Bloodbath as gunman kills 12 at US Batman screening

A masked attacker gunned down dozens of US moviegoers at the packed premiere of a Batman movie on Friday, killing at least 12 people and wounding almost 40.

Chaos erupted when the gunman tossed some kind of grenade into the audience at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," then opened fire on terrified patrons as they scrambled for the exit.

Local police arrested the killer -- identified by US media as 24-year-old local man James Holmes -- at the rear of the theater, in Aurora, a suburb of the city of Denver, in Colorado.

Local media quoted a police chief as saying the suspect's home may have been booby trapped with explosives, and television footage showed officers in body armor breaking into the apartment through a window.

Cinemas in New York tightened security at Batman showings following the attack, and the French premiere of the film in Paris was cancelled.

"I saw some people start to get up. I poked my head up to see what was going on and when I did that I saw another flash and instantly put my head down as he started shooting again," 17-year-old Tanner Coon told NBC.

"I went to try to get to the exit and slipped on some blood, landed on a lady. I saw her heels. I shook her. I told her: 'We need to get up. You need to get out of here.' There was no response. So I presumed she was dead."

The suspect is thought to be a student from California. A spokeswoman for the San Diego Police Department, Andra Brown, said his family was shocked by the incident and cooperating with law enforcement.

"Their hearts go out to those involved or touched by this," she said, adding that the family's San Diego home had been put under police protection.

President Barack Obama cut short a campaign trip to Florida and returned to the White House to address the situation, although his spokesman said there appeared to have been no link to terrorism.

"Such violence, such evil, is senseless. But, while we will never know fully what causes somebody to take the live of another, we do know what makes life worth living," the president told a somber crowd in Florida.

"The people we lost in Aurora loved and they were loved," Obama said.

Following the shooting, Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney came under pressure on gun control, with lobby groups and some political leaders calling for legislation to restrict civilians' access to firearms.

"Maybe it's time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do because this is obviously a problem across the country," New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Both campaigns offered sympathy for the dead, but neither promised to change federal gun law. The right to bear arms in enshrined in the second amendment to the US constitution.

"The president believes we need to take common-sense measures that protect Second Amendment rights of Americans, while ensuring that those who should not have guns under existing law do not get them," Obama's spokesman said.

"There has been progress in that regard in terms of improving the volume and quality of information in background checks," he said "But I have nothing new -- nothing additional on that for you."

In a statement, the Aurora Police Department said: "Police were told the suspect 'appeared' at the front of one of the theaters, threw some type of gas or explosive device and started shooting."

Aurora police chief Dan Oates said police had arrested an alleged gunman and there was "no evidence" of a second, after earlier reports of two shooters.

"When the suspect was arrested, police recovered one rifle, one handgun and a gas mask. A third gun is still inside the theater. The suspect ... offered no resistance when he was arrested," it added.

Ten people were killed at the scene and two more died of their wounds, police said. A local children's hospital reported six young victims, the youngest was aged only six.

"The injured and dead include a wide age range. The conditions of the injured also vary, with some suffering very serious wounds," said police.

Chris Jones, who was in the theater, said the shooting began about 20 to 30 minutes into the screening.

"People just started dropping. We were on the floor trying not to get shot," Jones told the local KMGH-TV television station.

"There was smoke. Then I heard 'bam, bam, bam.' The gunman didn't have to stop to reload. Shots just kept coming, kept coming, kept coming."

Shots fired in one auditorium went through the wall and hit people in the auditorium next door. Jones said by the time he got out, police were already in the building.

Oates said the suspect claimed to have explosives at his residence and the apartment complex where he lived had been evacuated and was being searched.

Television images showed officers using a fire ladder to enter the building through a window.

Police spokesman Frank Fania told CNN the shooter was wearing body armor and armed with a rifle and two handguns, adding that he had set off some kind of smoke device in order to sow panic.

Witnesses described chaos chillingly similar to that depicted in the Batman films, in which maniacal villains terrorize Gotham City.

They said several audience members had shown up in costumes, which could have allowed the gunman to blend in with the melee and complicated the arrest.

Aurora is barely 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the scene of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, in which two students shot dead 13 people before committing suicide.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors
    No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors

    Instead of filing an opposition, ombudsman prosecutors filed a manifestation yesterday expressing belief that there is no urgent need for Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to visit his son at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center. “Based on the clinical abstract issued by the Asian Hospital on patient (Cavite) Vice-governor (Jolo) Revilla, which was submitted by accused Revilla in support of his Urgent Motion, Vice-governor Revilla is in stable condition and has stable vital signs, as of March 1, …

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano
    Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano

    Government troops captured Sunday a bomb and weapons factory of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced yesterday. Col. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said the captured bomb and weapons factory is located inside an area controlled by radical Muslim cleric Ustadz Mohammad Ali Tambako at Barangay Dasikil in Mamasapano. …

  • How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say
    How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say

    CAIRO (AP) — Three British schoolgirls believed to have gone to Syria to become "jihadi" brides. Three young men charged in New York with plotting to join the Islamic State group and carry out attacks on American soil. A masked, knife-wielding militant from London who is the face of terror in videos showing Western hostages beheaded. …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Solar plane passes new test ahead of planned world tour
    Solar plane passes new test ahead of planned world tour

    A solar-powered plane made a third successful test flight in the United Arab Emirates on Monday ahead of a planned round-the-world tour to promote alternative energy. Organisers hope that Solar Impulse 2 may head off around the globe as early as Saturday but caution that the launch is dependent on the weather, even in the relatively cloudless Gulf. The hour-long test flight was the plane's third from the UAE capital Abu Dhabi's small Al-Bateen airport, but the first for Solar Impulse chairman …

  • Recruitment firm accused of worldwide scam
    Recruitment firm accused of worldwide scam

    Filipinos aspiring to work overseas should avoid dealing with a recruitment agency that has duped jobseekers worldwide, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday. The National Bureau of Investigation has padlocked Global Visas Inc., which is based in Cebu. Baldoz said the agency’s parent company, ICS Global Visas Inc. based in the United Kingdom, has reportedly collapsed and left thousands of applicants without jobs.  “Global Visas was in the limelight this week, following its reported …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options