Masked Gunman Kills 14 at 'Batman' Screening

Opened Fire in Suburban Denver Movie Theater

By Reuters

Published July 20, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A masked gunman killed 14 people at a midnight showing of the new Batman film in a suburb of the U.S. city of Denver early on Friday, sparking pandemonium when he hurled a teargas cannister into the auditorium and opened fire on moviegoers.

Fifty others were wounded in the attack on the showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in the Aurora suburb, some of whom were treated for the effects of tear gas, hospital officials said.

“This is a horrific event,” Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates told a news conference, adding that a suspect was taken into custody in the parking lot behind the theatre.

Police said the Aurora gunman had appeared at the front of the theatre during the movie and released a canister which let out a hissing sound at the movie theater, located in a mall.

Dozens of police were at the scene, and the authorities evacuated the area while they checked for any explosive devices. They said there was no evidence of a second gunman.

Wendy Post, who was waiting to be reunited with her daughter at a local high school following the shooting, said her daughter told her the shooting erupted just minutes after the film began.

“She saw the exit door open and something was thrown across the screen, and then shooting started,” she told local NBC affiliate 9News television. “It was chaos.”

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

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said President Barack Obama was notified of the shooting by his Homeland Security Adviser, John Brennan.

Colorado has suffered mass killings in the past. In 1999, two students opened fire at Columbine High School in the suburb of Littleton, near Denver, killing 12 students and a teacher.

PEOPLE SCREAMING

Police spokesman Frank Fania said the suspect was thought to be in his early 20s. He was carrying a knife, a rifle and a handgun when arrested, and one other gun was recovered from the theatre. The gunman was also wearing a bulletproof vest.

“He did not resist, he did not put up a fight,” Fania said. The suspect’s apartment building has been evacuated.

A witness told CNN: “We heard anywhere from 10 to 20 shots and little explosions going on. Shortly after that we heard people screaming. 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.” He said friends had told him the gunman was wearing a gas mask.

Another witness said the gunman opened fire during a shoot-out scene in the movie, leading to confusion.

One man told the NBC affiliate that he was in the adjacent theatre watching another screening of the Batman movie when he heard gunshots and the theater filled with thick, choking smoke.

He saw bullets holes in the wall, and some people in his theatre were wounded: “I heard moaning…they were in pain.”

Fania said police received the first call about the shooting at 00:39 local time and responded within “a minute or two”.

Local hospitals were alerted to a “mass casualty incident”. Media reports said 10 people died at the scene and four died later in hospital.

A spokeswoman for Denver’s Swedish Medical Center said three people had been admitted to that hospital with gunshot wounds and were in critical condition.

Another hospital, Denver Health, had received six wounded, one of whom was in critical condition, spokeswoman Kalena Wilkinson said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.