At least 12 (previously reported as 14 – the number has been adjusted by officials), people were killed and 71 (previously reported as 50) hurt early Friday following a shooting at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado (near Denver).
10 people died at the scene of the shooting, and four others died after being taken to local hospitals. Injuries range from gunshots to gas inhalation 71 people in theater number 9 were injured – including children. Early reports have the ages of the victims ranging from six-years-old to 51 years old. At least six have been taken to children’s hospitals; some police officers even rushed victims to hospitals in police cars.
The shooting started around 12:30AM MST, and the gunman kicked in an exit door in order to enter the theater. In a live, televised press conference, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates reports that police responded to the incident within approximately a minute and a half to two minutes.
MSNBC is reporting that witnesses told reporters that gunfire erupted during a shootout scene and a hissing canister (possibly tear gas) also went off in the theater, and that bullets had passed from one theater into an adjoining one. Sky News reports that ”a lot of people thought the gunshots were part of the movie.”
One Bert Show listener’s friend was in the actual theater during the shooting, and reports that his friend said the gunman was “masked.” Other reports coming in say that the shooter was wearing a ballistic helmet, ballistic leggings, a gas mask, a throat protecter and black tactical gloves, a bulletproof vest, and had three different guns, (an assault rifle, a shotgun and a Glock), as well as another Glock in the car. It is not yet known whether or not the firearms were obtained legally; ATF is assisting in the workup.
The 24-year-old suspect was found outside the theater and is now in custody; no information has surfaced yet on the motive for the shooting. The FBI is now involved and law enforcement tells CNN that there are no ties to terrorism, nor the military.
*UPDATE* The gunman has been identified as 24-year-old Aurora, CO resident, James Holmes.
*UPDATE 2* Authorities have amended the injury count to 71 with 12 deaths. The police believe that Holmes acted alone, and are not looking for any other suspects at this time. Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates also reported in a televised press conference that Holmes’ apartment was “booby trapped” with various incendiary and explosive devices, along with trip wires.
*UPDATE 3* Authorities are reporting that Holmes had been planning this attack for months, and that all weapons were obtained legally. His apartment took two days to disarm; had he not told authorities about the booby traps, they would have likely killed any who entered. Holmes is now in solitary confinement due to death threats by inmates.
As a result of the shooting, AMC and Regal Theaters have instituted bans and closer control over character costumes.
Is innocence totally lost? Bert asks on HLN if anywhere is safe:
Callers thoughts on the tragedy, and on Bert’s letter:
A witness to the Dark Knight theater shooting joins The Bert Show to enact the horrifying details…she was in the FOURTH ROW of theater number nine. Could you even being to imagine what that was like?
How You Can Help: Give through the following websites: Colorado Organization For Victim Assistance (COVA), GivingFirst.org and IGiveFirst.com, and find Aurora Love on Facebook.
The 12 Victims Include a Six-Year-Old Girl, Four Members of the Armed Services, Students, and Parents
After a tragic mass shooting, you always hear a lot about the killer; everyone knows his name, and what he looks like. But the victims – they’re the ones who deserve to be remembered.
6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan. Veronica just learned to swim and was ready to start first grade. Her mother was critically injured, and kept asking about Veronica as she was being treated for a bullet in the neck.
18-year-old A.J. Boik. A.J. just graduated high school and was getting his career going as a distributor for a coffee company. He went to see the movie with his girlfriend and one of his closest friends, who both survived.
23-year-old Micayla Medek. Micayla was putting herself through Community College in Aurora and working at Subway. Her family didn’t learn of her death until 19 hours after the shooting.
24-year-old Jessica Ghawi. Jessica was an aspiring sports reporter who, believe it or not, survived a mass shooting at a mall in Toronto JUST LAST MONTH (she had left because of a “bad feeling”). She was interning at the Fox station in Denver.
24-year-old Alex Teves. Alex was a recent graduate from the University of Denver with a master’s in counseling psychology. He took a bullet pushing his girlfriend to the ground to save her life.
26-year-old Jonathan Blunk. Jonathan was a five-year Navy veteran who was about to fly home to Reno on Saturday to see his wife, his four-year-old daughter, and his two-year-old son. His daughter keeps listening to a voicemail he left her.
27-year-old John Larimer. John was a third generation Naval officer from Illinois and the youngest of five children. His unit was stationed in Colorado and he went to see the movie with some friends.
27-year-old Matt McQuinn. Matt moved to Denver with his girlfriend last November. He died heroically, providing cover from the bullets for his girlfriend, who survived.
27-year-old Alex Sullivan. Alex went to the movie to celebrate his birthday and his first anniversary with his wife. He tweeted, quote, “Oh man one hour til the movie and it’s going to be the best birthday ever.”
29-year-old Jesse Childress. Jesse was an Air Force staff sergeant on active duty at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado. He died protecting a friend and fellow member of the Air Force.
32-year-old Rebecca Wingo. Rebecca joined the Air Force out of high school, learned Chinese, and served as a translator. She was the mother of two young girls, one of whom is about to start kindergarten.
51-year-old Gordon Cowden. Gordon was the oldest person murdered in the shooting. He was a small business owner who took his two teenagers to see the movie. They both survived.