Gunman Kills 12 at Colorado ‘Dark Knight’ Premiere Screening
At least 50 others wounded during mall theater massacre
A gunman opened fire at a Colorado theater early Friday morning, while moviegoers attended midnight screenings of "The Dark Knight Rises," killing at least 12 and injuring 50 others, police officials said.
The shooter, identified by federal authorities as 24-year-old James Holmes, has been apprehended. Conflicting reports say he used three to four guns and tear gas inside of a packed theater room around 12:30 a.m. ET, the Associated Press reports.
The shooting took place at the Century 16 Theater at the Aurora (Co.) Mall, in a suburb of Denver.
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Several reports suggest the youngest injured victim was a 3-month-old child. The names and ages of those killed have not been released.
Witnesses report smelling smoke or tear gas, before hearing continued gunfire. Bullets reportedly traveled to other theater rooms, injuring moviegoers in adjacent rooms.
One witness in an adjacent theater told reporters he and his sister had trouble distinguishing the sound effect in the movie from the actual gunshots.
“We were watching a scene in the movie – it was a shootout scene,” the man told a local CNN TV affiliate. “A loud bang came from the right of the theater. Smoke took over the entire theater and it was really thick and no one could really see anything.”
There was no word on the shooter’s motive.
Warner Brothers Studios, the producer of the Dark Knight film franchise, release the following statement:
"Warner Bros. is 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 studio has canceled a Friday film premier event in Paris, in the wake of the shooting. So far, the movie has made $27 million in U.S. midnight ticket sales, NBC News reports.