A gunman calling himself “The Joker” opened fire at a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 59 more.
The youngest shooting victim was just 3 months old.
Police said the gunman, 24-year-old James Holmes, wore a gas mask, military helmet and bulletproof vest, released two gas canisters or smoke bombs, and wielded multiple firearms in an attack that began about 15 minutes into the showing.
Police caught Holmes, whose hair was dyed orange, outside the theater and recovered four guns in total: an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, and two handguns. Holmes told police he had explosives in his home, and police determined Holmes’ apartment was booby-trapped and evacuated five surrounding buildings.
According to a 9News broadcast posted, the booby trap involved “liter-sized soda bottles, believed to be filled with explosive or flammable materials, with wires running between all of them.”
Aurora is a 25-minute drive from Littleton, Colorado, where students opened fire at Columbine High School in 1999, killing 12 classmates, a teacher and themselves. Today’s carnage was America’s deadliest mass shooting since 32 victims and a gunman died in the Virginia Tech rampage of 2007.
Both President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney quickly released statements on the tragedy. Obama said “We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family.” Romney described himself and wife Ann as “deeply saddened” and said “We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief.”
The tragedy casts a pall over the much-anticipated opening weekend for the conclusion to the blockbuster Batman franchise.
Will you think twice about entering a theater to see the movie this weekend? What punishment is suitable for this killer? Share your thoughts on this tragedy in the comment section below.
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