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12 killed at Batman Premiere (UPDATED)

20th July 2012

There has been a fatal gun-attack on an audience gathered for a midnight Dark Knight Rises screening in Denver with initial reports of 14 killed...

FINAL FRIDAY UPDATE:  Christopher Nolan has issued the following statement...

“Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises, I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community. I would not presume to  know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families…”

Warner Bros, or more accurately the TV networks at first, pulled all US on-screen commercials for the film and also removed trailers from upcoming 30s-set period actioner Gangster Squad which was attached to the Dark Knight Rises print and depicts a massacre in a cinema. There are rumours that the company may not report its opening box-office - originally rumoured to be ahead of The Avengers numbers at the same point - until after the weekend. 

 

UPDATE: 11:15am Denver Time  A press conference is currently underway in which the speed of the emergency services and the help from neighbouring counties were applauded. The confirmed casulaties of the Denver shooting are, at this point, TWELVE fatalities with SEVENTY-ONE people shot in Screen 9 of the Century 16 multiplex (with at least one person injured in the next screen when bullets travelled through the wall). The midnight screening of The Dark Knight Returns was confirmed to be a sell-out presentation. The first shots were heard at approximately 12:39am local time,  just after the film started and they were fired by an individual dressed in what looked like black military-style clothing including face-mask and body armour.  

Within two minutes of the shooting  being reported, twenty-five officers were on the scene of the incident and the alleged shooter was apprehended at the back of the multiplex with a rifle and handguns. He did not resist arrest. The bodies of ten deceased victims remain in situ in the screening area as part of an active crime scene. The surviving casualties were ferried to six hospitals around the immediate Aurora area, where two people succumbed to their injuries.  Several people remain in critical condition.  The police department could not establish at this point whether the weapons used in the crime were legally owned. 

James Eagen Holmes was confirmed as the full name of the person arrested, a student who had recently dropped out of medical studies in the area. He has no criminal record and has only ever had one traffic ticket. It was also confirmed that the residence of Holmes was booby-trapped with a variety of devices and that the police were still dealing with that.  News networks continue to fill air-time with speculation (informed and sometimes ill-informed) on any reasons, though there is NO reason to think this was related to any political or militant stance. Some reports said he was dressed as The Joker and had painted his hair red. As the Joker character has green hair, it seems as if there is still some confusion and contradictions amongst the actual facts.

Impact knows various people in the Denver area and send them best wishes and our condolences to those directly affected by this tragedy.

 

UPDATE: 7:35am Denver Time   Warner Bros. have added their condolences to those killed or injured in the gun attacks at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. The internatonal distributor has confirmed that interviews with the cast and the French premiere itself, scheduled for tonight in Paris, have now been cancelled. Security at  American and European screenings of the film (which opens today - with some oscreenings beginning at around 5:00am UK time this morning) will now to be increased.

 

UPDATE: 7:00am Denver Time  The suspect  in the Aurora, Denver shootings has been indentified by media sources as James Holmes who is in custody. Official figures for the fatalities at the shooting incident have been revised down to TWELVE but possibly more than fifty injured. Police are attempting to enter the suspect's house and 'Items of interest' have been reportedly found at the suspect's house. A formal press conference will be held in a few hours' time.

 

UPDATE: 5:15am Denver Time Police have confirmed that ten people were pronounced dead at the scene with four dying later in hospital. Several remain in emergency surgery and critical condition with some news stations now saying the death-toll has unofficially reached 15. Reports suggest that those injured range from the ages of 3 months to 31 years. A local school has been used by police and the Red Cross as a place to take the witnesses to gather further statements and get a clearer picture of events of the last few hours.

President Obama and the White House have issued a formal statement saying they are 'shocked and saddened' by the shootings. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife also said they were 'deeply saddened'.

 

DEVELOPING STORY: Fourteen people have been killed and at least fifty people injured at a busy cinema multiplex in Aurora, Colorado during a premiere midnight screening of the new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises. A few minutes into the sold-out screening at the Century 16 Movie Theatre's Screen 9,  the gunman, said to be dressed in a gas-mark or riot helmet  with goggles appeared and, released some sort of gas cannister  or smoke bomb then began opening fire with what is believed to be a rifle. According to witnesses, bullets are believed to have travelled into other screens

One man, believed to be aged 24, was subsequently cornered by the police outside the cinema and did not resist arrest. It is reported he had had three guns, one used in the cinema and two with him outside. Reports said the gunman has warned police there are explosives at his home..... the police are currently at that location 

Various Denver hospitals and their emergency departments have accepted casualties from the 'mass-incident', some apparently rushed run from the scene by police in an effort to save time, with a spokesperson saying several people are still in  surgery.

At the current time there is no news on the motive for the shooter and the description of the suspect's clothing might or might not reflect that many at the screening had dressed up as characters from the movie. Some commentators are currently speculating on the tragedy and have linked the suspect's appearance to the character of Bane (played by Tom Hardy) in the film, though there is insufficient information to say whether that was merely co-incidental or news-services reaching for a new angle.

Brenda Stuart, from 850 KOA Radio, said: "People inside tell us they thought it was part of the movie. They heard what they thought were firecrackers, loud bangs and all of a sudden they saw the bullets flying.” It is truly ironic that someone carrying real weapons and devices was able to enter the cinema undetected, yet some often get even sweets and drinks taken off them because they didn’t buy it from the cinema. 

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