A mass shooting took place at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado last night. Aurora is a suburb of Denver, a short distance from the suburb Columbine, where 13 people were killed in a mass shooting in 1999.
Although initial stories reported 14 dead, WNYC’s The Takeaway and ABC News are saying that the death toll has been revised down to 12, with at least 50 injured.
ABC News just reported that suspect “James Holmes, 24, of North Aurora, was apprehended at the scene clad in a bullet-proof vest and riot helmet.”
The Takeaway host Todd Zwillich says there was great confusion as the shooting began, as the shooter appears to have opened fire during a scene in the The Dark Knight Rises where shooting was happening onscreen. Bullets apparently also went through the theater’s walls into an adjacent screening. Zwillich says at first people thought it might have been “some kind of promotion.”
ABC News says the suspect used tear gas prior to opening fire, according to witnesses.
The White House released this statement:
“Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. 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. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded.”
The Romney campaign released this statement:
“Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 people in Colorado and injured dozens more…We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”
Warner Brothers, the studio which produced the film, released this statement:
“Warner Bros. is 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.”
Mayor Bloomberg’s latest press release is regarding the death of Sylvia Woods. We have not yet seen a comment from the mayor, a staunch gun control advocate, on the Colorado shooting.
Updated, 9:15 AM: ABC News reports that:
“A San Diego woman who identified herself as James Holmes’ mother told ABC News she had awoken unaware of the shooting and had not yet been contacted by authorities. She immediately expressed concern that her son may have been involved.
“You have the right person,” she said, apparently speaking on gut instinct. “I need to call the police… I need to fly out to Colorado.”
We will update this story as more information becomes available. Given that Colorado is home to one of the nation’s most notorious mass shootings, that this shooting involved the summer’s potentially biggest blockbusters, and that Colorado is a swing state during an election year, expect The Dark Knight Rises shootings to dominate the zeitgeist of the national dialogue for some time.