A suspect is in custody in a deadly shooting in Colorado, where a gunman opened fire during a midnight screening of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
As many as 59 people were wounded and 12 killed in the shooting in Aurora, Colo., east of Denver. Witnesses said the masked shooter released a noxious gas before he began firing, making it difficult for movie goers to escape.
The suspect, James Holmes, is described as a 24-year-old white male. Some media reports indicated he is a former Ph.D candidate in neuroscience at the University of Colorado who dropped out of school recently.
According to a report at Deadline.com, the Aurora police issued a statement that said, in part, "Aurora Police are investigating a shooting at the Century 16 Movie Theater, located at 14300 E Alameda Ave, involving approximately 50 victims with at least 12 confirmed dead. On July 20, 2012, at about 12:39 a.m., police received numerous calls of the shooting. Officers arrived on scene moments after the first calls and arrested one party at the rear of the theater.
"Police were told the suspect ‘appeared’ at the front of one of the theaters, threw some type of gas or explosive device and started shooting.
"When the suspect was arrested, police recovered one rifle, one handgun and a gas mask. A third gun is still inside the theater. The suspect is an adult male Aurora resident in his early twenties. He offered no resistance when he was arrested. At this time, the police have no evidence that any additional suspects were involved other than the person arrested."
The L.A. Times story reports: “Witnesses described a chaotic scene, telling television reporters that they were overcome by noxious gas unleashed by the suspect just before he started shooting, and that they had to decide between staying on the ground, helping wounded victims, or running away before the gunman was able to reload his weapon. Survivors said they were forced to run past bodies in the aisles and theater."
The L.A. Times story adds, “Cellphone videos show panicked moviegoers running — some screaming — and others with blood visible.”
Here’s a video report on the shooting from WGN: