Updated: Witnesses Describe Scene of Bloody Chaos at 'Dark Knight' Rampage
Photo Credit: Screenshot via CBS News Denver
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UPDATE: In a 7:00 PM MDT press briefing, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates announced that five apartment buildings have been evacuated as they try to figure out how to get into the suspect’s booby-trapped apartment. He also cautioned people not to believe everything they read on the internet. (Earlier updates follow below.)
A witness who was in the audience at the Aurora, Colorado movie theater where a gunman opened fire during a showing of “The Dark Knight” late Thursday night described a bloody scene of chaos and horror to a reporter from Colorado’s KUSA Channel 9. Alex Milano was enjoying the movie with his sister and a group of friends when gunfire erupted in the theater.
“We were watching a scene in the movie,” said Milano, “It was a shoot-out scene, there were guns firing, then a lot of loud bangs came from the right of the theater. Smoke took over the entire theater. It was really thick. No one could really see anything.”
The gunman reportedly set off a smoke grenade in the theater before beginning to fire into the crowd. Middle Georgia’s WMAZ Channel 13 reports that at least 14 people are dead, 50 wounded, some in critical condition.
Aurora Chief of Police Dan Oates said that an individual has been taken into custody after being found near a car behind the theater. “A gas mask, rifle, handgun at least one additional weapon (were) found inside,” he said.
The name of the attacker has not been released. Currently, police are not looking for other suspects and have not speculated about a motive. The shooter appears to have fired randomly into the crowd, hitting children as well as adults, the youngest victim being a six-year-old child who is being treated at a nearby children’s hospital.
UPDATE: The Denver Post has identified the suspect as James Holmes, born December 13, 1987. Also, officials have lowered the official death toll to 12.
UPDATE (9:47 a.m.): President Barack Obama has released a statement regarding the shooting:
“Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. 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.”
UPDATE (9:55 a.m.): ABC News is reporting that the suspect’s mother has confirmed his identity. The San Diego woman was unaware of the shooting when she was awakened by a phone call from ABC. She immediately expressed concern that her son may be the attacker.
“You have the right person,” she said, apparently speaking on gut instinct. “I need to call the police… I need to fly out to Colorado.”
UPDATE (10:01 a.m.): The Denver Post has put up a map that details the location of the theater, James Holmes’s apartment as well as the locations of local hospitals.
UPDATE (10:20 a.m.): Police cordoned off three block area around James Holmes’s apartment and are searching the residence. Reportedly, Holmes made a statement to police alluding to explosives in his home, according to the Denver Post.