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On July 20, Twelve were killed and an estimated fifty or more were injured in a mass shooting at the midnight showing of ‘Dark Knight Rises’ in theater 9 of the Aurora, Colorado mall multiplex. According to inthecapital.com the attack is being called the “Batman Shooting.”
Twenty-four year old James Holmes, a native of Aurora, was arrested in the back of the theater holding a rifle and handgun and wearing a gas mask and bullet proof vest. Police spokesman Frank Fania stated, “he did not resist. He did not put up a fight.” Holmes’ mother reportedly called authorities from San Diego and told them they “had the right person.”
Holmes attacked about thirty minutes into the film, breaking in through the exit door. He then threw two canisters of tear gas into the audience. After the canisters exploded he opened fire. “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 stated. “I heard at least 20 to 30 rounds within that minute or two.”
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates stated, “Witnesses tell us he released some sort of canister. They heard a hissing sound and some gas emerged and the gunman opened fire.” Oates has announced that authorities do not believe he had an accomplice. FBI spokesman Jason Pack claimed that there was also no proof to suggest that Holmes was connected to terrorism in any way.
Upon being detained by the police Holmes claimed that he had left an explosive in his apartment. Police quickly evacuated the apartment building but the finding of an explosive device has not been announced.
The youngest victim of the shooting, a three month old, was treated at a hospital and released. Ten individuals died on scene while two others died at the hospital. Six of the victims were treated at the Children’s Hospital in Colorado although their statuses have not been announced. Several victims were also treated for chemical exposure to the tear gas.
President Obama issued this statement in response to the shooting: “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.
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.”
Warner Bros., the production and distribution company for the film, also issued a statement saying, “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.” Warner Bros. also cancelled the premiere that was scheduled to take place at midnight on July 20 out of respect for the victims and their families.
Aurora is Colorado’s third-largest city with 327,000 people. The theater where the shooting took place is about ten miles from downtown Denver.
Image Courtesy of The Dark Knight Rises