Batman movie massacre: 12 dead, 59 injured

People gather outside the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., at the scene of a mass shooting early Friday morning, July 20, 2012. Police Chief Dan Oates says 14 people are dead following the shooting at the suburban Denver movie theater. He says 50 others were injured when gunfire erupted early Friday at the Aurora theater. Oates says a gunman appeared at the front of one of the Century 16 theaters. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Karl Gehring)

People gather outside the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., at the scene of a mass shooting early Friday morning, July 20, 2012. Police Chief Dan Oates says 14 people are dead following the shooting at the suburban Denver movie theater. He says 50 others were injured when gunfire erupted early Friday at the Aurora theater. Oates says a gunman appeared at the front of one of the Century 16 theaters. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Karl Gehring)

This photo provided by the University of Colorado shows James Holmes, 24. University spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery says Holmes, who police say is the suspect in a mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, was studying neuroscience in a Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver graduate school. (AP Photo/University of Colorado)

This photo provided by the University of Colorado shows James Holmes, 24. University spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery says Holmes, who police say is the suspect in a mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, was studying neuroscience in a Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver graduate school. (AP Photo/University of Colorado)

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Some of world's worst mass shootings:

July 20, 2012: At least 12 people are killed when a gunman enters an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, releases a canister of gas and then opens fire during opening night of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises."

July 22, 2011: At least 80 people are killed at a summer camp on the Norwegian island of Utoya. A man arrested also is suspected in a blast earlier the same day in downtown Oslo that killed seven. Anders Behring Breivik, 33, has admitted to carrying out both attacks. He awaits sentencing on Aug. 24.

April 30, 2009: Farda Gadyrov, 29, enters the prestigious Azerbaijan State Oil Academy in the capital, Baku, armed with an automatic pistol and clips. He kills 12 people before killing himself as police close in.

March 10, 2009: Michael McLendon, 28, killed 10 people — including his mother, four other relatives, and the wife and child of a local sheriff's deputy — across two rural Alabama counties. He then killed himself.

Sept. 23, 2008: Matti Saari, 22, walks into a vocational college in Kauhajoki, Finland, and opens fire, killing 10 people and burning their bodies with firebombs before shooting himself fatally in the head.

Nov. 7, 2007: After revealing plans for his attack in YouTube postings, 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen fires kills eight people at his high school in Tuusula, Finland.

April 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, kills 32 people and himself on Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va.

April 26, 2002: Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, who had been expelled from school in Erfurt, Germany, kills 13 teachers, two former classmates and policeman, before committing suicide.

April 20, 1999: Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school's library.

April 28, 1996: Martin Bryant, 29, bursts into cafeteria in seaside resort of Port Arthur in Tasmania, Australia, shooting 20 people to death. Driving away, he kills 15 others. He was captured and imprisoned.

March 13, 1996: Thomas Hamilton, 43, kills 16 kindergarten children and their teacher in elementary school in Dunblane, Scotland, and then kills himself.

Oct. 16, 1991: A deadly shooting rampage took place in Killeen, Texas, as George Hennard opened fire at a Luby's Cafeteria, killing 23 people before taking his own life. 20 others were wounded in the attack.

June 18, 1990: James Edward Pough shoots people at random in a General Motors Acceptance Corp. office in Jacksonville, killing 10 and wounding four, before killing himself.

Dec. 6, 1989: Marc Lepine, 25, bursts into Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique college, shooting at women he encounters, killing nine and then himself.

Aug. 19, 1987: Michael Ryan, 27, kills 16 people in small market town of Hungerford, England, and then shoots himself dead after being cornered by police.

July 12, 1976: Edward Charles Allaway, a custodian in the library of California State University, Fullerton, fatally shot seven fellow employees and wounded two others.

Aug. 20, 1986: Pat Sherrill, 44, a postal worker who was about to be fired, shoots 14 people at a post office in Edmond, Okla. He then kills himself.

July 18, 1984: James Oliver Huberty, an out-of-work security guard, kills 21 people in a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, Calif. A police sharpshooter kills Huberty.

Aug. 1, 1966: Charles Whitman opened fire from the clock tower at the University of Texas at Austin, killing 16 people and wounding 31.

AURORA, Colo. — As the new Batman movie played on the screen, a gunman dressed in black and wearing a helmet, body armor and a gas mask stepped through a side door. At first he was just a silhouette, taken by some in the audience for a stunt that was part of one of the summer's most highly anticipated films.

But then, authorities said, he threw gas canisters that filled the packed suburban Denver theater with smoke, and, in the confusing haze between Hollywood fantasy and terrifying reality, opened fire as people screamed and dove for cover.

At least 12 people were killed and 59 wounded in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.

"He looked like an assassin ready to go to war," said Jordan Crofter, a moviegoer who was unhurt in the attack early Friday, about a half-hour after the special midnight opening of "The Dark Knight Rises."

The gunman, identified by police as 24-year-old James Holmes, used a military-style semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and a pistol, stopping only to reload.

The suspect marched up the aisle in the stadium-style theater, picking off those who tried to flee, witnesses said. Authorities said he hit 71 people. One of them was struck in an adjacent theater by gunfire that went through the wall.

"He would reload and shoot and anyone who would try to leave would just get killed," said Jennifer Seeger, adding that bullet casings landed on her head and burned her forehead.

Within minutes, frantic 911 calls brought some 200 police officers, ambulances and emergency crews to the theater. Holmes was captured in the parking lot. Police said they later found that his nearby apartment was booby-trapped.

Authorities gave no motive for the attack. The FBI said there was no indication of ties to any terrorist groups.

In New York City, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said: "It clearly looks like a deranged individual. He has his hair painted red. He said he was the Joker, obviously the enemy of Batman."

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates would not confirm that information, but did say he had spoken to Kelly. The two used to work together in New York. Asked whether Holmes had makeup to look like the Joker, Oates said: "That to my knowledge is not true."

It was the worst mass shooting in the U.S. since the Nov. 5, 2009, attack at Fort Hood, Texas. An Army psychiatrist was charged with killing 13 soldiers and civilians and wounding more than two dozen others.

It was the deadliest in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre in suburban Denver in 1999, when two students killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves.

The new Batman movie, the last in the trilogy starring Christian Bale, opened worldwide Friday with midnight showings in the U.S. The plot has the villain Bane facing Bale's Caped Crusader with a nuclear weapon that could destroy all of fictional Gotham.

The shooting prompted officials to cancel the red-carpet premiere in Paris, and some U.S. movie theaters stepped up security for daytime showings.

The attack began shortly after midnight at the multiplex in Aurora, an urban community on Denver's eastside. Audience members said they thought it was part of the movie, or some kind of stunt associated with it.

The film has several scenes of public mayhem — a hallmark of superhero movies. In one scene, Bane leads an attack on a stock exchange, and in another he leads a shooting and bombing rampage on a packed football stadium.

A federal law enforcement official said Holmes bought a ticket to the show, went into the theater as part of the crowd and propped open an exit door as the movie was playing. The suspect then donned protective ballistic gear and opened fire, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

At some point, the gunman appeared to have stepped outside because several witnesses saw him come through the door.

"All I saw is the door swinging open and the street lights behind, and you could see a silhouette," said Crofter, who was sitting on the left side of the theater and toward the front.

Sylvana Guillen said the gunman, clad in dark clothing, appeared at the front of the theater as the character Catwoman appeared in the movie. Then they heard gunshots and smelled smoke from a canister he was carrying.

As she and her friend, Misha Mostashiry, ran to the exit, Guillen said, they saw a man slip in the blood of a wounded woman he was trying to help.

Oates said the gunman wore a gas mask and a ballistic helmet and vest, as well as leg, groin and throat protectors. He said among the guns was an AR-15 rifle and that the gunman used two gas canisters.

"I thought it was showmanship. I didn't think it was real," Seeger said. She said she was in the second row, about four feet from the gunman, when he pointed a gun at her face. "I was just a deer in headlights. I didn't know what to do," she said.

Then she ducked to the ground as the gunman shot people seated behind her.

Seeger said she began crawling toward an exit when she saw a girl of about 14 "lying lifeless on the stairs." She saw a man with a bullet wound in his back and tried to check his pulse, but "I had to go. I was going to get shot."

Moviegoer Eric Hunter and his friends made their way to an exit. When he opened the door, he said, he saw two teenage girls — one shot in the mouth and the other one crying. He asked them if they were OK. "Help us. Help us, please," he recalled them saying.

Later, police began entering the theater, asking people to hold their hands up as they evacuated the building.

Some of the victims were treated for chemical exposure apparently related to canisters thrown by the gunman. Those hurt included a 4-month-old baby, who was treated at a hospital and released.

Those who knew Holmes described him as a shy, intelligent person raised in California by parents who were active in their well-to-do suburban neighborhood in San Diego. Holmes played soccer at Westview High School and ran cross-country before going to college.

On Friday morning, police escorted Holmes' father, a manager of a software company, from their home while his mother, a nurse, stayed inside, receiving visitors who came to offer support. Holmes also has a younger sister.

"As you can understand, the Holmes family is very upset about all of this," Lt. Andra Brown, the San Diego police spokeswoman, told reporters in the driveway of the family home. "It's a tragic event and it's taken everyone by surprise. They are definitely trying to work through this."

Police released a statement from his famiily that said: "Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved."

There have been no indications so far that Holmes had any run-ins with the law before Friday.

Tom Mai, a retired electrical engineer, said Holmes was a "shy guy" who came from a "very, very nice family."

Holmes graduated from University of California, Riverside, in the spring of 2010 a bachelor's degree in neuroscience, a school spokesman said. Mai said the mother told him Holmes couldn't find a job after earning a master's degree and returned to school.

In 2011, he enrolled in the Ph.D. neuroscience program at the University of Colorado-Denver but was in the process of withdrawing, a university spokeswoman said.

Holmes lived in an apartment in Aurora, and FBI agents and police who went there discovered it was booby-trapped when they used a camera at the end of a 12-foot pole to look inside.

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Comments » 119

GOPWhistle_Tamer writes:

WOW! The comments section is still active, at this time.

ballinemt writes:

why would the comments section not be active? Shouldn't a news story whether its about politics or a mass shooting be treated the same?

Sanity writes:

Yes they will allow comments for tragic events like this but if its about a liberal sacred cows like illegals or gays then comments are closed.

Sanity writes:

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families.

KennyR (Inactive) writes:

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Century is owned by Cinemark which as a no firearm policy.
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012...

If this is correct its baffling how this could have possible happened.

DillPickles writes:

From the AP:
Today on CNN, NRA spokesperson Marion Hammer offered her thoughts for the dead and injured. "The NRA wishes to honor the victims of this event in Colorado," she said, "who gave their lives in defense of our second amendment right to bear arms."

Panther309 writes:

I wonder if there might be 24 hours before posters here reduce these victims - real people - to mere fodder for their political diatribes.

Sanity writes:

in response to RobinofLocksley:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You would love Fidel Castro. He did the same thing and guess what? Only government has guns.

If you hate our constitution so much please leave to another country and stay there. You won't be missed.

ballinemt writes:

in response to RobinofLocksley:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your comment does not make sense with your past posts. On 6 June, you made the comment that,
"President Obama should bring in federal troops to insure the rights of voters in Florida".

What kind of sense are you making when you support the repel of the Posse Comitatus Act, but you also believe that only police officers should have guns. This is a clear contradiction.

Also, on 17 May you made the comment,
"Collier County will have a hispanic/haitian/black majority in 2040 ."
Since you belive that hispanics and blacks will be the majority, I would figure you would want to be the first one to have a gun to protect yourself from the animals.

KennyR (Inactive) writes:

Confirmed Century is part of Cinemark which has a no gun policy. My question to the antis, How is it possible a very bad person with guns was able to bring and fire guns in a gun free zone???????

ballinemt writes:

in response to KennyR:

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Century is owned by Cinemark which as a no firearm policy.
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012...

If this is correct its baffling how this could have possible happened.

Kenny, do you really believe that? I carry a firearms with me every place (whether the property permits it or not). The guys in your story were open carrying, not concealed. I'd rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6.

alexia6ciula writes:

in response to RobinofLocksley:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree,
And with all the violence promoted by TV and videogames this new generation looks pretty dangerous with a gun. Here in USA everyone has the ability to purchase a gun while buying milk at drugstore and its only a matter of time before more F UP incidents like this happen and it will take a lot of more blood to make people realize that the constitutional right to bare arm shall be more a priviledge . Thy may have tio change the word arm to "harm" . The shooter is in his 20 ties as it tells us he is part of the generation raised with violence on TV and videogames and his reality is totally distorted. What a choice to use a violent movie for his "show" hope they fry him.

alexia6ciula writes:

in response to ballinemt:

Your comment does not make sense with your past posts. On 6 June, you made the comment that,
"President Obama should bring in federal troops to insure the rights of voters in Florida".

What kind of sense are you making when you support the repel of the Posse Comitatus Act, but you also believe that only police officers should have guns. This is a clear contradiction.

Also, on 17 May you made the comment,
"Collier County will have a hispanic/haitian/black majority in 2040 ."
Since you belive that hispanics and blacks will be the majority, I would figure you would want to be the first one to have a gun to protect yourself from the animals.

Bellinemt,
Hope you did not reproduce.

h8snow writes:

We live within a society where hate and violence is pervasive. Until that changes and I sure don't see any evidence it will, expect more of the same. Guns do kill people and so does the hate many of you have inside that is taught to your children through verbal or physical means.

nightranger writes:

in response to RobinofLocksley:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

RobinofLocksley says "A safe society is a society without guns"

I say " Tell that to the 6,000,000 Jewish people who died under Adolph Hitler."

He also banned citizens from having weapons.

Sanity writes:

in response to KennyR:

Confirmed Century is part of Cinemark which has a no gun policy. My question to the antis, How is it possible a very bad person with guns was able to bring and fire guns in a gun free zone???????

Don't they have deputies onsite for major movie events like they do here at Reagal 20 and other theatres? I see them all the time.

I hope they have good insurance, they are going to be sued into oblivion.

ballinemt writes:

in response to alexia6ciula:

Bellinemt,
Hope you did not reproduce.

Please tell me why I should not reproduce. Is it because I used logic and the fact that minorities such blacks and hispanics account for the majority of violent crimes involving firearms to justify my comment. If you can back up your assesertion that I should not reproduce with well documented facts, I will listen to you. However, if you continue to only use your opinions to support your ideas please go place your head in your fourth point of contact

swamp4ever writes:

in response to alexia6ciula:

Bellinemt,
Hope you did not reproduce.

I hope your job doesn't require you to write or spell because you can't do either.

Coastal writes:

in response to RobinofLocksley:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If only law enforcement can have them, why would they need them?

elcaballote writes:

in response to ballinemt:

Please tell me why I should not reproduce. Is it because I used logic and the fact that minorities such blacks and hispanics account for the majority of violent crimes involving firearms to justify my comment. If you can back up your assesertion that I should not reproduce with well documented facts, I will listen to you. However, if you continue to only use your opinions to support your ideas please go place your head in your fourth point of contact

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Klaatu writes:

That's not true !
Police identified the shooter as:
James Holmes, 24, of Aurora, Colorado.

Why would you post a lie?

anonimous239 writes:

in response to Klaatu:

That's not true !
Police identified the shooter as:
James Holmes, 24, of Aurora, Colorado.

Why would you post a lie?

I think he was triying to be sarcastic

just_makin_it writes:

Hey NDN maybe it would be a good idea to close the comments here, this is a National tragedy, and all i see here is disrespect for the victims.
My prayers go out to the victims and their families and friends.

rasputin writes:

in response to Sanity:

You would love Fidel Castro. He did the same thing and guess what? Only government has guns.

If you hate our constitution so much please leave to another country and stay there. You won't be missed.

I don't think anyone hates guns, but reasonable rules should not be regarded as infringing on your perceived psychotic beliefs.

Perhaps we need to amend the Constitution, you know like balancing the budget?

OP writes:

in response to Sanity:

Don't they have deputies onsite for major movie events like they do here at Reagal 20 and other theatres? I see them all the time.

I hope they have good insurance, they are going to be sued into oblivion.

According to the televised news I saw this morning there was a sizable police presence, but they were not in that theater when the gun man opened fire; they came in after it was too late.

For those who say limit guns, I say, yes, limit them to responsible people. But, determined, and does one determine who is responsible? By allowing anyone to carry, as our Constitution directed back when it mattered, you get a self-defense ready population which could have fought back against this mad man and at the the least limited to size of the victim poll.

One more thought, and this will not be popular with some, so be it. Immediately upon hearing of this tragedy I began to wonder if this young man will be found to be part of that decidedly anti-social fabrication known as the Occupy movement? His act fits with some of their rhetoric, (and before you say, and with none of the TEA Party rhetoric or attitude), it will be interesting to see if my initial concern plays out.

Finally, much love and sincere condolences to those involved; I am sorry this happened, and pray for the victims.

NeezDutz writes:

in response to RobinofLocksley:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You would be correct as law abiding citizens would not have guns.
Only the criminals would.

NeezDutz writes:

in response to SoldierStrong:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree. Irregardless of the source, the video is what it is. This 71 year old man saved lives that day.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/07/18/...

cruiser420 writes:

a 3 month old infant at the midnight Batman movie?? weird.

Silent1nomore writes:

This is the time to bury the dead, take care of the injured, and console the families and friends!

We can worry about who should have guns and who shouldn't later! This really isn't the time to take issue with the 2nd Ammendment!

EnoughCorporateGreed (Inactive) writes:

in response to limon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Way to change the subject genius...

Native writes:

in response to RobinofLocksley:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If someone with a concealed weapon permit was attending that movie and had saved your family member, would you feel the same way?

ballinemt writes:

in response to limon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

and all you need is a rusty coat hanger and a flashlight

Therealist writes:

Too bad you can't carry legally in Denver. Lives would have been saved.

Therealist writes:

in response to limon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think it's great; a better alternative than paying someone with no medical experience to complete the procedure in a back alley.

Not really too shocking.

EnoughCorporateGreed (Inactive) writes:

in response to limon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And it's also not the time nor the place to bring to light YOUR beliefs. Show some respect...eh?

Therealist writes:

This is a nice string of posts in your 13 days of NDN membership, limon. Thanks for the contributions.

http://www.naplesnews.com/users/limon...

EnoughCorporateGreed (Inactive) writes:

in response to Therealist:

This is a nice string of posts in your 13 days of NDN membership, limon. Thanks for the contributions.

http://www.naplesnews.com/users/limon...

I hope he does not own a gun! An angry person indeed!

OP writes:

in response to Klaatu:

That's not true !
Police identified the shooter as:
James Holmes, 24, of Aurora, Colorado.

Why would you post a lie?

In the interest of promoting honest dialogue I need to point out that you just profiled the shooter. You took one fact, his name, determined that it sounded American enough for you to determine that he was not here illegally. Was it not Hispanic enough to suit your criteria of an illegal alien? If so, I remind you that not all illegal aliens in this country are of Hispanic descent.

Anyway, the next time you hear someone make a charge of profiling, I hope you will think back to your action here and then that you will think twice about the legitimacy of such a charge.

OP writes:

in response to just_makin_it:

Hey NDN maybe it would be a good idea to close the comments here, this is a National tragedy, and all i see here is disrespect for the victims.
My prayers go out to the victims and their families and friends.

Hey j_m_i, stop promoting the suppression of Free Speech.
Nobody is disrespecting the victims of this terror. To stifle communication about the event, that would be disrespectful.

Bramble writes:

Tragic irony. Audience pays to see fake gore and violence then gets a taste of the real thing.

Our sick society worships such amusements.

tacony19 writes:

in response to Sanity:

You would love Fidel Castro. He did the same thing and guess what? Only government has guns.

If you hate our constitution so much please leave to another country and stay there. You won't be missed.

I consider myself somewhere between conservative and liberal, depending on the issue. However, it seems that most "full out conservatives" seem to forget that our founding fathers warned us about becoming involved in foreign entanglements. One of the reasons our country is so far into debt. We are the world's police dept.

romneygate writes:

When is the NRA going to make their "endorsement"? Why is it taking so long to shape the response? They should be "shooting off their mouths", RIGHT?

MIF writes:

This sucks! Wow! My heart goes out to the victims and their families. May they find peace one day.

romneygate writes:

in response to SoldierStrong:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Now, now Soldier Strong. You keep that up and I'm going to insist that you take off your Good Conduct Medal from your uniform.

beachykeen writes:

So sad and tragic.

If there were people carrying concealed weapons who returned fire on this maniac, all that would have happened is that there would have been a lot more injuries and deaths due to confusion and crossfire. The shooting would have gone on endlessly since it would have been difficult to know who was the original shooter and whether or not he had any accomplices.

The thing is, if someone is deranged, there is really no reasoning with them and if they want to hurt someone, they'll find a way.

AmericasTrueRecoveryBeginsIn2016 writes:

in response to RobinofLocksley:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

People like you are precisely why the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is so important.

If only the government is allowed to have guns, then they use those guns to take away whatever they want to from it's citizens by force, with no danger of being fought against.

Is that really the type of world that you believe in?

More comments that prove you shouldn't be taken seriously as a person, let alone as a candidate for public office.

You will be soundly defeated in November and deservedly so.

But, don't worry, you won't be alone.

Obama will be joining you.

romneygate writes:

in response to beachykeen:

So sad and tragic.

If there were people carrying concealed weapons who returned fire on this maniac, all that would have happened is that there would have been a lot more injuries and deaths due to confusion and crossfire. The shooting would have gone on endlessly since it would have been difficult to know who was the original shooter and whether or not he had any accomplices.

The thing is, if someone is deranged, there is really no reasoning with them and if they want to hurt someone, they'll find a way.

The NRA is working on this problem. As soon as the "bugs" are identified, modifications will be made.

octoruss writes:

in response to Native:

If someone with a concealed weapon permit was attending that movie and had saved your family member, would you feel the same way?

If the shooter had been prevented in the first place from obtaining an arsenal of weapons, would we even be having this discussion?

alexia6ciula writes:

in response to ballinemt:

Please tell me why I should not reproduce. Is it because I used logic and the fact that minorities such blacks and hispanics account for the majority of violent crimes involving firearms to justify my comment. If you can back up your assesertion that I should not reproduce with well documented facts, I will listen to you. However, if you continue to only use your opinions to support your ideas please go place your head in your fourth point of contact

i dont even bother respond to your meanless comments. I do believe at this point you did not reproduce.

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