A gunman dressed in what some witnesses describe as a riot helmet, gas mask, and bulletproof vest, opened fire in a packed theater where a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises was underway killing 14 and wounding at least 50.
A gunman opened fire early Friday at a suburban Denver movie theater on the opening night of the latest Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” killing 14 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said.
The gunman, who is in custody, stood at the front of the theater and fired into the crowd about 12:30 a.m. MDT at a theater at a multiplex theater in a mall in Aurora.
“Witnesses tell us he released some sort of canister. They heard a hissing sound and some gas emerged and the gunman opened fire,” Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said at a news conference.
Police, ambulances and emergency crews swarmed on the scene after frantic calls started flooding the 911 switchboard, officials said.
Officers found the gunman near a car behind the theater.
“A gas mask, rifle, handgun at least one additional weapon (were) found inside,” he said.
The suspect was taken into custody, but no name was released. Oates said there’s no evidence of any other attackers. There was also no immediate word of any motive.
The suspect spoke of “possible explosives in his residence. We are dealing with that potential threat,” Oates said, without providing details on where that was.
He said police also checked for explosives in the parking lot and at the Century 16 theater and secured those areas.
Witness Hayden Miller told KUSA-TV that he was inside Theater 16 and heard several shots.
“Like little explosions going on and shortly after that we heard people screaming,” he told the station.
Hayden said at first he thought it was part of a louder movie next door. But then he saw “people hunched over leaving theater.”
The police chief said 10 victims died at the theater and four at area hospitals.
Two people in critical condition were rushed to nearby Swedish Medical Center, spokeswoman Nicole Williams said.
She said emergency crews told her staff to prepare for several more patients from the shooting scene.
The youngest victim reported was a 6-year-old being treated at Children’s Hospital Colorado, where a total of six victims were taken. Their condition wasn’t known.
It is useless to speculate about motive. That won’t stop some, but for once, let’s resist the temptation and allow the information to come out before pointing fingers and trying to establish narratives about this terrible tragedy to score political points.