Police have one suspect in custody after 12 people were shot and killed during a late-night showing of The Dark Knight Rises at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater early this morning.
Ten people died on the scene and two others died at nearby hospitals. Aurora is a suburb of Denver located just outside of the city.
Witnesses say that the shooter, dressed in all black and with his face covered, kicked open an emergency exit door in one of Century 16's theaters. One witness placed him in "a riot helmet, goggles and bullet-proof vest." He then set off a tear gas or smoke bomb and opened fire, reportedly during a shootout scene early in the movie. (Brenda Stuart of 850 KOA radio says that "a lot of people thought the gunshots were part of the movie.") Denver's KUSA reports that the shooter had briefly ceased fire, but only to reload his weapon.
According to the Denver Post the suspect, who is 24 years old, told police that he had explosives in his apartment building in North Aurora, which has since been evacuated. He was also reportedly in possession of a rifle, a handgun, and other weapons in his car.
"It was surreal," witness Hayden Miller told KUSA. "It was like a movie."
[Note: The death toll was originally reported to be 14 and has since been updated to 12.]
UPDATES: • Some video of the scene outside the theater is now up on YouTube:
• This tweet was the first ID for a victim in the shooting:
— Natalie Tejeda (@natalietejeda) July 20, 2012
• NBC reports that the shooter's name is James Holmes. The 24-year-old had four weapons: a shotgun, an AK-style rifle, and two handguns.
A San Diego woman who identified herself as James Holmes' mother told ABC News she had awoken unaware of the shooting and had not yet been contacted by authorities. She immediately expressed concern that her son may have been involved.
"You have the right person," she said, apparently speaking on gut instinct. "I need to call the police... I need to fly out to Colorado."