Update: Number of Wounded Continues to Rise in Colorado Theater Shooting

By KBJR News 1

Update: Number of Wounded Continues to Rise in Colorado Theater Shooting

July 20, 2012 Updated Jul 20, 2012 at 1:58 PM CDT

Aurora, Colorado - (Northland's Newscenter) At least twelve people were killed and at least 59 others wounded early Friday when a gunman opened fire at a midnight screening of the summer blockbuster "The Dark Knight Rises" near Denver, authorities and witnesses said.

Authorities have arrested a 24 year old man identified as James Holmes in connection with the shootings.

Officers who went to the suspect's home say that his apartment was booby trapped with what police described as sophisticated explosives or flammable materials. Authorities are trying to defuse the explosives and have evacuated everyone in the immediate area of the suspect's apartment.

A four-month-old and a six-year-old girl were among those treated at local hospitals, according to reports.

Police said the gunman had appeared at the front of the theater during the movie and released a canister which let out a hissing sound, which is believed to be tear gas. Witnesses told reporters that gunfire erupted during a shootout scene in the film.

Jennifer Seeger, who was inside the Aurora, Colo., movie theater where a gunman opened fire early Friday, describes the scene of the shooting as "mass chaos."
"It was mass chaos," said witness Jennifer Seeger. "He was five feet away from me."

The gunman shot the ceiling and then "he threw in the gas can, and then I knew it was real," Seeger added.

"Everyone's going for the door and then everyone starts saying, 'no, he's going to shoot people going for the door, and he did," she recalled. "They're trying to escape, and he shot those people as well."

A 24-year-old James Holmes was apprehended in the shopping center's parking lot, Oates said.

The incident occurred in the Century 16 Movie Theaters at the Aurora Town Center, police told NBC News. Aurora is a suburb less than 10 miles east of downtown Denver.

NBC station KUSA-Denver cited a witness as seeing a black-clad 6-foot-tall man wearing a riot helmet, goggles and bullet-proof vest.

However, many people attended the film dressed in Batman-related costumes.

Witnesses said the gunman entered the theater through an emergency exit door.

The suspect was found in possession of a gas mask, Oates said. Ammunition was found in the suspect's car, police said.

Citing officials, NBC News' Pete Williams reported that the shooter had four weapons including an assault-type rifle and two handguns. The suspect's car has Tennessee plates but authorities believe he was living locally.

Oates said there was no evidence of additional suspects.

The suspect's apartment building in north Aurora was evacuated after the suspect made a statement to police about possible explosives at his home, Oates said.

An FBI official told NBC News that the agency was working with local authorities on the investigation, but that there was no early indication of a link to terrorism. President Barack Obama had been notified by counterterrorism chief John Brennan and was aware of the incident,

In a statement, Obama said: "We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family."

The apartment of 24-year-old James Holmes, had been booby-trapped with what police described as sophisticated explosives or flammable material and officers were trying to determine how to defuse the device or devices, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said. The area had been evacuated, and police were expected to remain on the scene "for hours or days," he said.

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