Update: 12 Dead, 59 Injured in Mass Movie Theater Shooting in Aurora
KREX News Room
AURORA, Colo.- At least 12 people are dead and 59 injured, many critically, after a shooting massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.
Cell phone video captured the chaotic moments after a heavily-armed gunman opened fire during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."
A man in a blood-soaked shirt and a child in a Batman costume were among hundreds of people who escaped the carnage.
"There was a gas canister thrown into the audience behind me. I thought it was a stunt of the movie," explained Corbin Dates, a witness. Dates was sitting in the second row when the attack started. "I realized it was a serious moment because I felt the caps from the bullets burn my leg," he said.
Another witness says the first shot was fired at the ceiling. "Straight from the ceiling, he took a gun and pointed it straight at my face. He was literally three feet away from me," said Jennifer Seeger.
Police say the 24-year-old suspect, James Holmes, did not put up a fight when he was arrested in the parking lot. The University of Colorado released his photo confirming reports that he was dropping out of a graduate program in neuroscience.
Police found explosives in his car, and when they searched his nearby apartment they found buckets of ammunition and chemicals.
"His apartment is apparently booby trapped," said Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates.
Police say Holmes wore a gas mask and military style clothing during the attack, and used an assault rifle, two pistols and a knife.
The survivors include a 3-month-old baby. Several victims are being treated for chemical exposure.
Ben Fernandez, another witness, was moved to tears describing what he saw. "A young girl with bullet wounds in her legs, and blood all over."
The suspect's family is cooperating with police. They say their hearts go out to the victims. Police are still trying to determine the motive. They say Holmes has no apparent ties to terrorism.
President Barack Obama has put his trip to Florida on hold to address the deadly shootings. He spoke in front of Fort Meyers after touching down in Florida, saying this is a time for the nation to "come together as one American family and this is a time to put politics aside."
The premiere of the movie has been called off in Paris. Local showings will go on as planned.
Governor Hickenlooper released a statement saying, "This is not only an act of extreme violence, it is also an act of depravity. It is beyond the power of words to fully express our sorrow this morning. Our prayers and condolences go first to the families of those killed, and we share the grief of everyone affected by this senseless event. We appreciate the swift work by local, state and federal law enforcement. Coloradans have a remarkable ability to support one another in times of crisis. This is one of those times."