Earlier this morning, during one of the many late-night screenings for the long-awaited final entry in the Batman saga, a lone individual opened fire in a crowded movie theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colorado, leaving over 50 injured and 12 dead.
The individual responsible for what is now being considered one of the worst massacres on US soil since the 2009 shootings at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas has been identified as 24 year old James Holmes, originally from San Diego. The shooter's identity was first confirmed by an ABC News reporter earlier this morning, with Gawker posting a picture of the shooter taken from the records of Colorado University, where he was a former student. Holmes' only other interaction with law enforcement was a citation for speeding prior to this incident.
Not long after Holmes was caught and arrested, police undertook a preliminary investigation into his apartment, but not before being stopped by an anonymous source, who revealed that his apartment was 'booby-trapped' with high-level military grade explosives and rigged to explode should anyone have attempted to enter without prior warning, exacerbating the severity of the situation.
As police were already on hand to provide additional security for the midnight screenings, the presence was key to the quick response of first responders, which was timed at 1 minute 18 seconds from the first phone call to 911 once the first reports of the shooting victims were confirmed. Dispatch audio from the aftermath of the tragedy details a frenzied scene of police and paramedics rushing to help attendees and the wounded, while authorities were quick to apprehend Holmes, who is currently undergoing further joint questioning with FBI involvement, and the Associated Press is now reporting that Holmes is uncooperative towards authorities.
As a result of the tragedy, theaters across the country have been placed on high alert, with many requesting additional police presence and posting notices prohibiting those with concealed carry permits from carrying firearms inside theaters, along with banning any sort of costumes/cosplay from any showing of the film.
Warner Brothers has also pulled a trailer for the film that depicted a mass shooting scene in a theater and has canceled all promotional activities, including the Paris premiere and related press conferences, with the possibility of canceling all screenings also being considered along with pulling all television advertising for the film.
The family of James Holmes has released the following statement:
Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time. Our family is cooperating with authorities in both San Diego, California and Aurora, Colorado. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy.
Update: The Dark Knight Rises director, Christopher Nolan has issued a statement on the tragedy via Deadline Hollywood:
Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises, I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community. I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families.