As BWW previously reported, a heavily armed gunman entered the midnight showing of Warner Bros' THE DARK KNIGHT RISES on Friday outside of Denver and went on a shooting rampage, reportedly killing 12 people and wounding 38 others. The 24-year-old suspect, identified as James Holmes, a former Colorado University medical school student, is currently in police custody.
According to eyewitnesses, the gunman came into the crowded theater through an emergency door twenty minutes into the movie, and set off a tear gas canaster. He then proceeded to open fire on the audience. “I thought it was pretty much the end of the world,” theatergoer Robert Jones told the Denver Post.
The suspect had a gas mask, rifle and handgun in his possession at the time of the shooting. He wore a bulletproof vest and a riot helmet. A shotgun and an assault rifle were also found inside the theater.
Some of the nation's biggest theater chains have issued statements on the tragic event:
We are profoundly saddened by the tragedy that occurred at a Denver area theatre and are concerned for the victims and their families. The security and safety of our guests and staff is always our number one priority. As is our custom, we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our security needs as necessary. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
We are terribly saddened by the random act of violence in Aurora and our thoughts are with the victims and their families. For the safety and security of our guests and associates, we are actively working with local law enforcement in communities throughout the nation and under the circumstances we are reaching out to all of our theatres to review our safety and security procedures. Being a safe place in the community for all our guests is a top priority at AMC and we take that responsibility very seriously.