12 people were killed and 59* more were injured when a gunman opened fire during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. Police arrested 24 year old James Holmes in the parking lot outside of a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, with law enforcement reporting he did not resist when they took him into custody.
Holmes reportedly came into the theater where the TDKR was showing through an emergency door, tossed in tear gas, and then opened fire on the audience. CNN says some members of the audience thought the gunman, who was wearing a gas mask that was similar to the one the character Bane wears in the film, was part of the screening. A law enforcement official told CNN that Holmes used at least four guns (rifle, shotgun, and 2 handguns). Other sources are saying Holmes had three guns at the scene.
A three month old baby was among the injured victims being treated at a local hospital.
Aurora, CO is about a dozen miles from Littleton, the location of the devastating Columbine High School shooting.
In response to the shooting, Warner Bros cancelled their Paris premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. The studio also issued a statement:
“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.”
President Obama released this statement:
“Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. 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. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.”
And the theater chain, Cinemark, put out this statement:
“Cinemark is deeply saddened about this tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and loved ones, our employees, and the Aurora community. We are grateful for the quick and professional reaction of all local law enforcement and emergency responders. Cinemark is working closely with the Aurora Police Department and local law enforcement.”
Updated: AMC issued this statement concerning screenings of The Dark Knight Rises in their theaters:
“AMC Theatres is deeply saddened by the Aurora tragedy. Movie going is part of our social fabric and this senseless act shakes us to our core. We’re reinforcing our security procedures with our theatre teams, which we cannot discuss in detail for obvious, safety reasons. 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.
At this time, our show schedules circuit-wide will not change. We will not allow any guests into our theatres in costumes that make other guests feel uncomfortable and we will not permit face-covering masks or fake weapons inside our buildings. If guests wish to exchange or refund any tickets, we will honor our existing policy and do as our guests wish. We are taking necessary precautions to ensure our guests who wish to enjoy a movie this weekend can do so with as much peace of mind as possible in these circumstances.”
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Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims at this very difficult time.
* – updated after the official police press conference