The Latest: The 'Dark Knight' Massacre
July 21, 2012
Authorities and news agencies are still trying to piece together the details and timeline of the Dark Knight shooting massacre which took place at last night's midnight screening of the new Batman movie in Aurora, CO. Here are the latest details:
At least 12 people are dead, with 71 people shot and at least 59 said to be wounded, including a three-month-old, according to CNN.
The shooter is believed to be James Holmes, pictured above, a 24-year-old California man who moved to Colorado last year to attend medical school at the University of Colorado's graduate school, pursuing his PhD in neuroscience. Holmes has been taken into custody by police, who are confident that he is the right suspect and that he acted alone. He surrendered "without incident."
Police say the shooter was wearing full, head-to-toe combat gear, including a bulletproof vest, ballistic helmet and a gas mask, as he entered the movie theater from an emergency exit at the front of the theater. He tossed a smoke bomb in front of the screen and then opened fire on the audience in an apparent random pattern.
The AP reports that the gunman reportedly had his hair painted red and said he was "The Joker," who is well-known as Batman's arch-villain.
CNN reports that authorities recovered four guns -- a rifle similar to an AR-15, a shotgun and two Glock handguns. ABC News confirms that Holmes' firearms were legally purchased at Bass Pro Shops & Gander Mountain Guns within the last several months.
Holmes' family has released a statement: "Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time. Our family is cooperating with authorities in both San Diego, California and Aurora, Colorado. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy."
Holmes' apartment is booby-trapped with sophisticated explosives and chemical devices, and authorities expect to be there for days to work through the bombs. In the apartment, a poster of Will Ferrell as Anchorman hung on the wall, and a song was left playing on repeat at a high volume, prompting neighbors to call police to complain about the noise.
Victims were taken to six area hospitals. The Medical Center of Aurora received 15 patients from the early morning shooting. Twelve of the 15 patients have gunshot wounds; the other 3 patients had chemical exposure and went through the hospital decontamination process and have been released. There is a mix of male and female patients, ranging from 17 to 31 years old.
AMC Theaters has released a statement: "We are terribly saddened by the random act of violence in Aurora and our thoughts are with the victims and their families. For the safety and security of our guests and associates, we are actively working with local law enforcement in communities throughout the nation and under the circumstances we are reaching out to all of our theaters to review our safety and security procedures. Being a safe place in the community for all our guests is a top priority at AMC and we take that responsibility very seriously." Deadline.com reports that AMC Theaters is reinforcing its security and will not allow any guests into theaters "in costumes that make other guests feel uncomfortable and we will not permit face-covering masks or fake weapons inside our buildings." The chain added that it will exchange or refund tickets for The Dark Knight Rises, and "Local law enforcement agencies, our landlords and their and our local security teams are stepping up nationwide to ensure we provide the safest environment possible for our guests. We couldn't be more grateful for their collective support."
Reports have circulated that Warner Bros. was considering pulling The Dark Knight Rises from its more than 4,000 movie screens across the country this weekend, but a rep from Warner Bros. tells ET that there is "no truth to this."
But Warner Bros. has confirmed that they've canceled appearances by the cast and filmmakers of The Dark Knight Rises in Mexico and Japan in light of the Aurora theater shooting. The film's Paris premiere was canceled Friday.
According to Aurora Police as of Saturday morning, the first threat in Holmes' apartment -- a trip wire designed to kill a person if they entered -- and a second triggering device, have been successfully disabled through a controlled detonation. Although they are not certain, they are hopeful they have eliminated the remaining major threats. However, many hazards still remain in the apartment, which they have not yet entered.