Policemen taking statements from witnesses.—AP Photo
Policemen taking statements from witnesses.—AP Photo

AURORA: A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into a crowded Colorado movie theatre at a midnight opening of the latest Batman movie, killing at least 12 people and injuring at least 50, authorities said.

It was the worst mass shooting in the US since the 2007 shooting on the Virginia Tech campus, and it immediately brought memories of the massacre at nearby Columbine High School in 1999, where two students opened fire and killed 12 classmates and a teacher.

Some moviegoers said they thought Friday’s attack was part of “The Dark Knight Rises,” one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer. Then they saw a silhouette of a person in the smoke at the front of the theatre, pointing a gun at the crowd.

“There were bullet (casings) just falling on my head. They were burning my forehead,” Jennifer Seeger said, adding that the gunman, dressed like a SWAT team member, fired steadily except when he stopped to reload.

“Every few seconds it was just boom, boom, boom,” Seeger said. “He would reload and shoot and anyone who would try to leave would just get killed.”

The shooter was arrested shortly after the attack near a car outside the multiplex theatre in Aurora. Federal law enforcement officials said the suspect is 24-year-old citizen James Holmes. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Authorities did not release a motive. The FBI said there was no indication the shooting was tied to any terrorist groups.

The Pentagon said some military members were either killed or wounded. Pentagon press secretary George Little said the number of military casualties was not yet clear. Aurora is home to a large Defense Department satellite intelligence operation at Buckley Air Force Base.

Marine Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said initial indications were that Holmes was not a member of the military.    Holmes had an assault rifle, a shotgun and two pistols, a federal law enforcement official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

FBI agents and police discovered Holmes’ apartment was booby trapped. Authorities evacuated five buildings as they determined how to disarm flammable and explosive material.

The suspect spoke of “possible explosives in his residence,” Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said.

Holmes was a student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver but dropped out last month, spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said. She did not know when he started school or why he withdrew.

Holmes’ family said their hearts go out to those involved in the shooting. Police in San Diego read a statement from the family asking the media to respect their privacy. They said they’re cooperating with authorities and are trying to process everything.

San Diego police spokeswoman Andra Brown said there’s nothing to suggest the family had any involvement.    Some of the injured at the theatre were children, with the youngest a four-month-old baby who has been released from treatment. Victims were being treated for chemical exposure apparently related to canisters thrown by the gunman.

“The Dark Knight Rises” opened across the world Friday, but the shooting prompted officials to cancel the Paris premiere, with workers pulling down the red carpet display at a theatre on the famed Champs-Elysees Avenue.

“Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time,” the studio said.

President Barack Obama said he was saddened by the “horrific and tragic shooting,” and he cut short campaigning to return to the White House.

Moviegoers spoke of their terror as violence erupted.

The gunman released a gas that smelled like pepper spray from a green canister with a tag on it, Seeger said.

“I thought it was showmanship. I didn’t think it was real,” she said.

Seeger said she was in the second row when the gunman pointed a gun at her face. At first, “I was just a deer in headlights. I didn’t know what to do,” she said. Then she ducked to the ground as the gunman shot people seated behind her.

She said she began crawling toward an exit when she saw a girl about 14 years old “lying lifeless on the stairs.” She saw a man with a bullet wound in his back and tried to check his pulse, but “I had to go. I was going to get shot.”

Witness Shayla Roeder said she saw a young teenage girl on the ground bleeding outside the theatre. “She just had this horrible look in her eyes .... We made eye contact and I could tell she was not all right,” Roeder said.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (107)

John Osirak
July 20, 2012 4:53 pm
He was not a crazy wannabe. He was medical student, doing advancd research.
July 20, 2012 4:10 pm
yeah they watched it allright J.Tard
Dr.Farooq Ahmad
July 20, 2012 4:13 pm
Killing one innocent human is like killing whole humanity........When will killers understand it.
July 20, 2012 4:18 pm
Its confirmed. FBI says there is no 'terrorism' link so far in the investigation. In other words no one feels 'terrorized' because there were no brown, Islamic-looking guys involved. Americans must feel safe already.
July 20, 2012 4:43 pm
No sir. Kafir means one who does not believe in one god. So Hindus, sects of Muslims, Jews are all considered kafir.
July 20, 2012 3:06 pm
People hate America only as long as it takes to get a green card ;)
July 20, 2012 3:30 pm
Don't try to justify the Fact. You me and the entire World knows it. Let me ask you why not the Norwegien authorities not able to declare their Mass murderer as Terrorist who killed nearly 50 people last year? They initially said, he has some mental dis-order but it has been proved that guy did it intentionally.
July 20, 2012 3:33 pm
terrorist is one who terrorise the people. gunman's shooting does not terrifies the people .
Cyrus Howell
July 20, 2012 3:43 pm
My neighbor told me it was good, 3 hours long.
Umer Aziz
July 20, 2012 3:39 pm
What's the difference? Psychological issues in either case
July 20, 2012 4:20 pm
A terrorist uses terror as a sustained plan supported by ideology or greed to deny others their rights to live in relative peace and be overwhelmed by terror and insecurity. A lone gunman has personal motives, be it revenge, insanity, psychopathy, envy, delusion--but all personal. A serial killer who causes a paralysis of a community can terrorize and be called a. terrorist. So: a terrorist creates sustained and planned mayhem with a larger goal in mind than a single act of deadly brutality. A drug gang can terrorize in order to protect his territory and $$$. The historical Vandals used to terrorize people for LAND! Conquerors of the past would be called terrorists today. An intolerant religious body can terrorize "non-believers" by randomly attacking them in their prayer houses or villages. A government, too, can terrorize even its own people by kidnapping, torture, razing of villages, houses of worship in the name of order or ideology. Finally: terrorists use fear and iNSTABILITY, and psychological generalized paralysis as a weapon promising sustained and random VIOLENCE.
July 20, 2012 4:08 pm
actually that was a EPIC FAIL batman u were too late! Terrorist's oopps i meen the mentally challenged person with a gun i meen confused with the gun or his walking cane injured oops i meen killed couple of ppl .
Cyrus Howell
July 20, 2012 4:04 pm
He is not a hero in America or anywhere else. In fact, he is criminal inside the Pentagon. They don't even want to hear his name. The complaints about Davis have legitimacy, but it is difficult for Pakistan to get any murderers to trial, isn't it? There is always a way from them to buy their way out of trouble. #1 in this world is justice.
Julia Ahmed
July 21, 2012 11:21 am
How, and what do you know of his motivations? And what about the Military that has expended over $1 Trillion to travel to the other side of the world killing civilians and not able to kill many Taliban; had they been able to do that the Taliban would not be able to fight the most technologically advanced Military deploying over 130,000 troops for over 11years to little effect? Facts speak for themselves!
July 20, 2012 3:23 pm
Killing of innocent people is regretable whether it be a Muslim world or some other...the killers need to be condemned..calling them terrorists or merely gunmen is insignificant and we cant question the biasedness of Americans as they're powerful and rule the whole world...First, we will have to make ourself in level terms to Americans before questioning them anything..Might is always right.
July 20, 2012 3:56 pm
he might be BANE... lol
July 20, 2012 3:20 pm
Get a grip dude. It's about the MOTIVATION. Either you are religiously motivated, or you aren't. If a person flies all the way to pakistan or afghanistan for a Phd in killing non muslims, then OFCOURSE hes religiously motivated, and would be called a terrorist. If its a random loner with no religious affiliations whatsoever and no history of religious bias, then he will be called what he is - a nutjob. Get over it already and focus on the never ending sectarian killings happening in your own backyard, encouraged by the hate preaching mullahs. For what it's worth, Americans also thank God you are back where you belong;)
a khan
July 20, 2012 3:10 pm
ahh so terrorism is a term for "religiously motivated" violence. All dictionaries in the world missed this definition.
July 20, 2012 4:48 pm
Hey what about the 15 that got killed in Karachi this week or for that matter every other week. What are pakistanis on? Is sectarian killing any less psycho?
July 21, 2012 11:27 am
The US and NATO sent hundreds of thousands of troops to kill 25,000 Taliban. Thats who.
Cyrus Howell
July 20, 2012 3:46 pm
He wasn't killing in the name of God, so he is no doubt American.
Cyrus Howell
July 20, 2012 3:34 pm
Sadly, in Pakistan no one would have been caught.
Cyrus Howell
July 20, 2012 3:47 pm
The whole story always dissolves in Pakistan.
July 20, 2012 5:00 pm
Condolences to the victims' families. Just because the US Government is droning and terrorizing our country serves no reason to celebrate the loss of life. These Colorado residents are not responsible for any drone attacks in our country. Please educate yourselves a little bit more, people. Our government should have been strong enough to deny the US entry into our lands. Take Iran for an example! Our country is plagued by itself... That is the sad truth...
John Osirak
July 20, 2012 5:00 pm
"The University of Colorado Denver Aschutz Medical Campus has stated that Mr. James Holmes was in University of Colorado Denver's graduate program in neurosciences,". The univesity statement said that "Mr. Holmes enrolled at the university in June 2011." He was 24years old. Born Dec. 13, 1987 He was scheduled to make a presentation to the class in the spring on MicroRNA biomarkers.
July 20, 2012 4:35 pm
We must ALL WAKE UP from our prejudices, EVERYWHERE!
John Osirak
July 20, 2012 5:03 pm
...and what is happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan is happy? Those who who don't look like us are by defination less human and expendable...
July 20, 2012 5:09 pm
This the American way. This incident went a bit beyond the regular 'normal' so it is in the news. What is happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan is the real horror but their lives, as they themselves price it, is of value.
Allen Weisz
July 21, 2012 10:54 am
“An army-man killing opponents in a battlefield is not a terrorist” And those defending their homes and home-land are not terrorists either.
July 20, 2012 2:37 pm
James Holmes - a terrorist.
July 20, 2012 2:39 pm
Exactly. The US army as a whole since they are hurting others (y)
Rashid M
July 20, 2012 2:10 pm
Kafir is an aarbic word taht means one who does not believe in the God. every language has a word for that, what is teh problem in this
July 20, 2012 2:01 pm
That classification will depend on NOT the religion of the guy........but whether he was a nut job gilted by something totally unrelated, or someone who was religiously motivated.
July 21, 2012 11:23 am
In who's name then?
John Osirak
July 20, 2012 1:46 pm
Me too. I was Droneing babies in Afghanistan in the name of spreading democracy there. But where was Superman?
July 20, 2012 1:41 pm
...and Raymond Davis was a hero!
July 20, 2012 1:38 pm
They have had many such exams. Most of the US population and 60% of Military is on some kind of legally prescribed psychiatric drug. The rest on illegal drugs. Alcohol and tobacco don't count, otherwise it would be 100%.
July 20, 2012 1:31 pm
American. Christian. Gun Slinger. Heavily armed gunman with multiple weapons and ammo. Youngest persons murdered: A six year old and a baby. Not a terrorist: That requires being a Muslim so that the Islamophopic defamation and persecution engine can be revved-up to even a higher crescendo. US Muslims already under tremendous social ostracism US population common citizen, economic stress and Government/Federal/Police surveillance and targeting.
July 21, 2012 11:24 am
One man's whim is anothers agenda. It all depends on your perception.
Arvind Das
July 20, 2012 12:27 pm
The name of the suspect is James Holmes. Anyone relieved!!!
July 20, 2012 10:14 am
When innocent people die, one is required to feel sympathy and say a prayer. This time is not to use a forum to play your misplaced "victims of the west" games. Open your eyes to our plight, we "good" Muslims have been ruthlessly killing ourselves all over the planet and all we have to say is that "they" made us do this to ourselves!? Shame on all of us who think with small minds.
July 20, 2012 10:12 am
According to the Pakistani Embassy in the USA, more than 700,000 Pakistanis live in America. Do you know what happens in Pakistan? Talk nasty about USA but move heaven and earth to settle there---- the killer of millions of innocent people. Is 'batman' a non-American nom de plume
dr ghulam
July 20, 2012 12:32 pm
imran bazi kheil
July 20, 2012 11:37 am
OH this is very sad :( but what about those innocents( 2 ,3,4,5,6,......) years babies which are killed by Americans in Afganistan and Waziristan .......?? we all as a human should think about this ........ But the man who killed these innocents did a shameful act .
July 20, 2012 12:03 pm
how was the batman movie, did anyone watch it
ahmed rizwan
July 20, 2012 10:08 am
If he will be a muslim than whole muslim world will suffer the after affects and if he will be from other religion than whole story will be secretly dissolve and no one will ever know the culprit.
July 20, 2012 11:50 am
Until they are killing their own people it should be considered as psychiatric problem only. But when they try to hurt others they should be considered terrorist, 911 and drone attacks both are terrorism by this simple definition.
July 20, 2012 11:23 am
Right to carry. thats insane.
July 20, 2012 11:21 am
I have some other works to do.......Batman
July 20, 2012 1:48 pm
Shaan! you seem to know who send to kill who...tell us more please, please....i said please.
dark night in us
July 20, 2012 12:44 pm
Looking at the premiere of "Batman" Anddhund of the firing, one arrested......
Ali H. Ayub
July 20, 2012 1:51 pm
what a sick society they have....what happened to that country i love how he's a "gunman" and not a terrorist; if he were muslim, this would be an act of war on america...pathetic thank God i left that place and came home
July 20, 2012 12:37 pm
kafir word is invented by muslim , why u keep forgetting that ??
July 20, 2012 9:33 am
A masked guy... Where is the word TERRORIST? or is this only for Muslims?
July 20, 2012 9:32 am
Someone is asking here that where was Batman ?
July 20, 2012 12:02 pm
Well why not, when you send terrorist to kill innocent people, what should people call them, peaceful?
July 20, 2012 12:01 pm
According to the Pakistani Embassy in the USA, more than 700,000 Pakistanis live in America. Do you know what happens in Pakistan? Talk nasty about USA but move heaven and earth to settle there---- the killer of millions of innocent people.
Ali T
July 20, 2012 9:18 am
Oh he's just a gunman..not a terrorist..
July 20, 2012 12:53 pm
What Goes Around COmes Around ! Wake up USA
Cyrus Howell
July 20, 2012 8:40 am
It is legal for anyone old enough to carry a loaded pistol on the streets in Colorado. Colorado has a "right to carry" law.
July 20, 2012 8:52 am
OMG, that is horrific. Some crazy Bane wannabe? Messed up. This is why guns are bad, wake up America!
Max out
July 20, 2012 8:57 am
Yes, victims are at fault they should have used the law "right to carry".
July 20, 2012 10:20 am
W.Sarmad Khan
July 20, 2012 9:15 am
My heart goes to to the victims and their families. It was sad and tragic. .A masked gun but had this shooting been Pakistan he would have been called a terrorist.. What a double standard.
July 20, 2012 9:16 am
This is horrible. Every time it happens, a Russian colleague's words ring in my ear that fifty percent of Americans need a serious psychiatric examination. Note the absence of the word 'terror'. I guess it only applies to Muslims.
a khan
July 20, 2012 9:24 am
that classification will depend on the religion of the guy. stay tuned.
July 20, 2012 9:29 am
Who can be benefited from this barbaric act?
July 20, 2012 9:42 am
100% right.....
July 20, 2012 9:44 am
Ya. this only happens in America........... the killers of Millions of Innocence people.
July 20, 2012 9:51 am
ohh...a gunman....that is sooooo different from a terrorist
July 20, 2012 9:57 am
they caught suspected person and identity(nationality/rellgion) not disclosed.
July 20, 2012 6:18 pm
Do you even know what Kafir means?_In pre-Islamic times the farmers used to cover sead with dirt and thus in the Quran it is used to mean "a person who hides or covers". Explicitly, the Quranic meaning is 'a person who hides the truth".
July 20, 2012 6:23 pm
Anyone who strikes terror or invokes fear amongst people is a terrorist, no matter which ethnicity, religion or country he/she belongs to. Your definition about "own people, other people" sounds absurd
July 20, 2012 6:31 pm
Were the people who were being shot at or in the surrounding terrorised ? if they were he/she is a terrorist, Simple.
July 20, 2012 6:38 pm
No links to terrorism = No links to Islam?
July 20, 2012 7:05 pm
Would it or does it matter. Anyone who picks up gun and kills unprovoked (in self defense -if attacked) is a terrorist. Killing can not be justified on any grounds (political, religious, tribal or whatever).
July 20, 2012 7:40 pm
People, stop let anti Americanism get the best of you. They are calling him a a gunman because he did not declare his affiliation to any ideological group.
July 20, 2012 7:43 pm
People, stop let anti Americanism get the best of you.
July 20, 2012 7:58 pm
i guess kasab was a gunman too? not a terrorist
July 20, 2012 7:59 pm
wrong!!! was the uni-bomber motivated by religion?
Cyrus Howell
July 20, 2012 8:17 pm
In Karachi the religious people do not carry guns. The there criminals do carry guns, and they use them too.
Cyrus Howell
July 20, 2012 8:23 pm
When these incidents happen police know people with psychiatric illnesses cannot always be stopped. They may kill police officers too. Often it is too late to stop their plans being implemented. They ambush ordinary people.
July 22, 2012 11:46 am
America needs stricter gun laws, very very sad for the victims and their family.
July 20, 2012 10:05 pm
So you moved to a 'sick' society and when you were deported because your visa expired, you are thanking God..pathetic! In your 'healthy' society, these incidents happens every few hours. Pick up your newspaper and see how many killings happen every day in your city. Fix your own house before talking rubbish about others.
July 20, 2012 10:28 pm
Ali you are so insensitive. There are people who died. You should pray for the departed & their families. You cant eve stop corruption, how do you blame US for everything. Admit that Muslims have lost their way. Illiteracy is rampant & you wont even learn. We have to educate our selves and be sensitive. Your words are something that the Prophet pbuh would not have said.
July 20, 2012 10:50 pm
One human to another: it is tragic. God bless us all.
July 21, 2012 1:16 am
"No link to Terrorism"?? It is absolutely an absurd statement. If this is not terrorism then what else would you call it. Causing terror and fear is a simple definition of terrorism and the cold blooded murder of 12 people and 50 injured certainly runs fear in sane person's heart.
July 21, 2012 1:25 am
what? what living in US has to do with anything?
July 21, 2012 1:25 am
One of the VERY few sane comments here.
anwaar zeb
July 21, 2012 1:33 am
Every action has reaction. and this is the reaction of the prayers of innocent victims of self-centered American policies around the world.
July 21, 2012 1:55 am
Hopefully, Americans will learn lesson from this dastardly act. It is a heinous act of killing innocent people. It is highly tragic and we must condemn it, without any reservations or vengeful comments.
Ed hasan
July 21, 2012 2:05 am
Kafir means in Arabic, "non-muslim", that's it. Isn't that word in every language? what would you call someone that is not a christian? NON-Christian, or a non-hindu, what's the big deal about that work?
Ed Hasan
July 21, 2012 2:08 am
Yes, because we Pakistanis survive on U.S Aid. Beggars can't be choosers, have you heard of that? Why should we talk about what americans do in Afghanistan or Pakistan. The more important question is, what are the Pakistanis doing killing each other every day. Whether it is political or whatever, Pakistanis killing Pakistanis (muslim killing muslims).
Ed Hasan
July 21, 2012 2:09 am
Yes... masked guy but he did not say "in the name of Allah", like the muslims terrorists do.. and they DO "
July 21, 2012 3:10 am
The export of terror from the West started in 1095 AD--The First Crusade. 1146- SECOND CRUSADE- French and German Crusaders lose Edessa; 1187- THIRD CRUSADE- “Crusade of Kings”: Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, Philip Augustus of France, Richard I, the Lion-hearted of England recaptures Acre; 1198- FOURTH CRUSADE- The “Trader’s Crusade” --- Mediterranean merchants join the Crusades;
July 21, 2012 3:11 am
Crusades Continued. 1212- “CHILDREN’S CRUSADE”- 30,000 French and 20,000 German children walk to the Holy Land. Most die or are enslaved; less the 3,000 return. 1219- FIFTH CRUSADE- CAPTURE OF Damietta in Egypt; never reaches the Holy Land. 1228- SIXTH CRUSADE- Frederick II leads most moral Crusades; gains only negotiated access to Jerusalem. 1914- General Allenby’s forces (British) occupy Jerusalem (after a long time Europeans gain control). 1947- The British transport the Jews of Europe after WW II to occupied Palestine and a year later create the State of Israel. A Western Aircraft Carrier in the sea of Arabs. 1965. Israel captures Jerusalem from Jordan. 2001- George Bush (The Second) - invades Afghanistan and plunges the US into its longest war ever. Now the problem is how to extricate itself out of this quagmire that has drained its treasury. The US is almost bankrupt.
July 21, 2012 3:27 am
you must be deported. :p
July 21, 2012 3:30 am
i was busy in syria....
July 21, 2012 3:33 am
very sad to hear about killing innocent ppl, but still media doesnt show burma muslims killings in thousands.
July 21, 2012 3:40 am
terrorist have an agenda to implement...and have political mileage too. gunman works on his whims....
July 21, 2012 3:43 am
July 21, 2012 6:08 am
This man was an insane gunman and not a terrorist. Why? Because a terrorist by definition is an individual or group that perpetrates violence or propaganda against other people in order to achieve political gains. A dacoit cannot be called a terrorist. An army-man killing opponents in a battlefield is not a terrorist. I agree that many muslims are wrongly targeted as Terrorists when they perpetrate violence for their self-gains. But we should refrain from shouting down the voice and opinions of other people and do a self-introspection. Why do we only hear the voice of the extremist muslims and not that of the moderate ones. Why don't muslims demonstrate in large numbers when an innocent Asia Bibi is condemned to death in jail? Why don't the Muslims demonstrate against extremist muslims, talibans and hate-mongers like Anjem Chaudhary. ????? Muslims need to wake up and rise against the extremists among their groups.
July 21, 2012 6:21 am
This man was an insane gunman and not a terrorist. Why? Because a terrorist by definition is an individual or group that perpetrates violence or propaganda against other people in order to achieve political gains. A dacoit cannot be called a terrorist. An army-man killing opponents in a battlefield is not a terrorist.
July 21, 2012 11:38 am
She was responding to the comment about the Russian's observation about Americans need for a "serious psychiatric examination". Not comparing Karachi's multifarious problems what ever their cause or reason. Sectarianism is not the only, or even the major problem with those unfortunate Karachites.
Janice Khan
July 21, 2012 12:33 pm
Sir, you indeed are learned. You have gone to the source of this Arabic word. A Kafir thus contrives in a similar way to hide the Truth. Many words and idioms used in the Qur'an come from similar derivations and sources, such that the knowledgeable Arabic scholar, and those who study and contemplate on the Qur'an, cannot but be impressed by the depth and erudition underlying its words, words that cannot be translated with full meaning—much lost in translation .
July 21, 2012 11:41 pm
All the mess in Pakistan is because of you americans cyrus. Why dont u go post anti-muslim coments on yahoo and cnn.
July 22, 2012 6:07 am
once again amarican defination of terrorism is fully exposed.
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