Update: CNN has learned that James Holmes, the suspected shooter, was a PhD candidate in neuroscience at the University of Colorado.
Tragedy struck last night as The Dark Knight Rises began it’s rollout across the country. At about 12:30 am in Aurora, Colorado a gunman walked into a theater with body armor and AK-47 and two sidearms and started opening fire on a theater.
Twelve were pronounced dead while 50 were injured and sent to nearby hospitals. Originally, theater-goers were deemed that the man, who is suspected to be local James Holmes, to be part of the show.
Here’s a video interview flagged by The Huffington Post from some witnesses.
Witnesses say he tossed some kind of gas canister into the theater before he started shooting at the ceiling, and that he looked so calm it was scary. When police arrested the man they believed to be the shooter they said he didn’t resist arrest at all.
The shooter apparently started shooting during an action scene of the film, confusing most people as they thought it was apart of the film until they heard moaning and starting seeing fellow audience members injured. By the way, not all 50 injured were hurt by bullets. Some went to the hospital because of the mysterious gas the shooter released.
CNN also found this YouTube video about the scene directly after the shooting outside the theater. I warn you, it isn’t for the faint of heart as blood is visible.
Adam Witt told CNN the following about the experience:
“The first thing I noticed was a hissing sound coming from the left side of the theater. I noticed people beginning to react in the area. I knew something was wrong,”
“Then the gunshots began. A sudden flash of light and loud bang from the right side of the screen. Then another, and another. There must have been 20-30, at the least. At first glance they looked like fireworks or something, perhaps a prank.”
“I hit the floor and hid behind the seats in front of me, pulling my wife down to hide with me. It was the longest minute of my life. The gunshots just kept coming. I knew it could be over any second. I knew my wife could be gone any second. It was absolutely surreal. I felt something hit my left arm, and my first thought was ‘at least it’s just my arm.’”
“I took my wife by the hand and we booked it for the back door, trying to breathe through the gas that now permeated the room.”
President Obama was briefed about the tragedy early in the morning, and said this:
“As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family,”
Warner Bros, the studio behind The Dark Knight Rises, released a statement on the behalf of themselves and the filmmakers and said they were “deeply saddened” by learning of the shooting and that they would cancel the Paris premiere for the film.
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and other city commissioners said they would increase security around theaters to prevent copycats.
The suspected shooter dropped out of the University of Colorado a month ago and authorities evacuated his apartment complex because his home was booby-trapped with flammable and explosive material.
No motivation is known yet, but Cinemark – the theater chain that owns the Aurora theater – is working closely with the police. They released the following 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.”
All around, this is a terrible tragedy and one that’s filled with heart-breaking stories. Reports of kids having been at the midnight shooting and some witnesses saying seeing a police carry out an injured child that wasn’t moving has stuck with them. Casualties include children under 10 years old as well.
The prayers and thoughts of everyone at Swiftfilm is with the injured and passed as well as their family members, friends and anyone who has been deeply saddened by this horrific event. If there are any charities that come from this Swiftfilm will let you know as soon as possible, as well as keep you updated on any developments. [THR, MotherJones, CNN, CNN, BBC]