20 July 2012 Last updated at 20:14

As it happened: Shooting at Batman film showing

Key Points

  • Twelve people have been killed and 59 injured in a shooting at a Batman film premiere near the US city of Denver
  • A gunman wearing a gas mask set off gas canisters and then opened fire at the Century Theater cinema at the Aurora Mall
  • A 24-year-old local white American man, James Holmes, was arrested near the scene
  • All times BST
  1.  
    1000:

    US police say there has been a shooting incident at the Century Theater cinema at the Aurora Mall in Denver. A number of casualties have been reported after a man, reportedly wearing a gas mask set off a device in the theatre and began shooting. Stay with us for the latest updates, eyewitness reports and analysis of this unfolding story.

     
  2.  
    1002:

    A witness in the neighbouring cinema has described a "mass shooting". "There are a lot of wounded, a lot dead" the man says. "Some guy in a gas mask tear-gassed theatre nine, we were in theatre eight - he just lit it up," he adds.

     
  3.  
    1004:

    A local Denver radio station KOA, reports that at least 10 people have been killed, and at least 39 people wounded. One person is reported to be in custody.

     
  4.  
    1010:

    Aurora police confirm they have a suspect in custody.

     
  5.  
    1012:

    Dozens of police are at the scene, CNN footage shows.

     
  6.  
    1014:

    CNN have quoted one witness as saying he saw a "guy slowly making his way up the stairs and firing, picking random people".

     
  7.  
    1018:

    The attack took place at the movie cinema complex in Aurora, where three theatres were holding a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, the new Batman film.

     
  8.  
    1018:

    The Swedish Medical Center, which is not the area's main hospital, told the BBC it had received three gunshot victims.

     
  9.  
    1020:

    A witness told 9News that during a shooting scene in the film he heard loud bangs and a lot of smoke and initially thought they were live special effects put on by the cinema.

     
  10.  
    1025:

    Police have confimed that there were fatalities, but say they cannot give a figure, according to AP news agency. Up to 20 people had been injured, they said. "The scene is still very active and we have little information for release at this time," police spokeswoman Cassidee Carlson said in a brief news release.

     
  11.  
    1028:

    Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates has confirmed that there is a suspect in custody. He has also appealed to the public for information.

     
  12.  
    1028:

    Police chief Dan Oates says that 14 people have been killed and "approximately 50 people" had been injured.

     
  13.  
    1031:

    Police say the suspect was arrested in a car park nearby and was in possession of a rifle and hand-gun. They believe more weapons may have been left in the cinema. The man arrested told them that explosives were stored at his home, police said.

     
  14.  
    1032:

    Police Chief Dan Oates said city police are checking the area for explosives.

     
  15.  
    1038:

    The FBI say they are working with the local police. They say it is still early in the investigation, but that there is no terrorism link so far.

     
  16.  
    1043:

    Frank Fania from Aurora police department tells CNN that the suspect is a younger adult male. He says he could not give an exact age but he believed he was in his early 20s.

     
  17.  
    1044:

    Brenda Stewart from KOA News Radio in Denver told the BBC World Service that when people in the theatre first heard the gunshots, "they thought it was part of the movie at first, then maybe it was a prank. Then all of a sudden people started hitting the ground, running out of the theatre".

     
  18.  
    1044: Jenn, Denver

    emails: Aurora is known to have a very high crime rate and to be honest, as unfortunate as the circumstances, this is not that surprising for the area.

     
  19.  
    1049:

    Of the 14 who died, 10 were killed at the scene and four others died in hospital from their injuries, Dan Oates from the police says.

     
  20.  
    1054:

    An eyewitness has said the attacker was dressed all in black and was wearing a riot helmet, bulletproof vest and goggles.

     
  21.  
    1104:

    Police are saying there was "no evidence" of a second gunmen. They have one person in custody.

     
  22.  
    1109:

    Police Chief Dan Oates has given an account of what happened during the attack. "Approximately at 12.30 this morning a gunman appeared at the front of one of the theatres in the Century 16 theatre," he said. "Witnesses tell us that he released some sort of canister. They heard a hissing sound and a gas emerged and then we know that the gunman opened fire."

     
  23.  
    1112:

    Police then responded, finding the gunmen at the back of the theatre in the parking lot, he said. He added that the shooting had gone on "for some time".

     
  24.  
    1122:

    A witness told CNN: "We heard anywhere from 10 to 20 shots and little explosions going on. Shortly after that we heard people screaming."

     
  25.  
    1122:

    "Then they came on PA system and said everyone needed to get out. As soon as we got out, there were people running around and screaming," the witness added.

     
  26.  
    1127:

    According to CNN, some victims are being treated for tear gas.

     
  27.  
    1130:

    An eyewitness, Pam, says that about 30 or 40 minutes into the film a man had come into the right-hand exit nearest the front row.

     
  28.  
    1133:

    "I'm pretty sure wearing [a] mask. He fired a canister into the air - it could have been a smoke bomb or tear gas," she told the BBC.

     
  29.  
    1133:

    "It shot it right into the air, then I started to hear the bang, bang, bang of a gun. I crawled my way through the row, luckily the exit was close to where I was sitting so I got out pretty fast. I heard more shots as I left," she said.

     
  30.  
    1135:

    Dr Stephen Wolf, from Denver Health, one of the hospitals receiving the wounded, says they have received eight patients with gunshot injuries, mostly to the trunk and the extremities.

     
  31.  
    1140:

    He tells the BBC World Service they had activated their mass casualty incident plan and had five teams of physicians ready when the injured arrived.

     
  32.  
    1141:

    So far, he says, they have not seen anyone with inhalation injuries.

     
  33.  
    1144:

    Thank you for joining us for live updates on the shooting in Denver. Police say 14 people have died and some 50 others have been injured in the attack, which took place in the early hours of this morning. One person is in custody.

     
  34.  
    1144:

    Stay with us for the latest updates. You can contact us via e-mail, text or Twitter. We'll publish what we can.

     
  35.  
    Jake Tapper ABC News White House correspondent

    tweets: At 5:26 am ET, POTUS was notified of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, by homeland security adviser John Brennan.

     
  36.  
    1151:
    An Aurora Police Department detective takes a witness statement following a shooting Friday morning July 20, 2012

    Police take witness statements at the scene of the attack

     
  37.  
    1156:

    Unverified footage has emerged showing the scene immediately after the shooting. You can view it here.

     
  38.  
    1200:

    Police are searching the suspect's apartment for explosives. ABC Denver reporter Bertha Lynn has told the BBC those living in the area have been evacuated to a nearby high school.

     
  39.  
    1204:

    An eyewitness, Evan, says he saw the attacker throw a cannister and, seconds later, begin to shoot. "Everybody thought it was part of the movie at first - but it became very real when he started shooting."

     
  40.  
    1207:

    "People were scrambling left and right. My children got out first. Me and my wife, we were in our row, we got down on our hands and knees. I was still kind of looking for the gunman to see if he was approaching the exits to shoot at other people," he adds.

     
  41.  
    1208:

    Evan says he proceeded to "get out as fast as possible". "Somebody behind us, maybe a straggler, was hit. We heard him say: "I'm hit"," he adds.

     
  42.  
    1214:

    US President Barack Obama has released a statement saying he and Michelle Obama were "shocked and saddened" by the attack.

     
  43.  
    1214:

    "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," the statement says.

     
  44.  
    1216:

    "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," the statement continues.

     
  45.  
    CNN's Jake Carpenter

    tweets: Red Cross is staging at Gateway High School in Aurora. Aprox 100 witnesses transported there. 4 mental health pros available. #CNN

     
  46.  
    1224:
    People gather outside the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, 20 July 2012

    People gather outside the Century 16 cinema complex in Aurora

     
  47.  
    1231:

    One witness, Benjamin Fernandez, 30, told the Denver Post he heard a series of explosions. He said people ran from the theatre and shots were fired, as police shouted "Get down!"

     
  48.  
    1234:

    Dr Frank Lansville, from the Aurora Medical Centre, says 15 patients had arrived at the emergency department. Twelve were shooting victims, while three had suffered chemical exposure, he said.

     
  49.  
    1241:

    The cinema where the attack took place is just under 20 miles from Columbine High School, where two students shot dead 13 people in 1999.

     
  50.  
    1249:

    AP news agency says the attack is the worst mass shooting in the US since 2007, when Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and himself on the Virginia Tech campus.

     
  51.  
    1254:

    According to the Associated Press, the youngest victim was six years old and is being treated at Children's Hospital Colorado. The condition of the child is not known.

     
  52.  
    1259: Kim Ghattas BBC News, Washington

    says the suspect, in his early 20's, put up no resistance.

     
  53.  
    1312:

    The name of the suspect is James Holmes, FBI sources say.

     
  54.  
    1315:

    Michael Booth, a medical writer for The Denver Post, says one of the victims was three months old.

     
  55.  
    1319:

    The death toll has been revised down to 12, US media outlets are reporting.

     
  56.  
    1328:

    More details from Aurora Police Department on the revision of the death toll. "The Police Department can confirm that 12 persons are deceased, with the bodies of 10 victims still at the crime scene inside the theater. At least two more victims died at area hospitals," it states.

     
  57.  
    1331:

    "Approximately 50 total persons were shot, including the deceased," the police statement says. Victims were taken to at least six area hospitals, some in police cars by responding officers, it adds.

     
  58.  
    1344:

    Police say Gateway High School is being used as a meeting location for family members seeking to reunite with loved ones.

     
  59.  
    1349:

    Aurora Police say they will hold a press conference at about 11:00 local time (17:00 GMT).

     
  60.  
    Meaghan from Hemel Hempstead, UK

    emails: When Columbine happened I was 13 and living in Mississippi, pretty far from Colorado. Being from the south, I've always been a big supporter of the right to bear arms. I'm just so sorry that the very right I support causes so much pain.

     
  61.  
    1358:

    More information is emerging about the victims of this morning's attack. According to AP news agency, the University of Colorado hospital treated the most number, with 21 people receiving treatment for gunshot wounds, including a three-month-old baby. The oldest was 45.

     
  62.  
    1401:

    Twelve people were taken to the Medical Center of Aurora, including three who were treated for chemical exposure, most likely from tear gas. Their ages ranged from 16 to 31, AP said.

     
  63.  
    1404:

    Denver Health Center had seven victims, while six patients were treated at Children's Hospital Colorado, including a six-year-old child, the news agency reports.

     
  64.  
    1419:

    The Paris premiere of the Batman movie has been cancelled due to the attack, the Associated Press reports.

     
  65.  
    1425:

    According to AP, workers could be seen pulling down the red carpet display in front of a cinema on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

     
  66.  
    1436:

    President Obama has cancelled an afternoon campaign event. He will talk about the shootings from Fort Myers, Florida in a few hours.

     
  67.  
    Kurtis Lee

    tweets: Most witnesses still inside Gateway h.s. being interviewed by police were in theater 9 where gunman entered. #theatershooting @denverpost

     
  68.  
    1439:

    On the BBC World Service Facebook page, Christina Sampson writes: "What a horrid tragedy... no doubt the usual onslaught of blame will fall upon the media, comics industry, shooter's parents and/or lack thereof... and amidst the ceaseless chatter of blame parents and loves ones will be forced to face a gaping chasm of loss, all because their loves one went out to a movie... what is happening to my country?"

     
  69.  
    Henock from Denver, USA

    emails: It is so sad this happened 10 minutes from where I live. The closest movie theater to where I live is a crime scene. It could have been me. My heart and prayers goes to all who lost their life in this heinous crime.

     
  70.  
    1457:

    Police have used a fire engine ladder to reach the window in the suspect's apartment. They have put a camera on the end of a pole to look inside the flat, amid fears the property could be booby trapped with explosives.

     
  71.  
    1517:

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has cancelled several Friday radio interviews, but will speak in New Hampshire later on Friday. In a statement, Mr Romney called the shootings "senseless violence" and called for the perpetrator to be "quickly brought to justice".

     
  72.  
    KDVR/KWGN's Justin Joseph in Denver

    tweets: @KDVR witness describes trying save a man with faint pulse. She was forced to leave him behind as shooter came her way.

     
  73.  
    1532:

    William Washington, a Denver radio host who was in the cinema at the time of the shooting, said it was only a few minutes into the movie when it all happened. He said: "Anne Hathaway's character was in a meeting and all of a sudden there were lots of gun shots in the scene. But then they became very realistic, so much so my ears started to hurt."

     
  74.  
    1534:

    William Washington continued: "Someone then shouted at us not to go into the lobby as the gunman was in there. They just shouted, 'he has a gun!' People were there with bloody faces. We were so confused as to what was happening. You could taste and feel some kind of gas in the air."

     
  75.  
    Shay Elise

    tweets: Have a friend in the hospital shot, helicopters everywhere, my whole street of sable is shutdown!! #theatershooting #century16 #aurora

     
  76.  

    Nick Emmons, an anchor for local news KDVR tweets: "Officials say suspect's apartment did NOT have a bomb, but numerous guns, and "buckets of bullets".

     
  77.  
    1544:

    New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says in a statement that police will deploy officers to screenings of The Dark Knight Rises across the city "as a precaution against copycats".

     
  78.  
    1550:

    President Barack Obama speaks in Florida: "We may never understand what leads anybody to terrorise their fellow human beings like this."

     
  79.  
    1551:

    "There are going to be other days for politics, this is a day for prayer and reflection," President Obama says before leading the audience in a moment of silence.

     
  80.  
    1553: Rhonda Fields, Colorado State Representative for House District 42 in Aurora

    tweets: Please join me for a dark night prayer vigil at the aurora municipal building tonight at 7pm 15151 E Alameda Pkwy aurora co

     
  81.  
    1603:

    Reuters quotes Aurora's police chief as saying explosives have been found inside suspect's apartment that appear "very sophisticated", and that police could be at the scene for "hours or days".

     
  82.  
    KUSA Reporter Jeremy Jojola

    tweets: "Quick briefing. Police took photos inside apartment. Repeat: it's "Booby trapped" #theatershooting"

     
  83.  
    1616:

    ABC News reports that suspect James Holmes had moved to Colorado from San Diego, California to pursue a PhD at the University of Colorado Denver Medical Campus, and that he withdrew as a student in June.

     
  84.  
    Richard Stice, Denver, Colorado

    emails: I was fortunate to not be involved in the actual shooting, but I know a lot of people that went out for midnight showings last night. I can't express the grief, sadness, and somberness surrounding the Denver area today. Roads are empty. Many offices seem closed. It really feels like everyone is feeling the sting of last night's events. What an unimaginable tragedy.

     
  85.  
    1622:

    In San Diego, a spokeswoman for the police department confirms the family of James Holmes lives in the city and have asked for the media to respect the privacy of the family and the neighbourhood.

     
  86.  
    1631:

    The Associated Press confirms with a university spokeswoman that James Holmes was a student at University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, and that he withdrew in June.

     
  87.  
    1631:

    Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper says in a statement that the attack in Aurora "is not only an act of extreme violence, it is also an act of depravity".

     
  88.  
    1646:

    Pentagon spokesman George Little confirms some of those shot were service members, but did not specify whether they were among the dead or wounded. Buckley Air Force Base is near Aurora.

     
  89.  
    1650:

    The written statement from the Holmes family in San Diego: "Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time. Our family is co-operating with authorities in both San Diego, California and Aurora, Colorado. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy."

     
  90.  
    1707:

    Denver Post reporter Adrian Dater remembers shooting victim Jessica Redfield.

     
  91.  
    1707: KOA radio reporter Vicky Evans

    tweets: "ATF & Aurora police looking over items removed from [suspect's] vehicle behind theater by police robot."

     
  92.  
    1711:

    University of Colorado Denver has released a picture of James Holmes to a local ABC station.

     
  93.  
    AP Colorado reporter Kristen Wyatt

    tweets: "Fortunately most of the patients are expected to make a full recovery." ChildrensHospital doc on #theatershooting victims there."

     
  94.  
    1736:

    The University of Colorado has just released this photo of its former student, the suspected gunman James Holmes:

    A photo from University of Colorado Denver of James Holmes
     
  95.  
    1741:

    Aurora Police have scheduled a press conference for 11:30 local time (17:30 GMT).

     
  96.  
    1752:

    Jordan Ghawi, brother of confirmed victim Jessica Redfield, has posted a statement on his blog: "This is what I have been told by Brent, who was with my sister at the time of the shooting... Jessica and Brent were seated in the middle portion of the theatre when a device was thrown into the theatre that produced a 'hissing' sound."

     
  97.  
    1753:

    More from Jordan Ghawi: "The theatre than began to fill with smoke which is when patrons began to move from their seats. At that time, shots were fired... Brent then heard Jessica scream and noticed that she was struck by a round in the leg. Brent, began holding pressure on the wound and attempted to calm Jessica. It was at this time that Brent took a round to his lower extremities. While still administering first aid, Brent noticed that Jessica was no longer screaming. He advised that he looked over to Jessica and saw what appeared to be an entry wound to her head."

     
  98.  
    1801:

    The Los Angeles Times reports that Warner Brothers is pulling a trailer scheduled to run before The Dark Knight Rises for the upcoming film "Gangster Squad". The trailer includes a scene in which trenchcoated gunmen fire through a movie screen into an audience.

     
  99.  
    1805:

    San Diego 6 News reports James Holmes is a 2006 graduate of Westview High School in Rancho Penasquitos, a neighbourhood of San Diego, and publishes a yearbook photo.

     
  100.  
    1807:

    AP has clarified that James Holmes was a PhD neuroscience student at the University of Colorado Denver.

     
  101.  
    1810:

    Tom Sullivan holds up a photo of his son Alex Sullivan, who had gone to see the movie for his 27th birthday, pleading with the media to help find him outside nearby Gateway High School, where witnesses were being questioned.

    Tom Sullivan holds up a photo of his son Alex Sullivan pleading the media to help find him, outside Gateway High School a few blocks from the scene of the Century 16 Theatre shootings in Aurora, Colorado 20 July 2012
     
  102.  
    John from Denver, Colorado, USA

    emails: Why Colorado? It is a wonderful place, beautiful landscape and climate with friendly people who meet your eye and say hello. But after Columbine and this tradgedy I'd have to wonder what it is that I am missing which causes/allows these misfits to do such big attention grabbing crimes.

     
  103.  
    1838:

    Aurora Police Department's press conference is about to begin. Aurora's police chief has told reporters that there is a "very sophisticated" booby trap inside Holmes' apartment, but a senior official from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tells CNN no explosives were found.

     
  104.  
    Jamie from Aurora, CO, USA

    emails: I live down the street from the apartment of the suspect, and passed it on my way to work this morning. They are currently evacuating buildings in the area because they fear that there might be more booby traps in the building.

     
  105.  
    1851:

    Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper begins the news conference: "Our hearts are broken... this is a safe city in a safe state in a safe country... We will come back stronger than ever from this, although obviously its going to be hard process".

     
  106.  
    1855:

    Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates names James Holmes as the official suspect, born in 1987. He has no major criminal history, apart from a traffic summons for speeding in October 2011.

     
  107.  
    1856:

    Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan: "If I can say anything to our citizens... we have to talk to our kids and let them know this an isolated instance. It's tragic but it's isolated."

     
  108.  
    1857:

    Police officers were on the scene within minutes and apprehended Holmes with three weapons inside the car, says the police chief.

     
  109.  
    1858:

    Seventy-one people were shot, the police chief says, with 59 injured and 12 dead.

     
  110.  
    1900:

    The suspect was wearing body armour, gas mask and tactical gloves, police chief confirms.

     
  111.  
    1902:

    Suspect's apartment is booby-trapped with incendiary devices and trip wires, which may take some time to make safe, the police chief says.

     
  112.  
    1903:

    US Attorney Carol Chambers says the case against the suspect will go to court next week.

     
  113.  
    1904:

    One hundred FBI officers are currently at the cinema crime scene along with other officials, says Special Agent Jim Yacone.

     
  114.  
    1914:

    Evidence suggests the suspect used a semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and a handgun inside the movie theatre, Aurora Police chief says.

     
  115.  
    1920:

    The US National Association of Theatre Owners says it is reviewing security procedures in movie theatres, Reuters news agency reports.

     
  116.  
    1921:

    In a proclamation honouring the victims of the attack, President Barack Obama orders US flags flown at half-staff at all public buildings and grounds, including military posts and the White House through to 25 July.

     
  117.  
    1926:

    Back in San Diego, a police officer leaves the home of Arlene Holmes, the suspect's mother. San Diego police are not investigating, but are "keeping the peace" at the Holmes house, which is being staked out by media outlets.

    A police officer walks from the front door of the home of Arlene Holmes in Rancho Penasquitos, California 20 July 2012
     
  118.  
    1935:

    Witness Corbin Dates tells CNN he was not going to recover from the shock quickly, adding that he wanted someone to whom he could talk "to help me understand what just happened".

     
  119.  
    1945:
    Jessica Ghawi, also known as Jessica Redfield

    Jessica Ghawi, also known as Jessica Redfield, was one of 12 killed.

     
  120.  
    1948:
    A gas mask is marked as the first piece of evidence

    A gas mask is tagged as the first piece of evidence in the multi-agency investigation. The gunman wore a gas mask during the attack, police and witnesses said.

     
  121.  
    1957:

    ABC News reports that the suspect told arresting officers that he was The Joker, a Batman villian that appeared in the last movie, The Dark Knight.

     
  122.  
    2009:

    That wraps up our live coverage of the shootings. We'll continue to follow this developing story here.

     

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