All they wanted was to be among the first thousands of people lined up to see the final film in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, "The Dark Knight Rises." Instead, their lives was snuffed out by a monster far bigger than they would ever see on the big screen.
Police in Aurora, Colo., say James E. Holmes, 24, dressed himself completely in tactical gear, and entered a theater at Century 16 in Aurora, spraying it with bullets from an AR-15 rifle, a 12-gague shotgun, and a .40-caliber handgun among other weapons. When the dust settled, 12 people were killed, another 59 wounded, and a nation trying to pick up the pieces after such a heinous act.
Holmes reportedly had dyed his hair red, and made attempts to make himself look like The Joker, an iconic villain in the Batman universe last played by the late Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight."
"Obviously no words can express the intensity of this tragedy," said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
"This will be a day for prayer and reflection," President Barack Obama said after canceling campaign stops in Florida Friday. "Such violence, such evil is senseless. It is beyond reason."
Among those injured was a four-month-old baby who was reportedly treated and released, according to CNN.
After the shooting, Holmes reportedly turned himself in to police, who then tried to search his apartment nearby, only to be hampered by bomb-riddled booby traps. Officials said the weapons, including one that had a magazine that could carry 100 rounds of ammunition, were purchased a three separate gun stores in Denver. All the weapons appeared to be purchased legally over the last six months.
Warner Bros., the studio behind "The Dark Knight," cancelled its Paris premiere, and expressed condolences to the families of those affected by the shooting. Police in other major cities said they would be keeping a closer eye on Friday night premieres of the film to ensure there are no copycat incidents.
The Aurora theater is just 13 miles from Littleton, Colo., where the infamous Columbine High School shootings occurred in 1999.
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