Police: 12 Dead In Colorado Theater Shooting [VIDEO]
Aurora Police at a press conference confirmed that a total of 71 people were shot in a movie theater early Thursday night during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises injuring 59 people and killing 12. 10 bodies are said to still be inside the theater.
Suspect James Holmes is not talking to investigators, a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in discussing the ongoing case.
The person also said police found jars of chemicals in Holmes’ booby-trapped apartment with wires nearby. They have not yet entered the apartment.
AP reports the four weapons recovered in the deadly shootings all were purchased by the suspect in the case from retail gun stores in Colorado in the last two months, according to a federal law enforcement official.
FULL COVERAGE: Colorado Theater Shooting
Holmes bought a ticket to the midnight showing of the latest Batman movie and went into the theater as part of the crowd.
Holmes is believed to have propped open an exit door in the theater as the movie was playing, donned protective ballistic gear and opened fire. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.
Holmes’ car was found parked outside the theater’s exit door.
President Obama has ordered all flags of the United States to be flown at half-staff through Wednesday, July 25.
READY TO “GO TO WAR”
Police said Holmes fired at least 71 shots and killed at least 12 people. Police said he had an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, and two .40-caliber Glock handguns
No motive has been offered by police for the shooting but police found Homes has no military record or connection to terrorism and whose only prior police record was a traffic ticket.
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.
One person in the theater said Holmes was “like assassin ‘ready to go to war.”
“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.
The U.S. Department of Defense says three members of the U.S. Armed Forces were wounded in a movie theater shooting in Colorado and one is unaccounted for. The agency says a Navy sailor was injured and a male sailor who was at the theater early Friday morning cannot be located. The sailors are part of a Navy Cyber Command unit at nearby Buckley Air Force base.
A picture of suspect James Holmes was been released by the Colorado University Medical School, the school Holmes dropped out of several weeks ago.
LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE SUSPECT
Montgomery says Holmes enrolled in the program in June 2011 and was in the process of withdrawing.
A man who lives next door to Holmes’ family in California says he was a loner. Tom Mai says he said hello to Holmes once in a while but seemed to be shy.
Mai says the family lived there about 10 years. The mother is a nurse and the father is a manager at a software company. The suspect has a younger sister.
Mai says the mother told him Holmes couldn’t find a job after earning a master’s degree from a public university in California.
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.
BOOBY TRAPPED APARTMENT
FBI agents and police used a hook and ladder fire truck to reach Holmes’ apartment in Aurora, police Chief Dan Oates said. They put a camera at the end of a 12-foot pole inside the apartment, and discovered that the unit was booby trapped. Authorities evacuated five buildings as they tried to determine how to disarm flammable and explosive material.
Police released a written statement from Holmes’ family: “Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved.”
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
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.