A gunman has killed 12 and wounded at least 38 in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater during an early-Friday morning screening of The Dark Knight Rises. According to multiple witness accounts from CNN and local affiliate KUSA, the heavily armed man tossed tear gas into the theater before opening fire on the audience.
Authorities have arrested a 24-year-old man named James Holmes believed to be the shooter. Police spokesman Frank Fania said the suspect had a rifle and handgun, which the police seized, and that another gun was found in the theater.
“He did not resist. He did not put up a fight,” said Fania.
In a statement, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama said they were “shocked and saddened” by the incident and promised the administration would support the victims.
“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,” reads the statement.
According to police, the gunman opened fire while standing at the front of a theater at the Century Aurora 16, during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. One moviegoer, who remained anonymous, told KUSA that the man was wearing a gas mask.
A cell phone video taken at the scene shows attendants running from the theater, some with blood on their clothes. One police officer was seen carrying a girl believed to be about nine, who had suffered a gunshot wound to her back. Hospital workers say one of those injured was just three months old.
Along with local officials, the FBI has joined the investigation. “We’re calling for help from every police and fire agency,” said Fania.
The Aurora apartment building where Holmes resides was evacuated the man “made a statement about explosives” in his apartment, said Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates. While a federal law-enforcement source said they found “items of interest” in the suspect’s apartment, he would not elaborate.
Hospitals around the area continue to treat victims, some of whom remain in critical condition. At least 20 of the wounded are being treated at the University of Colorado Hospital, according to spokeswoman Jacque Mongtomery.
“They’re arriving by police, by ambulance. Some are walking in,” Montgomery said.
In light of the shooting, Warner. Bros. cancelled Friday’s premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Paris, where director Christopher Nolan and cast members Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Morgan Freeman were set to appear. The movie studio also issued the following 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.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film grossed an estimated $28-$30 million during midnight showings on Friday. It will roll out in 4,400 theaters throughout the country this weekend. “The company is devastated, but everything is moving forward,” said a studio executive.