Seventy-one people were shot and 12 were killed when the midnight showing of the Batman trilogy was interrupted in Aurora, Colo. by a shooting this morning.
The gunman came into the theater 30 minutes into the movie wearing a gas mask and body armor. He threw a canister of gas into the air and began shooting open fire.
This attack came unexpected. The suspect has been identified as James Holmes, 24, an Aurora resident. Holmes was a medical student at the University of Colorado – Denver and was withdrawing from the neuroscience program, according to the Associated Press.
Officials said that Holmes was a loner. His motive for the attack is not yet known, and no formal charges have yet been made. His family lives near San Diego and released the following statement in a news conference to San Diego police spokeswoman Andra Brown.
“Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved.”
No further details have been given about the Holmes family because they want privacy at this time.
This unexplained murder outbreak is the worst act of violence since the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting. It also reminds Colorado residents of their infamous Columbine shooting from 1999.
President Obama spoke in response to the shooting today while in Florida.
“We may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this. Such violence, such evil is senseless. It’s beyond reason,” President Obama said.
“While we will never know fully what causes somebody to take the life of another, we do know what makes life worth living. The people we lost in Aurora loved and they were loved. They were mothers and fathers; they were husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors. They had hopes for the future and they had dreams that were not yet fulfilled.”
Witnesses at the midnight attack are still suffering. Many of them had been awaiting the Dark Knight movie with anticipation, standing in line for hours to see the film. Several reported to have burns on their faces and bodies from hot gun shells hitting them repeatedly as they tried to get out.
Holmes is expected to appear in court Monday.