Mass Shooting in Colorado Leaves 12 Dead, More than 50 Injured
A shooting at a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater early today has left at least 12 people dead and more than 50 injured, according to a recent report from The Associated Press.
According to an article from Good Morning America, police have now apprehended a 24-year-old male and recovered a gun after the shooting at approximately 12:39 a.m. CT at the Century 16 Movie Theaters at the Aurora Town Center in the Denver Suburb. The suspect has been identified as James Holmes, 24, of Aurora, CNN confirms.
Witnesses say that the man appeared at the front of the theater with a rifle, handgun and gas mask. The man threw a canister that released some form of gas, after which a hissing sound ensued and he opened fire on the crowd packed into the early-morning film screening, according to people in the theater at the time, the article reports.
“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.”
Several witnesses have stated that the gunman was dressed as a SWAT team member, according to AP. Holmes was discovered wearing all-black and a protective vest, and he was arrested by his car outside the movie theater in possession of an assault gun, a rifle and two pistols, an AP report states.
Another man who had talked to a couple who was inside the theater told ABC News that the couple got up and started to run toward the emergency exist, but when they turned, “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 then after we didn’t hear anything,” the couple told the man, as quoted in the article, “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.”
Witnesses and victims were taken to Gateway High School for questioning, the article says.
Of the six victims taken to Children’s Hospital in Aurora, the one of which is 6 years old. Another is a 3-month-old infant who was shot, AP reports. Victims are being treated for chemical exposure apparently related to the gas canisters thrown by the gunman.
About 100 FBI agents are on the scene, according to the local special agent in charge. And, once apprehended, the gunman told authorities that there were explosives in his North Aurora residence. The apartment complex was evacuated and is now under lockdown, the ABC article says.
Explosives were found, and police say that the apartment was booby-trapped with "a pretty sophisticated device," according to a USA Today report. Five apartment buildings near the suspect's apartment building were evacuated.
An explosive device was also found inside the movie house. Police are uncertain whether the device, which investigators are calling a bomb, according to ABC, was already in place or whether It was thrown into the crowd.
A senior official who is monitoring the situation in Washington said that early guidance based on an early snapshot of the man’s background indicated that this act does not appear to be related to radical terrorism or anything related to Islamic terrorism, the article reports.
This has been declared the worst shooting in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, when students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire and killed 12 classmates and a teacher, wounding 26 others before killing themselves.
A previous report stated that 14 people had died in the attack. The number of people injured continues to change. At last count, authorities released the numbers as 71 people shot in the movie theater – 12 were killed; 59 were injured. As this is a breaking news story, Security magazine is reporting it to you as it unfolds, and any necessary corrections and additions will be made.