The Geeksverse[UPDATED] Gunman kills 12 at The Dark Knight Rises screening in Colorado

[UPDATED] Gunman kills 12 at The Dark Knight Rises screening in Colorado
Published on Friday, July 20, 2012 by

At least a dozen people have been killed and another 58 injured in a shooting at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises at the Century 16 Cinema Complex in Aurora, Colorado, some 15 miles from Denver.

Suspect James Holmes in an image released by the University of Colorado.

The suspect, 24 year-old James Holmes, is a PhD candidate in the process of withdrawing from the neuroscience program at the University of Colorado-Denver. Witnesses report that a man entered the cinema at around 12:30 AM local time wearing a bullet-resistant vest and riot gear—initial reports erroneously stated that he wore an outfit similar to that of the movie’s villain Bane—threw a tear gas canister into the audience and started shooting into the crowd with a rifle. Ten people died at the scene and another two later died from injuries at hospital.

Holmes was arrested by local police at a nearby parking lot and was found in possession of a rifle, two handguns, and a knife in addition to the firearm he presumably left behind at the scene of the crime.

Federal law enforcement officials say no links to terrorism have been established, but investigations are on-going. Police have already found a number of incendiary devices, flammable chemical compounds, and improvised booby traps at the suspect’s apartment in north Aurora, some four miles from the cinema where the shooting occured. The process of clearing the location of dangerous devices and gathering actionable evidence is expected to be long and arduous, and the apartment complex and nearby buildings have been evacuated.

Security at The Dark Knight Rises screenings in New York was beefed up after news of the story broke and the film’s Paris premiere has already been canceled in the wake of the shooting.

[UPDATE 1] The New York Daily News reports that the “[d]emented gunman James Holmes declared ‘he was the Joker, enemy of Batman’ after his arrest for the killing spree”.

[UPDATE 2] The Dark Knight Rises director Christopher Nolan issues statement, calls the shooting “unbearably savage”. (Reuters, via Yahoo!)

[UPDATE 3] Police disable first booby trap in suspect’s home; 30 shooting victims remain in hospital, 11 in critical condition. (BBC)

2 Responses
    • A major tragedy.  Beyond the sadness of the event itself, it’s sad that now all DKR showings are suspect.

      • Increased security at cinemas will be comforting to most people, I imagine, but whether it actually does anything, I’m not so sure.

        All the early evidence points to this being a novel criminal incident perpetrated by a single individual, so I don’t think there’s an elevated risk that this is part of a larger, coordinated terrorist attack.  

        As for the risk of copycat killers emerging so soon… I know the so-called “Werther effect” has been demonstrated somewhat empirically in cases of widely reported suicides of famous individuals, but I don’t know if a similar phenomenon has been credibly established as happening with high-profile public shootings that receive so much news media coverage. There’s anecdotal evidence that supports the idea, but I haven’t come across anything that can firmly back it up with solid data (not that I’ve actively looked for such information, mind you).    

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