A gunman opened fire in a suburban Denver movie theater at Friday’s midnight showing of the final film in the Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, killing at least 12 people and wounding 59, including a baby.
The shooter has been identified as James Holmes, 24, a former graduate student at the University of Colorado.
At the midnight screening of the movie, Holmes, wearing a gas mask and body armor and carrying an assault rifle and a shotgun set off a gas canister and fired into the crowd. Seventy-one people were shot in the theater. He was taken into custody shortly after.
Many people at the movie were initially confused, believing the attack to be part of the show.
President Obama weighed in on the tragedy this morning, pausing for a moment of silence during a cancelled campaign stop in Florida. He said "this day is a day of prayer and reflection" and urged people to think about the "incredible blessings that God has given us." The shooting is a reminder that "we are united as one American family," said the president.
Mitt Romney also released a statement, stating “We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief.” The statement added that “the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”
Witness Jennifer Seeger recalls the silent shooter making his way up the theater aisle. "I told my friend, 'We've got to get out of here,' but then he shot people trying to go out the exits," she told the Today Show.
Moviegoers told local reporters of their terror as nearby viewers fell victim. "I walked out and to my right, there was a girl shot in her knee — holding onto her mom and crying," another witness told a local station. "I actually went to the back of the building where there were more victims. A guy with his leg blown open ... another guy shot in the foot ... a lady shot in her hand."
When he was in custody, Holmes told officers of possible explosives at his residence. Officers have determined that the apartment is indeed booby trapped. Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said in a news confernece that devices inside Holmes' apartmetn are disturbing and sophisticated.
Earlier Friday, Obama released the following statement on the fatal shooting:
"Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado ... We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family."
Police say that Holmes acted alone and they are not seeking other suspects.
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(Photos from left: Courtesy University of Colorado, EPA/BOB PEARSON /LANDOV)
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