Lone Shooter Kills 12, , Injures 50 at Colo. Movie Theater

A gunman entered the Century 16 Movie Theaters complex at the Aurora Town Center (a suburb of Denver)around 12:30 a.m. this morning, released a gas canister and then opened fire, killing 14 people and wounding 50 more. (Updated: Death total is 12, not 14.)

Three of the theaters in the complex, like others in across Colorado, were showing Batman: the Dark Knight at all night movie premieres. [More..]

The suspect was taken into custody. His home was searched for explosives.

Preliminary reports are that it was a lone gunman. He was dressed in black, wearing a tear gas mask, and started shooting as many as possible. They have a man in custody.

A 24-year-old suspect in is custody and an apartment building in north Aurora connected to the suspect was being evacuated and searched for possible explosives, according to Police Chief Dan Oates. Oates said there was no evidence of a second suspect, but the man in custody had made a statement about possible explosives in his residence.

Witnesses say the suspect had a calm demeanor. Aurora police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call 303-627-3100.

Kurtis Lee has been tweeting live updates since the tragedy happened. Early information is that it was a lone shooter.

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    Question about this story (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Key on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 06:40:23 AM EST
    Hi Jeralyn,

    I believe I've read stuff from you on the blog in the past that indicates you're a pretty pro-gun/anti-gun control law person.

    I am also aware that you sometimes warn people not to discuss certain topics on the blog.  So I'm just wondering if the topic of gun control will be something you allow.

    I'm not talking about discussions that degrade into name-calling or attacks, but an open, honest, and sincere discussion on the issue.

    Because honestly, something has to happen in America regarding guns.  I don't know what and I don't know how, but something.

    I don't think its the guns... (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 08:41:48 AM EST
    so much as the human beings who could do such a thing.  Why does it happen?  How does it happen?  What can we do, if anything, to prevent it from happening?

    The way I look at it, if a murderous lunatic has their heart set on indiscriminately killing people, all the gun control in the world ain't going to stop them.  They'll make a bomb, use a car, sh*t you can run through a mall with a samurai sword and kill loads of people before getting gunned down by the authorities or gun-wielding citizen.

    I tend to think there really isn't much ya can do about the lone lunatic, not without unintended consequences making all of the society the lesser for it.  The police state has grown in leaps and bounds over the last 50-60 years, killing each other remains.

    And like Slayer said, it's very very rare (thank goodness).  Never a good idea to react in haste to such rare, though unimaginably horrible, tragedies in ways that effect us all, all the time.  9/11 shoulda taught us that.

    And I say this as a hardcore anti-gun hoplophobe.


    You are not wrong (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by nyjets on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 08:59:53 AM EST
    You are correct that it is people that carry out these acts. However that being said it is possible to have intelligent and reasonable gun control without destroying the second amendment that would limit the likelihood of such an occurrence. Would it stop it 100 percent, of course not. But would nonetheless reduce the likelihood.

    Also, what must not be overlooked is the fact that guns today are a lot more dangerous today than they were 100 years ago. Guns do make it easier to kill a large number of people in a short period of time.


    I agree with kdog that the knee jerk reactions (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 09:40:40 AM EST
    that limit our freedoms should be avoided. I don't want to see metal detectors making movie theaters as painful as airports, for example.

    But I think a ban on military style assault weapons is reasonable. No one needs those weapons in their personal arsenal. If a ban makes them even a little harder to get, it may help.

    I say that not knowing what kind of gun was used in this case.

    What we also don't need - comments I am hearing like 'who brings their 6 year old to a midnight movie?'.  Lots of people who like to have special fun with their kids occasionally. they should be able to do it without being judged by smug a-holes after the fact.


    If a ban is what we want... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 09:56:29 AM EST
    we should prohibit the domestic manufacturing & importing of the most lethal rapid fire assault weapons.

    To ban personal ownership while allowing the manufacture and/or import of the banned weapons sounds like a waste of time/black market stimulus package.  Not to mention, if the people can't have them, I don't want any domestic armed government agency to have them either.  

    Even then the bad guys will still find a way...though I suppose it could work to limit the number of the blasted things among us and our communities.


    works for me! (none / 0) (#14)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 10:23:31 AM EST
    I can live with it... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 10:33:01 AM EST
    but I kinda feel like it is a variation of the "don't tread on me, tread on them!" philosophy I despise.  

    It'll suck for the decent gun collector who likes AK's like I like this very different AK.


    I understand. Not a perfect world, unfortunately. (none / 0) (#22)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 10:59:21 AM EST
    What is a rapid fire assault weapon? (none / 0) (#25)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 11:11:12 AM EST
    Was one used in this instance?

    I hear that... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 09:15:16 AM EST
    guns make it so easy, part of the reason they creep me out.

    We have some of the strictest gun control in the country in NYC, still most everyday in the paper you read about another shooting.  Dude just shot up an SUV with an AK in Queens last week.  All our gun control is making gangster gunrunners comin' up from the South rich, but are we any safer?  Maybe a little, but any thug who wants a gun can still get one, for a price.  It's the stand up citizens who want a gun at home who are inconvenienced, or sent to the black market for a piece.

    I'm not against some gun control while maintaining gun rights, I just don't think it really works all that well.  Tilting at windmills, just like illegal drugs and immigration.  And we hand the government more police state power to be abused.


    You sent me to the online dictionary for (none / 0) (#27)
    by sj on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 11:39:52 AM EST
    "hoplophobe".  Apparently I'm also one.

    Unless this becomes anything (none / 0) (#3)
    by Slayersrezo on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 07:42:58 AM EST
    other than a rare, isolated, instance -no, we don't.

    Simple (none / 0) (#12)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 09:53:22 AM EST
    More guns = more gun violence.

    I am all about the second amendment, but I am not down with large quantities.  Need a couple to defend yourself, cool, I got one myself.

    And I also think we need to start holding the people who's guns end up in criminals hands.  I get it, they get stolen, but owning a gun to me is a huge responsibility. And beyond maybe a yearly exemption of 1, if your gun is used in a crime by a criminal, you get that privileged revoked or get slapped with a huge fine.  Something so that beyond the HD weapon, the rest are locked tight.  Make legal gun owners have some accountability when their guns fall in the wrong hands.

    Every illegal gun on the street was legal at some point.

    We need to reduce the number of guns IMO, but not at the expense of people who want to protect themselves.  I like love the Constitution, but I don't like that the second Amendment to some supersedes my inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  there has to be a common ground in which the Constitution is respected as well as inalienable rights we all have.

    But as far as this and other rampage shootings, there ain't no law that's gonna help.  The Constitution allows all of us that right and unfortunately there is no way to predict who is capable of this kind of carnage.  Rarely are felons the ones behind the triggers.

    And I also think certain groups need to stop fighting technology that would connect guns to shells.  I don't understand how people who claim "guns don't kill people, people kill people" keep fighting technology that would help find those people who kill.


    It' s only off-limits (none / 0) (#33)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 12:47:25 PM EST
    in posts in which I am discussing something else and it tends to hijack the thread.

    This is the work of one deranged person. No gun law would have prevented him from acting. He would have robbed or stolen one or made a bomb and potentially killed more people. His apartment was filled with booby-traps and explosives.

    Federal gun laws already preclude the mentally ill from possessing firearms.

    Section 922(g), a part of the amended Gun Control Act of 1968, forbids gun possession by nine classes of individuals: felons, fugitives, addicts or users of controlled substances, the mentally ill, illegal and non-immigrant aliens, the dishonorably discharged, renouncers of their citizenship, those subject to court orders for harassing, stalking, or threatening intimate partners or their children, and those convicted for misdemeanor domestic violence.

    Apparently, the shooter has confessed, he was a a graduate student in neuroscience and a recluse. He dropped out of school last month.

    "The University of Colorado Denver-Aschutz Medical Campus can confirm that Holmes was in the process of withdrawing from the University of Colorado Denver's graduate program in neurosciences."

    I'm more interested in what caused Holmes to do such a horrible thing, whether there were warning signs and whether, had someone been paying attention and sought help for him, this could have been avoided.

    The gunman apparently entered through the back exit door. Where was security? This was a hugely promoted movie opening.

    I recommend taking a day to reflect on the tragedy before bringing politics and guns into it. But as long as the discussion here is civil and free of blatant misrepresentations, you can discuss it. Please do not link to gun control groups and petitions for more gun control.

    Holmes will be charged and his case will proceed through the justice system. Laws should not be passed in response to a singular event, no matter how horrific. Cooler heads are needed.


    True, but (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 01:01:57 PM EST
    Laws should not be passed in response to a singular event, no matter how horrific.

    This isn't just a singular event.  This is just another in a long line of events like these.



    Well said, jbindc (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by christinep on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 03:49:37 PM EST
    It isn't simply a sad day; it is the cumulation of many such sad days in recent decades.

    Agreed 100% (none / 0) (#38)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 03:51:12 PM EST
    But like JB said it's not a single event, but more importantly there has to be a place in which the Second Amendment is respected while reducing the shear numbers of guns.

    My beef is and will always be with the folks who won't bend a bit.  We don't need cheap handguns and large clips to honor the second amendment.  I am not suggesting those ideas are valid, just that certain people need to start bending a bit so we can find some place where we don't feel like we need to have a gun to keep us safe from everyone else with guns.

    right now, it's clear, a tragedy like this is unpreventable, the kid was odd, but clean record and until recently in college.  He had a right to own guns, like it or not.

    But these occurrences aren't the problem, if only once a year 12 people died from the barrel of a gun it would be utopia*.  It's the 30,000** who die every year from bullet and the 64,000 injured by them that is cause for concern.

    *I am not suggesting today isn't cause for sorrow, only that the people killed in tragedies by guns is a very small number.
    **Just under half the deaths are from suicides.

    the numbers are from 2004 and rounded for simplicity.


    James Holmes (1.00 / 1) (#30)
    by heidelja on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 12:09:26 PM EST
    The most influentcial character of all time, or just for the day?  

    Who else in American history has ever had more impact on a US Presidental Campaign? Obama curtails this afternoon's campaign trip through Central Florida to Rollins College, on the fringes of Seminole County, and instead returned to Washington from Fort Myers, no doubt, to look presidential. He also curtailed campaign ads in Colorado. While Romney hangs loose in New Hampshire, a sort of low tax bedroom haven for those who "work" in, or "are from," Massachusetts.

    Romney (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 12:34:37 PM EST
    Also cancelled ads and campaign events. Both men made statements.

    And I'm not sure where he's supposed to go to "look presidential" in the face of a tragedy.


    What a tragedy.....OMG. (none / 0) (#2)
    by samsguy18 on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 07:02:57 AM EST

    Washington Post polling re gun control (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 08:06:52 AM EST
    after high profile incidents:link

    Revised count: 12 dead (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 08:29:42 AM EST
    James Holmes is the suspect.

    ABC News (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 08:41:11 AM EST
    Contacted James Holmes' mother (who lives in San Diego) this morning.  She had been unaware of the shooting and no authorities had contacted her, but when she was told of the incident she said,

    "You have the right person."



    Yikes (none / 0) (#8)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 08:56:46 AM EST

    So, she knew her kid was a whack job.

    NBC now reporting (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 10:52:19 AM EST
    Holmes was a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado Medical School, but dropped out a month ago.

    How did Holmes (none / 0) (#16)
    by bmaz on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 10:38:38 AM EST
    ...get in the theater?  You don't just walk in the front door with body armor and all that weaponry.

    People going to the movie (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 10:40:56 AM EST
    Were dressed like Batman characters.

    If anyone saw him, they probably figured he was wearing props.


    Um, no not packing all the weapons (none / 0) (#18)
    by bmaz on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 10:47:36 AM EST
    Holmes apparently came in through a fire exit or something. How did that happen? Was it open? Somebody let him in? What?

    From CNN (none / 0) (#29)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 11:51:28 AM EST
    via a tweet:

    Federal officials: #Aurora gunman propped open rear door of theater, put on gear, threw tear gas and began shooting. http://t.co/RMnhknCx " - @cnnbrk

    Came in the ermergency exit (none / 0) (#20)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 10:53:02 AM EST
    I have not heard how he got in the for from the outside, or why an alarm did not sound when it opened. Or maybe an alarm sounded but no one had time to respond.

    correction -' in the door' (none / 0) (#21)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 10:53:32 AM EST
    Tragic coincidence (none / 0) (#23)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 11:03:04 AM EST
    One of the victims narrowly escaped the recent shooting in the Toronto mall.

    She seems like the kind of person who reflected on that narrow miss...I hope she was able to make her last few weeks good ones.

    I had to check on my people (none / 0) (#28)
    by sj on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 11:51:12 AM EST
    None of them are likely to be at a midnight showing in Aurora but I had to know.  They're fine, but this makes my heart hurt.

    Mine too (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by christinep on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 04:09:56 PM EST
    'Feeling teary-sad all day.  Grew up in East Denver...in the summer, we would ride our bikes out to various Aurora locales, as teenaged girls wanting to get in shape for fall.

    Waking up around 6 a.m. & getting ready for early walk with my dog (before the hot of the day) & turning on the radio to hear if the "world was still there" before going outside, I found that "the world" wasn't quite there.  In fact, for a minute, my mind thought it was listening to the first reports of Columbine again.  

    My dog, Valery, is so wonderful.  And, I'm thankful we meandered to the park for a short time of doggy-&-person buddy time.  Since then, I'm vaguely staring at the constant TV stream on the shootings...wondering why again.


    My sincere sympathies (none / 0) (#34)
    by lousy1 on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 12:52:24 PM EST
    Glad it turn out ok.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#35)
    by sj on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 12:55:01 PM EST
    It's a theater my sister and her family do patronize -- and they see a lot of movies.  It's the "midnight" part of it that kept me from jumping out of my skin.