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Gunman Open Fires At Batman Movie; 14 Die

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Unread 07.20.12, 11:28 AM
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Gunman Open Fires At Batman Movie; 14 Die

07.20.12 05:13 AM

AURORA, Colo., (UPI) — A heavily armed man wearing a gas mask opened fire during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in Aurora, Colo., killing at least 14 people, police said.

As many as 50 others were reported injured.

Police spokesman Frank Fania said police apprehended the suspect, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, in a rear parking lot of the cineplex, CNN reported.

“He did not resist. He did not put up a fight,” Fania said of the suspect, thought to be in his early 20s.

Police seized a rifle and a handgun from the suspect, and found another gun in the theater, he said.

Confusion reigned initially during the midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” at the Century Aurora 16 theater when the shooting began, police and witnesses said.

“We saw people running around and screaming,” one patron told KUSA-TV, Denver.

The patron said many movie-goers initially thought the sound of gunfire was coming from the movie or from a movie shown in an adjacent theater.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said that the suspect used a “smoke device” before opening fire. Witnesses said the gunman kicked open an emergency exit door and threw a smoke bomb into the theater before shooting.

The chief said 10 people were killed in the theater and four others died at area hospitals.

One patron told KUSA the gunman was wearing a gas mask then moved through the theater taking random shots at people.

CNN said cellphone video showed scores of people screaming and fleeing the theater complex, some with bloodied clothes.

One witness said a police officer was seen carrying from the theater a young girl with gunshot wounds to her back.

“She wasn’t moving,” the witness said.

Authorities have also evacuated the suspect’s apartment building after “made a statement about explosives” in his unit, Oates said.

Aurora, part of the Denver metropolitan area, is about 17 miles from Littleton, Colo., scene of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in which two students shot and killed 12 students and one teacher, and wounded 21 other people before committing suicide.

Hundreds of police officers arrived at the theater and the FBI has joined the investigation.

“We were calling for help from every police and fire agency,” Fania said.

President Obama said his 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,” Obama said in a statement. “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.”

At least 20 of the wounded were being treated at the University of Colorado Hospital, facility spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said. The gunshot injuries ranged from minor to critical.

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