12 killed, 59 wounded in Colo. theater shooting
by Thomas Peipert, Associated Press and P Solomon Banda, Associated Press
July 20, 2012 04:10 PM | 2101 views | 4 4 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Police are pictured outside of a Century 16 movie theatre where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting during the showing of a movie at the in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
Police are pictured outside of a Century 16 movie theatre where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting during the showing of a movie at the in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
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A SWAT team officer stands watch near an apartment house where the suspect in a shooting at a movie theatre lived in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. As many as 14 people were killed and 50 injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre early Friday during the showing of the latest Batman movie. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
A SWAT team officer stands watch near an apartment house where the suspect in a shooting at a movie theatre lived in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. As many as 14 people were killed and 50 injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre early Friday during the showing of the latest Batman movie. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
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AURORA, Colo. (AP) _ A gunman wearing a gas mask and black SWAT gear hurled a gas canister inside a crowded movie theater during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie Friday and then opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding nearly 60 others in an attack so bizarre that some moviegoers at first thought they were watching Hollywood special effects.

As smoke from the canister spread, audience members watching “The Dark Knight Rises” at the suburban Denver theater saw the silhouette of a person materialize near the screen, point a gun at the crowd and begin shooting, apparently without a word.

New York City’s police commissioner said he was told the gunman had painted his hair red and called himself the Joker _ Batman’s nemesis _ but Aurora police would not confirm that.

It was one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.

The suspected gunman, identified as James Holmes, a 24-year-old doctoral student in neuroscience who was about to drop out of the University of Colorado-Denver, was arrested near a car behind the theater.

Authorities gave no motive for the attack. The FBI said there was no indication of ties to any terrorist groups.

“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, stopping only 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.”

Police said 71 people in all were shot.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said the gunman wore a gas mask, a ballistic helmet and vest, and leg, groin and throat protectors. He said he had an AR-15 military-style, semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and two pistols.

While some witnesses said the gunman entered through a side-door emergency exit at the front of the theater, a federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Holmes bought a ticket and went into the theater as part of the crowd. The official said Holmes then apparently propped open an exit door in the theater as the movie was playing, donned the protective ballistic gear and opened fire.

FBI agents and police used a hook-and-ladder fire truck to reach Holmes’ apartment in Aurora. They put a camera at the end of a 12-foot pole inside the apartment and discovered the unit was booby-trapped. Authorities evacuated five buildings as they tried to figure how to disarm the flammable and explosive material.

In New York City, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said: “It clearly looks like a deranged individual. He has his hair painted red. He said he was the Joker, obviously the enemy of Batman.”

Oates would not confirm that information, but confirmed he had spoken to Kelly. The two used to work together in New York.

Some of the victims were treated for chemical exposure apparently related to canisters thrown by the gunman. Those hurt included a 4-month-old baby, who was treated at a hospital and released.

Holmes enrolled in a Ph.D. program in neuroscience a year ago but was in the process of withdrawing at the time of the shooting, said University of Colorado-Denver spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said.

Police released a statement from Holmes’ family: “Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those inrted flooding the 911 switchboard. 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.

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Associated Press writers Kristen Wyatt, Steven K. Paulson, Ivan Moreno and Mead Gruver in Aurora, Dan Elliott and Colleen Slevin in Denver and Alicia A. Caldwell and Eileen Sullivan in Washington contributed to this report.

Comments
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B H
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July 21, 2012
With 300 people in and around that movie theater you would have thought that there would have been a few people there with CCW's or a cop or two.

I understand that in the Denmark case that country probably had strict gun control, but what is going on in Colorado? Don't they issue CCWs?

Try that in Ga with a 300 person crowd and you won't survive long enough to shoot 71 people.

We need more people out there carrying guns, the cops can't be everywhere.
A.P. Palled
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July 21, 2012
Yeah, more guns.

A crowded, darkened movie theatre, full of smoke, and everyone shooting at each other, not being able to identify their target.

Madness.
Sick of Glory-Hounds
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July 20, 2012
Here is what all news media should do: stop publishing identification information about the shooters in these incidences. They all do this crap out of some perverse fascination with going out in a blaze of "glory" with the whole world knowing who they are, how "alone" they felt and how "misunderstood" they were. The media can still report about what they did and the lives of all the innocent people they affected, but let's stop giving these monsters their moments of fame (or infamy) already!!!
Woww
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July 20, 2012
Why is a 3 mth old in a movie theatre?? OMG
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