James Holmes, 24, is currently in police custody as the suspected gunman who local police say shot 71 people at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, leaving 12 dead. According to E!, 10 people were killed at the scene, and two died at local hospitals, including a 6-year-old. The youngest victim was a 3-month-old baby, who was treated at a hospital and later released.
The suspected gunman is said to have worn a gas mask similar to the Batman film's villain, Bane. "Witnesses tell us he released some sort of canister," Aurora police chief Dan Oates told the media (via Fox News). "They heard a hissing sound and some gas emerged and the gunman opened fire." Some patrons reportedly thought at first that it was part of a publicity stunt tied to the midnight screening.
"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."
Police told reporters the gunman was carrying an AR-15 assault rifle, Remington 12-gauge shotgun, and a 40-caliber glock handgun and he also had a 40-caliber glock in the car. The suspect reportedly told police there was a bomb at his apartment, and officers responding found a "very sophisticated" booby trap inside, Oates told reporters (via CNN).
The suspect, a former neuroscience graduate student at the University of Colorado Denver, is scheduled to appear in court in Arapahoe County, Colorado, on Monday morning.
Warner Bros., the studio behind the Batman film, has canceled the Paris premiere in light of the tragedy, and both AMC and Regal Cinemas have revised their policies on acceptable movie theater costumes. President Obama was reportedly told of the shooting at 3:26 a.m., when he was preparing for a campaign day in Florida. He decided to cancel the campaign events to return to Washington to focus on the shooting. Obama called the killings "senseless, evil, and beyond reason."
This is the worst mass shooting in the U.S. since 13 people were killed and 32 injured at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.
Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.