At least 14 people were killed and dozens of others wounded early Friday when at least one gunman opened fire during a shootout scene at a midnight screening of the summer blockbuster “The Dark Knight Rises” near Denver, authorities and witnesses said.
Aurora police chief Dan Oates told reporters that 10 people died at the scene of the shooting and four others died after being taken to local hospitals. At least 50 other people were injured, Oates said.
One suspect was in custody, police said. It was unclear whether other suspects were involved.
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
Brenda Stuart, of 850 KOA radio, told Sky News that “a lot of people thought the gunshots were part of the movie.”
“They heard what they thought were firecrackers,” she added, citing witnesses. “Then they saw the bullets flying.”
Eyewitness reports said the assailant may have been wearing a gas mask, Stuart said.
‘Get down!’ Tear gas went off in the theater following the gunfire, Stuart said. She added that bullets had passed from one theater into an adjoining one.
The Denver Post quoted witness, Bejamin Fernandez, 30, as saying that people ran from the theater as shots rang out and police shouted “get down!”
Fernandez told the Post that he saw people falling, including one young girl.
Salina Jordan, 19, who was in Theater 8, told the Post she saw one girl struck in the cheek and others in the stomach, including a girl who looked to be around 9 years old.
Jordan told the Post that someone ran into her theater yelling, “they’re shooting out here!” An alarm came on, Jordan said, announcing there was a “murder in theater.”
Jordan told the newspaper she saw police carrying bodies out of the theater as well as officers opening fire.