UPDATE: Colorado Shooting Suspect’s Photo Released
A picture of suspect James Holmes has been released by the Colorado University Medical School, the school Holmes dropped out of several weeks ago.
Homes was identified as the shooter at a suburban Denver movie theater that killed 12 early Thursday morning. He has no military record or connection to terrorism and whose only prior police record was a traffic ticket.
He says 50 others were injured when a gunman opened fire early Friday at the Aurora theater during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises according to the DenverChannel.com. Witnesses tell ABC News that Holmes burst into the theater about 30 minutes after the film started through a back emergency exit door, throwing a smoke bomb and shooting as people ran to tray and escape.
“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,” she said. “He would reload and shoot and anyone who would try to leave would just get killed.”
911 calls reveal that police who arrived first frantically called for gas masks to be brought to the theater; they could not enter without them.
FULL COVERAGE: Colorado Theater Shooting
President Obama will make a statement about the shooting at 11:20AM from a campaign event in Fort Myers, Florida. Watch a video stream here.
The red carpet Paris debut of The Dark Knight Rises has been cancelled and all media interviews cancelled reports the Hollywood Reporter.
New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says security will be stepped up at city screenings of The Dark Knight Rises tonight. “As a precaution against copycats and to raise the comfort levels among movie patrons in the wake of the horrendous shooting in Colorado, the New York City Police Department is providing coverage at theaters where the ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is playing in the five boroughs,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement to WNBC TV
Gun control advocate Mayor Michael Bloomberg used the shooting to call for the presidential candidates to clarify their positions. “Soothing words are nice.” But he said it’s time to hear the presidential candidates “stand up and tell us what they’re going to do about it,” he said during his weekly appearance on WOR radio.
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates says said 10 victims died at the theater and four at area hospitals. KUSA TV revised their report about a 3 month old baby being shot; the baby was taken to a hospital by its parents as a precaution.
Twenty-two people were at University of Colorado Hospital, including the baby, for gunshot and shrapnel wounds. Many victims being treated in at least six hospitals were under 40, including a 6-year-old taken to Children’s Hospital Colorado. The oldest reported patient is 45.
Besides gunshot wounds, some patients at the Medical Center of Aurora were treated for chemical exposure, most likely from tear gas. Patients there ranged from 16 to 31.
An emergency room doctor at the University of Colorado Hospital says the scene was chaotic, with patients dropped off by police cars, ambulances and regular cars.
Officers found Holmes near a car behind the theater. “A gas mask, rifle, handgun at least one additional weapon (were) found inside,” said Oates. Police also said his vehicle has Tennessee plates; police found several weapon inside his apartment.
“You have the right person,” a woman identified as Holmes mother told ABC News. “I need to call the police… I need to fly out to Colorado.”
Witnesses told the DenverChannel.com that people in an adjacent theater were also hurt when bullets pierced the wall. Three theaters were showing The Dark Knight Rises.
Oates says one gunman stood at the front of one of the Century 16 theaters at the Aurora Mall at 12:45AM MDT. According to KUSA TV the gunman was wearing a mask and dressed in black.
He says “witnesses tell us he released some sort of canister. They heard a hissing sound and some gas emerged and the gunman opened fire.”
Three theaters were showing the movie.
Witnesses tell KUSA TV they thought it was part of the movie. 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.”
Police took 5 busloads of witnesses to nearby Gateway High School for questioning; most have been released according to the Denver Post.
There was no immediate word of any motive.
REACTION TO THE SHOOTING
“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 in a statement. Warner Brothers is the parent company of DC Comics, the publisher of Batman comic books.
Governor Chris Christie, who was supposed to be a guest on NBC’s Today Show on Friday morning, was cancelled as the show shifted its focus to the shooting. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families,” tweeted the Governor.
GOP candidate Mitt Romney in a statement says, “Deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence”
This is a developing news story. Check back for more details & developments.
WARNING: RAW FOOTAGE
Map created by the Denver Post of key locations in the shooting.
View Aurora Theater Shooting in a larger map
The Associated Press contributed to this story.