The chaos surrounding the release of The Dark Knight Rises has been nasty and downright terrifying, nothing more so than the shooting during a midnight showing of the film last night in Aurora, Colorado that killed 12 and wounded 59, according to coverage of the incident on CNN.
Witnesses reported that a masked gunman clad in body armor stepped into the theater, released a canister of gas that filled the auditorium and opened fire. This can be viewed as a tragic case of life imitating art – Christopher Nolan’s Batman films explore societal reactions to terrorism, heroism and the mentality of the men and women willing to dress up and fight/cause crime.
“Every few seconds it was just: boom, boom, boom,” witness Jennifer Seeger said to the Associated Press. “He would reload and shoot and anyone who tried to leave would just get killed. “
Law enforcement officials caught the suspect and identified him as 24-year-old Aurora native James Holmes, a former student at the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine. Though authorities did not divulge (or might not know) a motive, Aurora police are reporting that Holmes’ apartment is full of “sophisticated” explosives and five buildings surrounding his home have already been evacuated.
Among Holmes’ victims (both those killed and injured) were a nine-year-old girl and a three-month-old baby. For a little perspective, Aurora, a Denver suburb, is about 13 miles from Littleton, Colo., the site of the April 1999 Columbine High School massacre.
“The news of the shooting is a shock and very confusing,” said University of Colorado Boulder graduate and Aurora native Brenna Lee Wolcott. “My friends and family are in the same state as I am. Aurora is a suburban area, and you don’t normally think of something like this happening in the suburbs.”
Wolcott is currently living in Washington, D.C. and will be starting at American University’s law school in August. Unfortunately, she still can’t escape the madness: the NYPD and D.C. police have said they were going to step up security on movie theaters throughout the weekend in case there are any copycats.
“It does not really make me feel safer,” said Wolcott. “The only thing they could do to make me feel safer is to physically search every person coming into the theater, which most likely isn’t going to happen. I am definitely concerned that someone might try to copy what has happened in Aurora.”
So now there’s a chance that no matter how good TDKR (I’m seeing it tonight and am admittedly nervous about more than its quality now may be), it will always be associated with what the Associated Press called “one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.” It’s almost comparable to how “The Dark Knight” was overshadowed by Heath Ledger’s death, except it’s about 10,000 times more disturbing.
Wolcott isn’t too keen on seeing TDKR anytime soon: “Who is going to see TDKR or go to a movie theater and not think about what happened in Aurora?”
Photo: at http://www.toofab.com/2012/07/20/the-dark-knight-rises-shooting/
UPDATE July 21, 2:30pm ET:
Earlier in the morning, bomb technicians disarmed a trip wire in the Holme's apartment and prepared for controlled detonation of the explosive devices. At this time, the Aurora PD has said that the detonation was successful. CNN has reported that bomb technicians are currently at Holme's apartment where they have stated, "We are confident we have eliminated all major threats at this point." The Denver Post reports that there were 30 softball-sized improvised explosives in the apartment.
At least seven people remain in critical condition at local hospitals. Police began to notify families and friends of those killed in the shooting. Among the victims are six-year-old Veronica Moser and 24 year-old Jessica Ghawi, who made headlines early as one of the first identified casualities. Ghawi was present at a Toronto mall shooting just weeks ago.
CNN is revealing names of other victims as they come to light. You can visit the memorial page here.
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