Colorado Police To Meet With Victims' Families

Police in Colorado say they will start meeting with the families of shooting victims to tell them the fate of their loved ones.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Coates says the last of the 10 deceased victims from the midnight showing of a Batman movie was removed from the theater Friday afternoon.

Coates says officers expect to get a confirmed list of the deceased and meet with their families Friday night.

In addition to the 10 people who died at the theater, two others later died from their injuries.

Coates says there are 70 victims but not all were shot. Eleven are in critical condition.

The chief says suspect John Holmes purchased four guns at local gun shops and 6,000 rounds of ammunition through the Internet.

Holmes was in custody Friday.


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James Eagan Holmes came from a well-tended San Diego enclave of two-story homes with red-tiled roofs, where neighbors recall him as a clean-cut, studious young man of sparing words.

Tall and dark-haired, he stares clear-eyed at the camera in a 2004 high school yearbook snapshot, wearing a white junior varsity soccer uniform. The son of a nurse and a software company manager, Holmes was a brilliant science scholar in college.

The biggest mystery surrounding the 24-year-old doctoral student is why he would have pulled on a gas mask and shot dozens of people in a suburban Denver movie theater, as police allege.

In the age of widespread social media, no trace of Holmes could be found anywhere on the web. Either he never engaged, or he scrubbed his trail.

Holmes enrolled last year in a neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver but was in the process of withdrawing, according to school officials, who didn't provide a reason.

Holmes is not talking to police and has asked for a lawyer, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.


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NBC says a graduate student who is suspected of killed 12 people and wounding 59 others told police he was the Joker.

James Holmes was arrested shortly after the shootings that happened during the premiere of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado.

The source told NBC News that the suspect had dyed his hair red or orange, which isn't typically associated with the green-haired Joker character. The character also doesn't appear in the newest movie, "The Dark Knight Rises," one of the most eagerly awaited films of the year.


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Police say 71 people were shot in a suburban Denver movie theater early Friday during midnight shows of the new Batman movie. Twelve people died, ten of them at the theater.

Another 59 adults and children were wounded.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates says there were four showings of the movie at the time and all were sold out. He did not know how many people that amounts to.

Oates says investigators are confident the gunman acted alone.

Police arrested 24-year-old James Holmes, whose apartment four miles away was booby trapped.

Oates says Holmes wore body armor, used an assault rifle, a shotgun and a Glock handgun.

He says Holmes' car was parked in back of the theater.


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A gunman in a gas mask barged into a crowded Denver-area theater during a midnight showing of the Batman movie on Friday, hurled a gas canister and then opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.

When the smoke began to spread, some moviegoers thought it was a stunt that was part of the "The Dark Knight Rises," one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer. They saw a silhouette of a person in the haze near the screen, first pointing a gun at the crowd and then shooting.

"There were bullet (casings) just falling on my head. They were burning my forehead," Jennifer Seeger said, adding that the gunman, dressed like a SWAT team member, fired steadily except when he stopped to reload.

"Every few seconds it was just: Boom, boom, boom," she said. "He would reload and shoot and anyone who would try to leave would just get killed."

The suspect was taken into custody and identified by federal law enforcement officials as 24-year-old James Holmes. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. Authorities did not release a motive. The FBI said there was no indication of ties to any terrorist groups.

Holmes had an assault rifle, a shotgun and two pistols, a federal law enforcement official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

FBI agents and police used a hook and ladder fire truck to reach Holmes' apartment in Aurora, police Chief Dan Oates said. They put a camera at the end of a 12-foot pole inside the apartment, and discovered that the unit was booby trapped. Authorities evacuated five buildings as they tried to determine how to disarm flammable and explosive material.

Victims were being treated for chemical exposure apparently related to canisters thrown by the gunman. Some of those injured are children, including a 4-month-old baby who was released from the hospital.

Aurora police spokesman Frank Fania on ABC's "Good Morning America" said he didn't know yet if all the injuries were gunshot wounds. He said some might have been caused by other things such as shrapnel.

Police released a written statement from Holmes' family: "Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved."

The movie opened across the world Friday with midnight showings in the U.S. The shooting prompted officials to cancel the Paris premiere, with workers pulling down the red carpet display at a theater on the famed Champs-Elysees Avenue.

President Barack Obama said he was saddened by the "horrific and tragic shooting," pledging that his administration was "committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded."

It was the worst mass shooting in the U.S. since the Nov. 5, 2009 attack at Fort Hood, Texas, when an Army psychiatrist killed 13 soldiers and civilians and more than two dozen others wounded.

In Colorado, it was the deadliest since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, when two students opened fire at the school in the Denver suburb of Littleton, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves.

The mall in Aurora, the state's third-largest city, has been the scene of violence before.

In July 2001, two men were shot and wounded inside the mall following an argument. In June 2005, a woman was killed and her boyfriend and a bystander were wounded following an argument inside the mall. Two men were arrested in that case, at least one of whom was sentenced to life in prison.

Friday's attack began shortly after midnight at the multiplex theater.

The film has several scenes of public mayhem -- a hallmark of superhero movies. In one scene, the main villain Bane leads an attack on the stock exchange and, in another, leads a shooting and bombing rampage on a packed football stadium.

It was the final installment of the "Dark Knight" trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Christian Bale as Batman. The series has a darker tone than previous Batman incarnations. It is the follow-up to "The Dark Knight," which won Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar for his searing portrayal of The Joker.

The gunman released a gas that smelled like pepper spray from a green canister with a tag on it, Seeger said.

"I thought it was showmanship. I didn't think it was real," she said.

Seeger said she was in the second row, about four feet from the gunman, when he pointed a gun at her face. At first, "I was just a deer in headlights. I didn't know what to do," she said. Then she ducked to the ground as the gunman shot people seated behind her.

She said she began crawling toward an exit when she saw a girl about 14 years old "lying lifeless on the stairs." She saw a man with a bullet wound in his back and tried to check his pulse, but "I had to go. I was going to get shot."

Witness Shayla Roeder said she saw a young teenage girl on the ground bleeding outside the theater. "She just had this horrible look in her eyes .... We made eye contact and I could tell she was not all right," Roeder said.

Police, ambulances and emergency crews swarmed on the scene after frantic calls started flooding the 911 switchboard, officials said. Officers came running in and telling people to leave the theater, Salina Jordan told the Denver Post. She said some police were carrying and dragging bodies.

Hayden Miller told KUSA-TV that he heard several shots. "Like little explosions going on and shortly after that we heard people screaming," he told the station. Hayden said at first he thought it was part of a louder movie next door. But then he saw "people hunched over leaving theater."

Officers later found the gunman near a car behind the theater. Oates said there was no evidence of any other attackers.

Holmes was studying neuroscience in a Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver graduate school, university spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said. University officials earlier said he was a student at the university's medical school.

Holmes enrolled in the program in June 2011 and was in the process of withdrawing at the time of the shootings, Montgomery said.

At least 24 people were being treated at Denver area hospitals.

"Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time," the studio said.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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