according to a school official. He attended high school in California, a police spokesperson there said.
The police spokesperson provided a statement from the Holmes family in which they said their “hearts go out to those who [were] involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved.”
The spokesperson said the family was “very upset” and the incident “has taken everyone by surprise.”
Witnesses to the shooting said that a man appeared at the front of the theater about 20 minutes into the movie with a rifle, handgun and gas mask. He then threw a canister that released some kind of gas, after which a hissing sound ensued, and he then opened fire on the crowd packed into the early-morning screening of the film.
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
The FBI said approximately 100 of its agents are on the scene assisting with the ongoing investigation.
ABC News’ Lee Ferran, Jack Date, Jason Ryan, Clayton Sandell, Kevin Dolack contributed to this report.
‘Dark Knight’ shooting leaves theaters scrambling to address security concerns
The shooting rampage at a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Colorado early Friday left theater owners and police scrambling to figure out how to beef up security for patrons as the movie opened in more than 4,000 theaters nationwide.
The shooter in Colorado reportedly wore a riot helmet and a bulletproof vest and was dressed in black, raising questions about whether theaters should ban or limit costumes at the screenings. Many fans of Christopher Nolan‘s Batman films attend screenings in costume.
At a midnight screening at the ArcLight theater in Hollywood, patrons came dressed in a variety of Batman-related outfits, including many dressed as Bane — the burly villain of “The Dark Knight Rises” — plus the Joker and Harlequin. There was even a small boy dressed in Batman pajamas and a cape.
The Los Angeles Police Department‘s Hollywood division sent officers to check on theaters, including the ArcLight, but no security issues were found, a watch commander said.
“There’s nothing that suggests that there’s anything sinister planned beyond what happened in Colorado,” said Sgt. Enrique Mendoza, watch commander of the LAPD Hollywood division. “What happened in Colorado appears to be an anomaly, an isolated incident.”
New York police said Friday they would deploy to theaters screening “The Dark Knight Rises.”
“As a precaution against copycats and to raise the comfort levels among movie patrons in the wake of the horrendous shooting in Colorado, the New York City Police Department is providing coverage at theaters where the ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is playing in the five boroughs,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said in a statement.
The Warner Bros. film was scheduled to open at 4,404 theaters, including 332 Imax locations, this weekend in the U.S. and Canada — the second highest all-time behind the 4,468 for “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.”
At the AMC theater at Universal Citywalk early Friday morning, three security guards were on duty, but it was unclear whether that was normal staffing or an increase; the guards refused request for comment.
Many fans of “The Dark Knight Rises” at Citywalk early Friday were unaware of the events in Colorado. But Xochitl Serna, 36, and her 14-year-old son learned about the shooting on the news before heading to a 3:35 a.m. screening. They said the incident did not make them reconsider their movie plans.
“Right before we left I heard and I was like, ‘What the … ?’ It’s pretty scary,” said Serna, who was wearing a T-shirt with the film’s logo on it. “But I work at Universal so I knew there would be lots of security, so we decided, ‘Nah, it’s OK, we’ll be alright.’ “
The few other moviegoers who knew of the Colorado tragedy felt the same kind of event would not take place in Los Angeles.
“It’s different in Colorado – that’s middle America. I don’t think that would happen here,” said Fernando Lopez, 25, who heard about the shooting 20 minutes before the 6:40 a.m. screening.
“Everybody shoots each other in Colorado,” added Abigail Keever, 25, who was about to head into the same screening.
Police: Colorado shooting suspect’s apartment booby trapped; surrounding buildings evacuated
By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, July 20, 9:01 AM
Oates says pictures from inside the apartment are fairly disturbing and the devices look to be sophisticated.
FBI agents and police used a hook and ladder fire truck and put a camera at the end of 12-foot pole inside the apartment where 24-year-old James Holmes lives.
Gunman turns movie into surreal horror: ‘This is real’
(CNN) — It was a dark theater, playing a movie that includes gunshots, in the middle of the night. So when a gunman burst through an exit door, threw a gas can into the crowd and began shooting, many inside the Aurora, Colorado, theater didn’t realize what was happening.
“I think we were 15 minutes in, and there was a chase scene where there was gunfire on screen,” said witness Quentin Caldwell. “And right then out of nowhere on the right side of us we hear a very distinct ‘pop pop pop pop.’”
His wife jumped, Caldwell said, but “I kind of sat there, thought it was probably just really good special sound effects.”
But soon other patrons of the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the new Batman movie, began to say that there was a shooter in the theater — and Caldwell saw people wounded.
One young couple was holding a bleeding woman by her face and guiding her down the stairs, Caldwell said. “I looked to my right and another gentleman is holding his stomach and running down the stairs trying to get out of there.”
Even after he left the theater, some people stayed behind not understanding what happened and thinking the movie might continue, Caldwell said. “I looked at them like, ‘This is real, there’s something wrong, we need to leave now.’ ”
Adam Witt told CNN he and his wife had been looking forward to seeing the movie for months.
“The first thing I noticed was a hissing sound coming from the left side of the theater. I noticed people beginning to react in the area. I knew something was wrong,” he said in an iReport.
“Then the gunshots began. A sudden flash of light and loud bang from the right side of the screen. Then another, and another. There must have been 20-30, at the least. At first glance they looked like fireworks or something, perhaps a prank.”
But he soon realized what was happening.
“I hit the floor and hid behind the seats in front of me, pulling my wife down to hide with me. It was the longest minute of my life. The gunshots just kept coming. I knew it could be over any second. I knew my wife could be gone any second. It was absolutely surreal. I felt something hit my left arm, and my first thought was ‘at least it’s just my arm.’”
When the gunfire subsided people took to the exits en mass, he said. “I took my wife by the hand and we booked it for the back door, trying to breathe through the gas that now permeated the room.”
The area was filled with people screaming — in some cases, for their children, he said.
“The entire ordeal was completely surreal, and entirely horrifying.”
Jennifer Seeger, who was also in Theater 9 at the Century Aurora 16 multiplex, said the shooter lit a gas can and threw it into the crowd, then shot the ceiling to scare everyone.
“They just started scattering, and mass chaos just happened,” she told CNN affiliate KCNC-TV in Denver.
“I was terrified so I just dove into the aisle. And at that point he started shooting people behind me.” Burning bullet fragments ended up on her forehead, she said. “I just told myself: ‘I need to get out of here. I need to get out of here.’ ”
Trey Freeman, another witness, said the shooter threw a second gas canister. “He looked so calm when he did it, it was so scary,” Freeman said in a YouTube video.
Witnesses described the man as dressed in black with a gas mask and bulletproof vest.
When the gunman began shooting, “I thought there was no way I was going to get out of there without getting shot,” Freeman said.
In the rush to leave, some people were stepped on or pushed, Derek Poag told CNN.
Outside the theater, it was chaotic, with wounded people everywhere, Caldwell said. He saw one girl in a pink hoodie, her left side peppered with wounds.
Cell phone video taken outside the doors of the theater complex showed panicked moviegoers calling out for help or searching for friends.
One man can be seen walking out with assistance, the back of his shirt covered in blood. A woman examines her body, as if checking for wounds.
Alex Milano was in the next theater over that was also showing the Batman film.
He also said there was a shooting scene happening on screen when the sound of real bullets was heard nearby.
“Loud bangs came from the right of the theater. Smoke took over the entire theater, and it was really thick and no one could really see anything,” he said.
Confused at first, Milano realized the severity of the incident when he witnessed “objects” starting to come through the wall, presumably bullets.
“I saw holes in the wall,” he said.
Some people in his theater started moaning in pain, and alarms at the building started sounding.
Outside, Milano spoke with a woman who was inside Theater 9. What she heard “sounded like madness to me,” he said.
One scene stuck in his head – a police officer carrying a little girl in his arms. The girl wasn’t moving.
12 killed, 50 wounded at Aurora movie theater
By Ryan Parker, Kurtis A. Lee and Jordan Steffen
The Denver Post
AURORA — About 50 people were shot — 12 fatally — early Friday when a gunman opened fire at an Aurora movie theater during a premiere showing of the new Batman movie.
A 24-year-old man in is custody and an apartment building in north Aurora connected to the suspect was being evacuated and was booby-trapped, according to Police Chief Dan Oates.
Several federal sources identified the suspect as James Holmes, NBC reported.
The University of Colorado confirmed that Holmes was in the process of withdrawing from the university’s graduate program in neurosciences. Holmes enrolled at the university in June 2011.
Ten people died at the scene and two others died at hospitals. Many of the injured were critically injured.
Around 12:39 a.m., police received multiple reports of the shooting at the theater complex, located at 14300 E. Alameda Ave., and arrived minutes later, according to Aurora police.
Police say the suspect “appeared” at the front of one of the theaters showing “The Dark Knight Rises.” Witnesses told The Post he entered through an emergency exit at the right front of the Theater 9 less than 10 minutes into the film.
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. At this time, police have no evidence that there are any additional suspects involved in the shooting.
The bodies of the 10 people who died at the theater remain at the scene while police continue to investigate. Police previously stated that 14 people were killed.
After his arrest, the suspect made a statement about possible explosives in his residence.
Police have blocked off a three-block area around an apartment complex in north Aurora. Residents in the area said they were evacuated around 2 a.m. while police searched the third floor of the apartment building.
Police from all over the metro area had been called to the scene.
Authorities are searching a white car parked behind the movie theater. Officers have removed what appeared to be a combat helmet, a duffle bag, an ammunition clip and some sort of vest.
Corbin Dates and Jennifer Seeger were sitting in the second row of the theater.
During the opening credits, Dates saw someone in the front row answer a phone call and walk to the emergency door in the front of the theater, he said.
Less than an hour later a man, dressed in black and wearing a gas mask and what looked like body armor, marched into the theater through the same emergency exit. He lobbed two canisters and almost instantly the theater filled with smoke.
Dates and Seeger, like everyone else in the theater, thought the man and the smoke were all part of the show, they said. Right as their eyes began to tear up from the smoke, the man fired a shot at the ceiling.
The gunman moved through the crowd and stopped in front of Seeger.
He pointed a long rifle at her face and said nothing.
He shot at the person sitting behind her, Seeger said.
“I have no idea why he didn’t shoot me,” Seeger said.
The two dove to the ground. They could feel hot shell casings hitting their legs as the tried to crawl through the dark theater now filled with smoke. Seeger’s forehead has a burned from one of the casings.
As she huddled on the ground, Seeger could see bodies of women and children lying around her.
Seeger, who has some EMT training, tried to help a man bleeding next to her. She worked to find a pulse, but was forced to leave him behind as they tried to flee the theater.
People tried to exit through the main entrance of the theater, Seeger said. By then the gunman had worked his way to the back of the theater, shooting at people as they tried to run.
Seeger estimates she was trapped in the theater for 10 to 15 minutes. When she finally reached the lobby, she saw a police officer cocking a shot gun.
Once outside, Seeger called her father.
“My dad is not a sentimental guy, but he was crying on the phone,” Seeger said. James Wilburn was also sitting in the second row of the theater when the emergency door opened.
“He was dressed in black,” Wilburn said. “Wearing a flack jacket and a gas mask.”
The man dropped a canister to the floor that began spewing gas before he fired several rounds toward the back of the theater.
Naya Thompson, 21, said the gas spread quickly through the theater and thinks that the gunman may have dropped two canisters.
“It was like tear gas,” Thompson said. “I was coughing and chocking and I couldn’t breathe,” Thompson said.
Benjamin Fernandez, 30, said he was watching the movie when he heard a series of explosions. He said that people ran from the theater and there were gunshots as police shouted “get down!”
Frenandez said he saw people falling, including one young girl.
Brittany Romero was in Theater 10 for the 12:15 a.m. showing. When the fire alarm sounded, people began throwing their popcorn and drinks in the air, assuming it was a practical joke, Romero said.
Salina Jordan, 19, was in Theater 8 and saw people fall after they were shot. She said one girl was struck in cheek, others were wounded in the stomach including a girl who looked to be around 9-years-old.
Jordan said it sounded like firecrackers until someone ran into Theater 8 yelling “they’re shooting out here!”
The police came running in, telling people to run out. Some police were carrying or dragging bodies, she said.
Meghan Walton, 20, of Boulder said she was sitting beside her friend Gage Hankins, 18 of Ohio, in Theater 8 when he was shot in the arm before he was rushed out of the theater.
“I saw a whole lot of smoke in the isle,” Walton said. “I saw about three of four bullets shot near the smoke.”
Walton was with 10 members of the group Friends: Association of Young People who Stutter.
“I ran outside and was holding his arm that was hot,” Walton said. “My eyes were blurred by the smoke. It was like chaos. People were crying hysterically.”
She counted 12 people who were bleeding. Ambulances started arriving but there were not enough to put everyone in them.
“The worst was a man who was shot in the head. He had his hand on his head,” Walton said. “They started doubling up, putting two people in the same ambulance. One girl who wasn’t injured as badly was placed in a police car and rushed away.”
Police set up a command post near the Dillards department store and were interviewing hundreds of possible witnesses. Many were taken by bus to Gateway High School for questioning.
Robert Jones, 28, was in Theater 9 when the shooting started.
Jones said when he first saw smoke billowing from the front of the theater, he thought it was a special effect. Shots rang out almost immediately after.
“I thought it was pretty much the end of the world,” Roberts said.
Roberts stayed flat on the ground until police came into the theater.
Tammi Stevens said her son, 18-year-old Jacob Stevens, was inside Theater 9 when the shooting started. Stevens was waiting for her son at Gateway High School while police interviewed him.
Jacob told his mom that he saw a guy walk into the theater wearing body armor and throw some sort of cannister that then emitted some sort of gas.
“You let your kids go to a late night movie…you never think something like this would happen,” Stevens said.
President Obama addressed the shooting from Ft. Myers, Fla., Friday morning.
“We never understand what leads someone to terrorize their fellow human beings like this,” Obama said. “Life is very fragile and it’ is precious.”
Gov. John Hickenlooper released a statement Friday morning.
“It is beyond the power of words to fully express our sorrow this morning,” Hickenlooper said. “We appreciate the swift work by local, state and federal law enforcement. Coloradans have a remarkable ability to support one another in times of crisis. This is one of those times.”
In a statement released this morning, Republican Mitt Romney said that he was “deeply saddened” by the “senseless violence.”
The FBI is assisting in the investigation. Officers and deputies responded from almost every local police and sheriff’s department in the metro area.
The FBI said that there is no indication that the shooting has any connection to terrorism, the AP reported.
Victims were transported to at least six hospitals. Several of them were rushed to hospitals in police cars. Ages of people injured and killed in the shooting vary.
One child and five adults were taken to Children’s Hospital Colorado. The adults ranged in age from 18 to 31 years old. One of the six patients died and the other five are currently listed in conditions from good to critical.
Information on which of the patients died was not released.
Shortly after midnight, patients started arriving at the Medical Center of Aurora. A total of 15 patients — ranging from 16 to 31 years old — were sent to the medical center, 12 of them with gunshot wounds.
Eight of the patients have been discharged, five victims remain in critical condition and two patients are being prepared for surgery.
All of the patients came in with wounds to their torsos, necks or necks. Doctors said the wounds were caused by a high caliber weapon and or what appears to be shrapnel.
Death-Obsessed Culture, Not Gun Rights, To Blame For ‘Batman’ Shooting
Political opportunists seize upon tragedy to attack second amendment
Paul Joseph Watson
Friday, July 20, 2012
Within hours of the tragic ‘Batman’ shooting in Aurora, Colorado, political opportunists have seized upon the incident to push for gun control, with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg demanding that both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama “stand up and tell us what they’re going to do about” mass shootings.
Exactly as we predicted in our earlier article, leftists have wasted no time in exploiting the actions of a lone lunatic for political grist, with Bloomberg calling on the two presidential candidates to crack down on gun rights.
We knew ghouls like Bloomberg would rush to exploit this tragedy to try and crush the right to self defense.
Quite how either Romney or Obama have the power to reverse a Hollywood-inspired culture that serves up lashings of violence to young people like turkey at Thanksgiving is anyone’s guess.
In addition, the notion that either of the presidential candidates can put a halt to a juggernaut pharmaceutical industry that doles out violence-causing SSRI drugs to youngsters like penny candy is clearly asinine.
“I mean, there’s so many murders with guns every day,” said Bloomberg. “It’s just gotta stop. And instead of these two people, President [Barack] Obama and Governor [Mitt] Romney talking in broad things about, they want to make the world a better place. OK. Tell us how. And this is a problem. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them, concretely, not just in generalities, specifically, what are they going to do about guns?” Bloomberg told WOR News Talk Radio 710.
Bloomberg was followed in his idiocy by CNN host and all-round smarm-merchant Piers Morgan, who in a series of tweets hastily seized upon the tragedy to promote his lust for disarming the general public.
“America has got to do something about its gun laws. Now is the time,” said Morgan.
“Lunatics like this will always try and get guns. It should be 100,000 times harder than it is for them to do so. That’s my point,” he added.
Perhaps the more fundamental question that needs to be asked as to why America keeps experiencing mass shootings, when as recently as twenty years ago they were few and far between, is to what extent our sick culture and entertainment industry is contributing to the general malaise and unfeeling psychosis that seems to have gripped the younger generations?
Why were there so few mass shootings just two decades ago compared to now? Has the number and availability of guns increased substantially? No. Is the sewer pipe we call Hollywood and the entertainment industry pumping out sicker, more nihilistic and more violence-strewn films than ever before? Yes.
As numerous observers have noted, the recent Batman films have contained unnerving amounts of violence that seem to serve little purpose other than to appease a bloodthirsty craving for gore and brutality amongst young people, who have had such sickness foisted upon them through movies, entertainment, video games and popular music.
As Jenny McCartney notes in the Telegraph, we have been turned into a society seduced by sadism.
This sadism is also more accessible to children and young people than ever before. Many people today are asking what a 6-year-old child was doing at a midnight screening of a movie?
In addition, the fact that these kind of movies are able to generate such a level of suspended disbelief that victims thought the shooting was initially part of the movie, is a shocking example of how much power the big screen has to warp minds.
It’s also now come to light that Warner Bros paired the Batman movie with a trailer for a film which shows “a gangster with a machine gun shooting up people in a movie theater from behind the big screen.”
Once again, before we even know anything about the 24-year-old shooter James Holmes, the establishment media and leftist political operatives are rushing to denounce gun rights as the culprit behind the tragedy, once again failing to address the underlying root cause – a sadistic, death obsessed culture that allows young men to be drawn into bizarre fantasy worlds where violence is seen as an alluring adventure.
UPDATE: Warner Bros Pulls Trailer Of Gangster Shooting Up Movie Theater
By NIKKI FINKE | Friday July 20, 2012 @ 9:38am PDT
EXCLUSIVE … UPDATE 9:30 AM: Warner Bros is now telling me that its outside non-studio spokeswoman failed to tell me the whole and accurate story about the process that led to the studio taking down its offensive Gangster Squad trailer this morning. A Warner Bros executive now tells me how the studio was scrambling to deal with the Aurora theater shooting crisis in the pre-dawn hours of the morning. Then, at 5 AM, one of the top distribution execs remembered that Warner Bros’ Gangster Squad trailer was playing “loose” this weekend timed to the studio’s The Dark Knight Rises release in about 30% of domestic theaters. (“Loose” means that theaters had been asked to play the trailer which was not paired with The Dark Knight Rises.)
According to Warner Bros, this distribution exec suddenly remembered that the trailer for the mob movie contained a scene showing a gangster with a machine gun shooting up people in a movie theater from behind the big screen. This distribution exec quickly instructed the studio to “replace it as soon as possible”. At 6 AM, Warner Bros started notifying the theater circuits to pull the offensive Gangster Squad trailer. That is being done all over North America today. Meanwhile, Warner Bros’ marketing department is scrambling to get out its second-generation Gangster Squad trailer already in the works. This new trailer, without the movie theater scene, will be swapped out for the offensive one within a week. Warner Bros says this is now the whole story.
And the studio’s explanation which I absolutely believe also makes clear that, while my phone calls overlapped with their behind-the-scenes process, I was not responsible for the studio pulling the offensive Gangster Squad trailer with the movie theater shooting scene.
PREVIOUS 7:30 AM: This was truly terrible decision-making by Warner Bros – both to release a trailer like this
and then not to pull it immediately after today’s tragedy. I have confirmed that the studio which released The Dark Knight Rises paired offered it with the official movie trailer for Gangster Squad, an upcoming pic set in 1949 about a ruthless Mafia Godfather who runs Los Angeles. One of the scenes in the trailer that’s been playing all morning today shows a gangster with a machine gun shooting up people in a movie theater from behind the big screen. Several outraged moviegoers tipped me to this scene.
This morning I called on Warner Bros to take this trailer down immediately. The studio’s response to me? “There’s a meeting about this and then a decision will be reached.” I just received the call that the trailer is being pulled.
But only after I complained. And yet movie moguls wonder why so much of the country hates Hollywood values where money trumps everything, even during the Aurora theater shooting tragedy. Here’s the horrible clip which no one at Warner Bros should have allowed to be made, much less released, in the first place:
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke – tip her here.
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