AURORA, Colo. — At least 12 people are dead following a shooting at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo. early Friday morning, with dozens more people injured.
Initial reports were that 14 people were killed — then 15, however, Aurora’s Police Chief Dan Oates revised the number to 12 around 7 a.m. on Friday.
The shooting happened around 12:30 a.m., at Century 16 Movie Theatres. According to FOX 31, witnesses said people first thought the gunfire was part of the movie.
“As soon as we heard the first shot, my sister grabbed my arm and wanted to leave immediately,” one witness said. “It was terrifying.”
Police arrested James Holmes, 24, in connection with the shooting. They located him by his car in the parking lot of the theater. Police said he did not resist arrest. At the time of his arrest, police said he was wearing a riot helmet and bullet proof vest. Police said he was also carrying a gas mask, tear gas and three guns — an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington 870 12-gauge shotgun and a 40-caliber Glock handgun, with another 40-caliber Glock handgun in his car.
According to Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates, Holmes’s apartment was booby-trapped with trip wire, incendiary and chemical devices, and authorities have evacuated that building and five adjacent buildings. Oates says that Holmes did not have any criminal record with the exception of a speeding ticket in 2011.
Oates says that police don’t know how many shots were fired in the incident except to say “many, many shots were fired.” Oates also says that several rounds actually penetrated the walls of the theater into adjoining theaters, and at least one person was struck by a bullet in an adjoining theater.
FOX 31 in Denver reports that police say that officers were on the scene of the shooting within 90 seconds of the first call, and apprehended Holmes at that point. Oates says that Aurora Police often station off-duty officers at the theater, but there were none on duty last night.
Holmes is scheduled to appear in an Arapohoe County court on Monday, court officials said. Court records relating to the case have been sealed by court order.
The FBI is assisting with the local investigation, but officials with the bureau told CNN that it did not appear that the incident was related in any way to terrorism.
Authorities retrieved shooting targets from a dumpster at the apartment complex where the suspect lives, although it’s unclear if they belonged to Holmes.
Police and rescuers at the theater encountered many victims with what are described as gruesome injuries, as victims soon flooded area hospitals.
“I don’t know how else to explain it. It’s horrific,” said Tracy Lauzon, director of EMS and trauma services at Aurora Medical Center, told CNN.