The highly-anticipated third installment of the Batman trilogy “The Dark Knight Rises” opened to packed auditoriums around the country at midnight showings today, Friday morning. This movie features a villain named Bane who wears a bulletproof vest and gas mask. Trailers for the movie show explosions at public events including a football game. Many moviegoers dressed in costume to attend the opening night screening.
At the Century 16 Theater in the Town Center Mall in Aurora, Colorado during the midnight premiere of the movie “The Dark Knight Rises” a gunman opened fire shooting indiscriminately. The gunman entered the theater about 20 to 30 minutes after the show started, setting off smoke bombs and running up and down the aisles firing as many as four weapons at viewers.
12 people were killed and as many as 50 people were injured including members of the U.S. military. Police said 10 victims died inside the theater, while dozens of others were taken to local hospitals, including a child as young as 6 years old.
People watching movies in theaters next to the one where the shooting took place said bullets tore through the theater walls and they heard screaming.
The killer – James Eagan Holmes alias Bane
The suspected gunman has been identified as Ph.D. student James Eagan Holmes, 24, who recently withdrew from his neuroscience studies at the University of Colorado.
According to police, he was apprehended in the parking lot. At the time of arrest, Holmes was still wearing a bullet-proof vest and riot helmet and carrying a gas mask, rifle, and handgun.
As he was taken into custody, Holmes mentioned having “booby-trapped” his apartment with explosives stored, leading police to evacuate his entire North Aurora apartment complex and search the buildings early this morning.
Holmes, 24, moved to Aurora to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of Colorado medical center, living just blocks from the hospital in an apartment that police say is now laced with explosives and being searched by HazMat teams.
ABC News reports that Holmes bought a ticket to the movie, slipped out of the theater once it began and propped open the emergency exit before gathering his weapons and gear and coming back into the theater. Once inside, he opened fire.
Today, Police Commissioner Ray Kelley said “as a precaution against copycats and to raise the comfort levels among movie patrons in the wake of the horrendous shooting in Colorado, the New York City Police Department is providing coverage at theaters where the ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is playing.”
The Paris premiere of the movie has been cancelled in the wake of the shootings.
“Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are 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,” the movie’s producers said in a statement.
Police have made no statements about any connection between the gunman’s motives and the movie.