We are deeply saddened to report a tragedy has struck moviegoers in the heart of the country late last night as MTV confirms that a gunman opened fire at a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado, killing at least 12 people and wounding more than 50.
This morning at around 12:30 a.m. the shooter kicked open a back door of the Century Aurora 16 theater and threw a smoke bomb, reportedly dressed in a bulletproof vest, goggles, black camouflage gear and a gas mask and brandishing an AK-47-style assault rifle, a shotgun and two handguns, while also setting off a "scrap metal pepper bomb" which released shrapnel throughout the audience.
Police in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, calmly apprehended a 24-year-old suspect, now identified as James Holmes, outside the theater, also searching his home for more weapons or explosives. There is no evidence of an additional shooter.
The youngest victim was a three-month-old baby currently listed in "fair" condition, while those injured ranged in age from 6-31 years old. After the firing ceased the confused audience began piling out of the theater in a chaotic scene.
"Everybody thought it was fireworks," eyewitness Chris Jones told local Denver news. "When the shooting cleared, we just ran. When we got outside, it was chaos."
Also Check Out: President Obama Addresses the Shooting
President Obama issued this statement early this morning: "Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado ... 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."
Also Check Out: Police Have Identified the Shooter
While it is too early to draw direct links to the man's described appearance and the terrorist villain Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises," this would not be the first instance of a violent film being subject to criticism after real-life carnage erupted at screenings. In 1991 a rash of 25 violent incidents, including several drive-by shootings, marred the opening of gang movie "Boyz N The Hood." The films "Natural Born Killers" and "The Matrix" came under question as influencing the tragic 1999 shootings in Columbine High School that left 13 teenagers dead in Littleton, Colorado, less than 20-miles from Aurora.
Also Check Out: Warner Bros. Releases Statement
Warner Bros., the studio behind "The Dark Knight Rises," issued the following statement: "Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time."
Also Check Out: Batman Doesn't Use Guns, And Never Kills