Home » 12 killed, 50 wounded in movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.

12 killed, 50 wounded in movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.

Compiled from reports by TIME and CBS News

AURORA, Colo. (July 20, 2012) — A masked gunman opened fire this morning at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the latest Batman movie, killing at least 12 people and injuring approximately 50.

Fifteen minutes into the film, the gunman — dressed in all black and wearing a gas mask — apparently kicked open an exit door at a mall movie theater in Aurora, Colo., released a canister filled with gas and began firing a rifle several times into the audience.

“Witnesses tell us he released some sort of canister. They heard a hissing sound and some gas emerged and the gunman opened fire,” said Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates at a news conference.

Witnesses also told news crews that the bullets went through the wall from the theater where the shooting took place and hit several victims in an adjacent “Dark Knight” midnight showing.

Frantic calls flooded the 911 switchboard and police and emergency crews swarmed the scene. Officers found 24-year-old James Holmes near a car behind the theater, and he surrendered without resistance, police said.

Four guns were recovered at the theater, a law enforcement source told CBS News correspondent Bob Orr —one shotgun, two pistols and what is believed to be an assault rifle.

Oates said the suspect told officers after being taken into custody that there may be explosives in his apartment. The police chief also told reporters that the authorities are currently securing a residence in North Aurora.

There is no evidence of other attackers, Oates said, and no immediate word on motive.

Children’s Hospital of Denver told Denver 9NEWS they are caring for six victims, and that their youngest is a six-year-old who was struck by a bullet. Many witness reports have said that they saw a baby which had been hit, and University Hospital confirmed to 9NEWS that their youngest shooting victim is 3 months old.

A witness, Spenser Sherman, told “CBS This Morning” that she saw the emergency exit door open and a tear gas thrown in. “Then it was a blur,” she said. “Then I heard a couple gunshots.”

“I thought it was part of the movie, like a fun little prank — that it would be over in a few seconds. It obviously wasn’t,” she said.

Sherman said she only saw a silhouette of the suspect, and that the gunman said nothing.

“Everybody had dropped to the floor after the first couple gunshots, and then he fired some more. And then after that, there was a pause in the gunshots,” she said. “Some people say he was reloading, I don’t know. But at that point, my boyfriend was like ‘This is the time, we need to go, we need to get out of the theater right now.’ So we ran.”