A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas from two canisters and fired into a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colo. at a midnight opening of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” killing 12 people and injuring at 59 others, authorities said. At least one person struck in an adjacent theater auditorium.
Aurora police and firefighter/paramedics responded about 12:39 a.m. to the Century 16 theater complex, 14300 E. Alameda Avenue to multiple reports of multiple shooting victims at the theater. A masked gunman killed 12 people at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in a suburb of Denver just after midnight, early on Friday. The offender hurled gas canisters into the Century 16 movie auditorium, and opened fire at moviegoers without saying a word. Witnesses reported he entered through an emergency exit at the right front of the Theater 9 less than 10 minutes into the film. Witnesses also report that someone in the front row answered a cell phone and walked to the emergency exit within an hour before the offender began shooting.
About fifty other victims, including children, were wounded and/or exposed to tear gas in the attack at the screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in a mall in the Aurora suburb. The theater immediately filled with ‘smoke’ from the two canisters. Two explosions and hissing were initially heard by witnesses.
The suspect, James Holmes, 24, of Aurora, was captured by police in the rear parking lot of the Century 16 Movie Theaters. He was dressed in all black with body armor, throat protector, groin protector, a ballistic helmet and carried a mask and a rifle. An open grass field is adjacent to the rear wall of the theater — southeast of the theater. Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates reported Friday morning that Holmes’ apartment is booby trapped with a “sophisticated” maze of flammable devices. The hazmat/bomb squad operation could take hours or days for authorities to disarm it. Five nearby buildings have been evacuated. Holmes had no prior criminal record in Colorado.
Ten people were killed at the scene, and two people died at Aurora area hospitals. Some victims were transported to the hospital with serious or critical gunshot wounds. Victims were also treated for chemical exposure resulting from gas released from canisters thrown by the gunman.
Level I Trauma Center Swedish Medical Center in Denver, which is about 20 miles from the theater, received at least three victims immediately by ambulance. A male, 18, was shot in the one of his extremities. Two critically injured victims at Swedish Medical Center were immediately undergoing trauma surgical treatment.
Video taken by moviegoer on an Android phone minutes after the shooting at Century 16, 14300 E. Alameda Avea, Aurora, Colorado.
Police interviewed hundreds of possible witnesses at a makeshift command post at Dillards department store. Other witnesses were transported by bus to Gateway High School for questioning.
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Map of Aurora Town Center with Century Cinema at the southeast corner (lower right) of the mall property.
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Aurora, Colorado is about 10 miles east of Denver, Colorado.