Shooting at Midnight Showing in Colorado Theater Leaves 12 Dead
It is with a great sadness that I must report on this tragic news, July 20th, the day The Dark Knight Rises opens. At a midnight showing of TDKR last night at the Century 16 in Aurora, Colorado, a "masked" gunman entered the movie theater and opened fire during the middle of an action scene, killing at least 12 people, wounding nearly 60 others. A very tragic, sad, infuriating story to have to wake up to this morning. The news arrived right around 2AM Colorado time, and has since been getting non-stop coverage on CNN with updates from AP & Denver Post. I am shocked anyone would want to do such a thing. Please stay safe!
Preliminary reports coming in from this morning are that a "heavily armed suspect, who was wearing a bulletproof vest" seemed to at first throw smoke "canisters" into multiple theaters during one of the early action scenes of The Dark Knight Rises midnight showings, confusing the audience into thinking it might even be part of an event. He then preceded to stand in front of the theater, firing shots into the audience. Details are too gruesome to even describe, but reports say in total "at least 12 people were killed and 50 wounded." Horrifying and tragic, to say the least. Police apprehended an armed suspect in a rear parking lot, described as an early 20s white male. "A gas mask, rifle, handgun at least one additional weapon [were also] found inside" one of the theaters. I'm still in shock that I'm even having to write about these details.
Responding quickly after being informed of the news, President Obama released a statement online:
"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. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come."
While the situation is under control, details are coming together as to what actually happened and who is behind this. 9News reports "the suspect, after being captured by police, told authorities he had explosive materials in his apartment." His apartment is in the nearby neighborhood. Eyewitnesses explain the event as very eerie: "I saw a man walk in through the exit... He looked so calm when he did it. It was like scary. He waited for both the bombs to explode before he did anything. Then, after both of them exploded, he began to shoot." His motivation is still unclear. "He had no specific target. He just started letting loose," they say. That would have been beyond terrifying to experience, especially in the middle of a shoot-out action scene.
Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the friends and family of those affected by this. I'm still in complete disbelief, almost as if I'm going to wake up tomorrow and the release of TDKR is still going to be a bright, sunny day. I wish it were the case. Please, stay safe as you attended showings of The Dark Knight Rises this weekend. If you notice anything, mention it right away. Movies are meant to be enjoyed, an experience for everyone to be entertained by. It's our worst nightmare come true that something like this would happen, and I'm still saddened that I have to report on it. We'll keep you updated, hopefully with no more bad news.
Update: The Wrap reports Warner Bros is "watching the situation and still considering whether to take further measures beyond cancelling the Paris premiere, including cancelling screenings at theater chains." We don't expect them to cancel showings, but we do expect movie theaters to improve security, at least for this weekend. However, from Deadline, WB pulled the Gangster Squad trailer which features shooting inside of a movie theater. We've also heard that WB "is not canceling any screenings for The Dark Knight Rises, despite rumors." However, the studio is pulling all TV spots and radio ads at least for this weekend.
Update #2: TDKR director Christopher Nolan has released a statement regarding last night's tragedy:
"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."
Well said (via Awards Daily). Chris Nolan is a class act, and we join him in expressing our condolences.
Update #3: Actor Christian Bale, who plays Batman in TDKR, has also released a statement about the shootings (via THR), as they've also cancelled many international press events for The Dark Knight Rises.
"Words cannot express the horror that I feel. I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them."
They've also released a list of the names of the 12 people who have died as a result of these shootings via Yahoo News, the youngest of whom was a 6-year-old girl. Heartbreaking to hear. Details continue to come in about the gunman, and some bits of his history, but nothing else is being revealed until he appears in court on Monday. You can continue to follow updates on this tragic story at CNN or Google News from here on.