At around 12:30 am at the Aurora Century 16 Theater in Denver, 30 minutes into the premiere of The Dark Knight, James Holmes, 24, dressed in black and wearing a gas mask, bullet proof vest and riot helmet, threw canisters of tear gas into a packed theater and opened fire.
At first, people thought Holmes was part of the show. Then the gas canisters came. Panicked movie-goers either ran or ducked low to the ground to avoid the gas. One witness told ABC, ”You just smelled smoke and you just kept hearing it, you just heard bam bam bam, non-stop. The gunman never had to reload. Shots just kept going, kept going, kept going.” They continued, ”I’m with coworkers and we’re on the floor praying to God we don’t get shot, and the gunshots continue on and on, and when the sound finally stopped, we started to get up and people were just bleeding.”
Another witness told the LA Times that Holmes did have to reload and that’s when people made their escape. One witness described a man shot in head at point blank range two rows over. ”I can’t get his image out of my head,” the witness wrote in a message. The victim was wearing a shirt bearing the face of the Joker from the Batman series; after he was shot, he slumped back in his chair, his face covered in blood.
More people were wounded in nearby theaters as bullets passed through the walls.
ABC contacted the mother of shooter in San Diego before she had even been contacted by police. She did not sound surprised at all.
She had awoken unaware of the news of the shooting and had not been contacted by authorities. She immediately expressed concern that her son may have been involved.
“You have the right person,” she said.
“I need to call the police,” she added. “I need to fly out to Colorado.”
After calmly surrendering to police, Holmes said he had laid out explosives but police dogs found nothing. He also said he booby trapped his home and but
police also found nothing besides a lot of ammo. Police found an extensively booby trapped home and are planning to detonate.
Video of the aftermath below. And of course, there are already Yelp reviews being written about the theater.