By Jim Kouri
A lone gunman launched a killing spree at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, killing 12 people and wounding about 50 other theatergoers on Friday at about 12:25 a.m., according to a statement from the Aurora Police Department. Aurora is located ten miles southeast of Denver.
According to police, the killer positioned himself in the front of one of the movie multiplex’s 16 theaters in the Aurora shopping mall during the late showing of the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Police said that witnesses reported the gunman detonated what appeared to be a tear gas canister and then proceeded to open fire indiscriminately choosing his victims. The Aurora Police Department public information officer (PIO), said the gunman wore a gasmask and riot helmet during the bloody attack.
Police patrol cars, a SWAT team, emergency medical personnel and other first-responders arrived at the scene of the massacre after the 911 switchboard lit up with emergency calls regarding the movie theater shooting spree, according to the PIO.
“While conducting search for the attacker, uniformed police officers discovered the gunman by his vehicle that he had parked in the lot behind the movie theater. They reported that they found a fully-loaded rifle and two handguns in the suspect’s car,” police sergeant Nickolas Williams told the Law Enforcement Examiner.
The suspect, identified as James Holmes, 24, was frisked and handcuffed by the officers and taken into custody, According to the PIO, the killer revealed to police that he possessed explosives at his home and police officers and bomb technicians responded to that location.
The PIO said, “Police officers had searched for explosives in the parking lot and theater and brought in bomb-sniffing dogs to assist in the search for explosives or other contraband.”
According to Fox News Channel, 10 victims died at the shooting scene and the other two died in the hospital emergency room.
“I am deeply saddened by the terrible shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies continue to respond to this horrific event and I have directed the Department of Homeland Security to provide any support necessary in the ongoing investigation. We are committed to bringing those responsible to justice. Our hearts and prayers go out to anyone impacted by this tragedy, especially the family and friends of those killed or injured,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in a statement.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation made no comment about the incident other than saying the shooting spree does not appear to be connected to organized terrorism.