12 DEAD MANY WOUNDED IN MASS SHOOTING AT DENVER AREA SCREENING OF NEW BATMAN MOVIE
Details are coming in about a horrific shooting at the Century Theater in Aurora, Colorado.
A figure in a gas mask set off tear gas bombs about 15 minutes into a midnight showing of The Dark Knight before opening fire on the crowd watching the movie.
Police have told reporters that at least 12 people have died and approximately 50 have been injured in the attack.
This number has been revised down from earlier statements about 14 dead, made at a press conference from local Police Chief Dan Oates at 5:15 AM ET this morning.
He also said the police has a suspect in custody after being apprehended in the parking lot.
"Right now we only know of one gunman, and we have no evidence of additional shooters," Oates said. He said that police remain "concerned" about that, although they have no evidence to support this. In the wake of the attack, police went to other theaters to ensure that this would be an isolated incident.
9 News Denver
Oates also said that the shooter made statements about explosives at his apartment and car. According to 9NEWS, a bomb robot found suspicious materials in his car.
The suspect's apartment building at East 17th Street and Peoria in Aurora has been evacuated and remains surrounded by police. They appear to be entering the apartment through a window.
Witnesses say the perpetrator, allegedly wearing a bullet-proof vest, goggles, and a gas mask, entered Theater #9 through a fire exit. He opened fire after blinding theater-goers with tear gas. 9 News reports that victims in Theater #8 were also hit by bullets coming through the wall. A witness also told reporters on the scene that the shooter eventually entered other theaters after they had been evacuated, in an attempt to shoot stragglers as those rooms were evacuated.
We've seen two disturbing, graphic amateur videos so far that were taken during or in the direct aftermath of the tragedy. One shows theater-goers fleeing the movie theater, first at a walk and then at a run. The second shows victims being carried through the parking lot away from the site of the attack.
The youngest person hospitalized that news channels identified was a 3 month-old, who was taken to University Hospital. According to 9News, the infant was not injured, and taken to the hospital as a precaution. A 6 year-old was also taken to the local children's hospital.
Most of the victims that have been transferred to hospitals have been treated for gunshot wounds, though a few have also been treated for chemical exposure. The latter injuries are generally thought by the media to have been caused by the tear gas. One victim posted images of his injuries to Reddit >
The theater was not known as a particularly safe theater, according to witnesses interviewed by correspondents at 9 News. However, witnesses have repeatedly speculated that this "feels like" a terrorist attack in TV interviews, however the shooter's motives remain unknown.
Multiple reports have said that the suspect is James Holmes, a 24 year-old white male, citing Police Chief Oates. The shooter carried an assault-type rifle (likely a semi-automatic), a pistol, and a knife. He was driving a car with Tennessee plates, but had been living in the Aurora area recently. Two more weapons—a shotgun and a pistol—were allegedly stored in his car. Here's what we know about the equipment carried by the gunman >
Authorities cited by the local NBC affiliate say the suspect has no apparent connections with terrorist groups or previous terrorist activities, nor does he have a criminal record.
ABC reached out to a San Diego woman suspected of being Holmes's mother. In a conversation with journalists she said, "You have the right person...I need to call the police...I need to fly out to Colorado," before ending the conversation.
Oates said police will hold another press conference around 11 AM local time.
Both President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney have released statements on the incident, expressing sympathy and sadness. According to 9NEWS in Denver, Obama will speak about the mass shooting at 11:20 AM EDT.
Warner Brothers has also extended its "sincere sympathies to the families and the loved ones of the victims" of the attack, and has cancelled the Paris premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in the wake of the shooting.
More to come as this story develops.
Here's that live video feed from 9 News: (Link)