AURORA, Colo. — In one of the worst mass shootings in recent American history, a gunman opened fire in a movie theater in this Denver suburb early Friday morning, killing 12 and injuring 59 others, according to police.
James Eagan Holmes, 24, has been named the alleged shooter, in an event that brought back horrible memories of the Columbine High School shootings in this state.
The shooting occurred during a 12:30 a.m. showing of latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises.” Holmes allegedly opened fire near the front of the theater after reportedly releasing a gas canister. Witnesses described hearing a hissing sound, said Holmes was wearing a helmet, gas mask, and bullet-proof vest.
The shooting took place at the Century Aurora 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Aurora is a suburb on the Eastern side of Denver, and is part of the Denver Metro area. The theater is located at 14300 E. Alameda Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares of the city.
Holmes was said to be armed with two handguns, a shotgun, and an AR-15 style assault rifle. He allegedly first threw two smoke canisters into the crowded theater before opening fire while wearing a gas mask. He was arrested shortly after the shooting in the parking lot of the movie theater. He did not resist arrest.
A local hospital confirmed to Colorado’s 9 News that the youngest victim being treated is 3 months old.
President Barack Obama released a statement saying he is “shocked and saddened” by the incident. “As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family,” he said.
Authorities have stated that Holmes had no apparent ties to terrorism. His apartment was raided by authorities, who recovered 4 guns, CNN’s Christina Gish reported via Twitter.
Police raided Holmes’s apartment Friday, but were forced to evacuate the apartment building when it was revealed that the apartment was rigged with explosive devices.
At this time, no motive has been identified for the shooting.
Morgan Lawrence and John M. Guilfoil of the Blast Staff contributed to this report.