Gunman Kills 12 in Colorado Movie Theater
A gunman killed 12 people and wounded 38 more in a shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
The shooter, 24-year-old James Holmes, used tear gas to disorient the crowd, before opening fire on moviegoers at an early-morning screening of The Dark Knight Rises.
Holmes was taken into custody by Aurora police.
“He did not resist. He did not put up a fight,” Aurora police spokesperson Frank Fania told CNN.
Police said that Holmes appeared at the front of the theater, possibly entering through an emergency door. Holmes allegedly wore a gas mask. He was armed with a shotgun, a rifle, and two handguns. Holmes began shooting in the front of the theater, and worked his way back, firing randomly into the crowd.
One witness said he saw Holmes as a silhouette through the smoke.
“I told my girlfriend to just play dead,” Chandler Brannon told Reuters, who added that he never got a clear view of Holmes.
Florita Seeger, the mother of another witness, said that her daughter said Holmes was dressed “like he was on a SWAT team.”
Seeger’s daughter, Jennifer, slid onto the floor to avoid being shot.
“He pointed a gun at her from five feet away,” Seeger said. “She told me ‘Mom, God saved me, God still loves me.’”
Police said 10 people died on the scene, and two others died in the hospital.
President Barack Obama and his challenger, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, both expressed sorrow at the attacks.
“Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado,” Obama said in a statement. “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.”
Obama cancelled a campaign stop in Ft. Meyers, Fla., and was returning to Washington.
Romney said he was “deeply saddened” by the shooting.
“We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief,” Romney said in a statement. “We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”
Aurora is less than 15 miles from the site of another mass shooting, the April 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.
AP Photo/The Denver Post, RJ Sangosti