Washington(IANS): At least 14 people were killed and 50 injured Friday in suburban Denver at a cinema hall screening the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” when a masked gunman sprayed bullets at the movie-goers.
Witnesses said the gunman wearing a gas mask opened fire and set off a type of smoke or tear gas bomb at the Century Theater in Aurora Mall outside Denver, reported Xinhua citing KUSA-TV.
Bejamin Fernandez, a witness, said he was watching the film when he heard a string of blasts. He said people ran and there were gunshots as police shouted “Get down!”
He saw people falling, reported denverpost.com.
Salina Jordan, a 19-year-old, saw people hit.
She said one girl was struck on her cheek and several others in the stomach.
It sounded like firecrackers until someone ran into Theater 8 yelling “they’re shooting out here!”, said Jordan.
The police rushed in, telling people to run out, she added.
Dan Oates, a senior police official, said 10 people were killed when gunfire erupted at the theater. Four people died at hospitals.
Oates said a 24-year-old suspect was in custody and there was no evidence of a second shooter.
“Witnesses tell us he released some sort of canister. They heard a hissing sound and some gas emerged and the gunman opened fire,” Oates said.
A gas mask, a rifle and handguns were found in the suspect’s vehicle. An apartment building in north Aurora connected to the suspect was being evacuated and searched for possible explosives.
Witnesses said the masked man wearing a bullet-proof vest opened fire and set off a smoke bomb at the Century 16 Movie Theater in Aurora Mall, located on the southeast outskirts of Denver.
According to imdb, the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” speaks of a period eight years on when a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham’s finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect the city that has branded him an enemy.
The movie has been directed by Christopher Nolan and it stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman.
A dramatic footage uploaded on YouTube shows the panic outside the theatre.
People can be heard screaming as many rush out. The movie-goers look stunned and a man be heard muttering “Oh my god”.
A man in a bloody shirt can be seen being led out by a uniformed officer.
The 2 minute 45 second-long footage are the first visuals of the terrifying attack.
People promptly turned to twitter to express shock and outrage over the killings.
The trending topic #theatershooting# saw many tweeting about the incident.
ripJordanDC tweeted: “If only Batman could’ve came out the screen & saved the victims”.
“What a senseless act,” tweeted ashpriom.
Asked _DebbieDebs “What has the world come to?”
“We live in troubled days. May God be with all those who lost friends and family,” tweeted an anguished DSMullinax/
Val_KatyCat was clearly unhappy with the gun culture when she tweeted: “And still they authorize people to carry a gun –‘”
“@_Snape_: Sometimes, this world can truly be a horrifying place. They just wanted to see a movie. #TheaterShooting” thats crazy!,” wrote in miller2v.