Gunman Opens Fire At Midnight Batman Screening In Aurora, Colorado – Kills 12, Injures 50

24 year-old James Holmes opened fire during an early Friday morning screening of the new Batman movie at an Aurora, Colorado, theater. At least 12 people were killed and up to 50 injured.

(CNN) — A heavily armed gunman tossed tear gas into the darkness of an Aurora, Colorado movie theater Friday and then sprayed the audience with gunfire during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, killing 12 and wounding 38 others, authorities said.

One of the injured was just 3 months old, according to hospital workers.

Police arrested a man believed to be the shooter in a rear parking lot of the theater, Frank Fania, a police spokesman, told CNN. The suspect was not immediately identified. Police said he was a man in his 20s from Aurora.

“He did not resist. He did not put up a fight,” Fania said. Police seized a rifle and a handgun from the suspect, and another gun was found in the theater, he said.

A suspect is in custody, Oates told reporters. “We don’t have any evidence of a second gunman,” he said.

CNN had this cell phone footage of the aftermath:

The 3 month old is reportedly OK. [Note: The Telegraph story linked below indicates that baby might not be OK.]

You can watch a live stream from KUSA here.

ABC initially tried to tie Holmes to the Colorado Tea Party. There’s no confirmation that the Jim Holmes they found is the same person, nor would it matter much in this case even if it was the same person. This hardly seems like an ideologically driven action. Brietbart has substantially more documentation (though not validated) that he’s a registered Democrat, though like the potential Tea Party affiliation that doesn’t seem particulary relevant to this shooting. [Note: The Brietbart story has now changed, and it appears that Holmes may not be a registered voter.] Jim Hoft is reporting that Holmes was a medial student at University of Colorado Medical School, but withdrew last month. ABC has retracted the Tea Party assertion, and admitted that it was incorrect.

Twitchy has details on the death of Jessica Ghawi, who escaped a mass shooting in Toronto in June, but wasn’t so lucky a second time. Also here’s a Reddit picture from one of the 50 victims at the ER.

Update (7:00PM Eastern): The Telegraph as a pretty detailed rundown on the current state of the story, and Batman director Christopher Nolan has issued a statement.

Shortlink:

Posted by on July 20, 2012.
Filed under Breaking News.
Tagged with: .
Doug Johnson is a news junkie and long time blog reader, turned author.

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  • herddog505

    What compells people to do this sort of thing? I mean, really: what makes killing a lot of people you don’t even know seem like a helluva idea?

    If he’s found guilty (seems open and shut to me), then hang him.

    • Commander_Chico

      I will speculate. Another young man adrift in the vulgar and violent cesspool of popular culture – first-person shooter video games, goth shit, porn, lurid comic books, maybe some kind of crazy extremism – another (male) loser without purpose in a country where girls now do much better than boys, and you can add the mental illness that results. Lost in the madhouse.

      • Vagabond661

        Mental Illness I will agree to. the rest is purely conjectural.

        • Commander_Chico

          I bet he’s like an older version of the Columbine shooters, unless it’s a full psychotic episode, as he is on the high end of the average onset of schizophrenia.

          What are internet comments for but conjectures?

          • Vagabond661

            I just hate to jump to conclusions. There are so many reasons why he did this. To lay it at the feet of gamers is unfair. Just as I wouldn’t lay this at the feet of OWS. By the way I don’t own any video games.

          • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

            I don’t really think Commander_Chico is jumping to conclusions. He’s speculating and conjecturing as he said, and performing his own version of profiling. Thats all we can do till real info come out. What we don’t need are people saying “I just know he’s going to be some Wacko that is against/mad about ________”

          • ryan a

            “What we don’t need are people saying ‘I just know he’s going to be some Wacko that is against/mad about ________’”.

            Exactly. Thanks for saying that.

          • Vagabond661

            Yeah I got that Chico was speculating. I just didn’t want to. Not really calling him out. Obviously the shooter is mental.
            It’s like my pet peeve against using the insanity plea. Of course you were insane to kill 12 people. No sane person would do that.

          • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

            Its not that big a deal. I just found his speculating as responsible as opposed to those that may try to associate the guilty with certain affiliations or agendas.

          • jim_m

            I rather like having the availability of a verdict like “Guilty, but insane”. We will treat you for your mental illness and when you are better you can serve the rest of your sentence.

      • herddog505

        I dunno. Boys a half-century ago watched plenty of “violent” TV and movies, ranging from the Three Stooges to Bugs Bunny to “Gunsmoke”. They played cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians or war with real-looking guns. Yet, this sort of thing didn’t happen very often (though the University of Texas massacre leaps to mind as an exception). Some of them doubtless got into porn (not as easily available then as now, I suspect); some of them were not successful in getting jobs or girlfriends. Yet, these massacres didn’t seem to happen as frequently as now. Have we put something in the water???

        There’s really no way to guard against a determined, homicidal loony other than being prepared to shoot back if one gets the chance.

        • Commander_Chico

          A while back I spent a day watching back-to-back half-hour episodes of “The Rifleman” on the Westerns channel. It originally ran from 1958 to 1963, and I used to watch it when I had footpads on my pyjamas.

          True, it is violent. Lucas McCain guns someone down just about every episode. His son Mark watches a lot of these killings, so if you watch them back-to-back, you wonder how a kid would react to Dad killing someone every week at least.

          But all of these killings were within a morality play – Lucas is always a reluctant killer upholding some kind of justice and decency.

          The other thing that struck me was how many episodes dealt with Lucas’s and others’ Civil War service and the fallout from that – these would have resounded with WWII vets dealing with their own service.

          There is no comparison between that, or Moe bonking Curly on the head, and the dark, lurid and sick things that are out now in subcultures – death metal bands, weird comic books, etc.

          • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

            It was a cool show

          • Commander_Chico

            It was, well written. It was created by Sam Peckinpah – he went from that to The Wild Bunch in six years. Both have a preoccupation with honor in their own ways.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rifleman

          • herddog505

            I agree, but tell that to the anti-violence crusaders who got Tom and Jerry editted or taken off TV completely.

            But is this something that’s missing from our culture? The ideas that right is right and wrong is wrong, that it’s not only acceptable but desirable to fight – kill – to defend the right, and that trying to live up to a good moral code is something we should do? Has our admiration for anti-heroes, our acceptance of the “flawed” hero, gone too far?

            Or are these people simple lunatics who could spend their lives watching the most inoffensive TV and movies and still go postal?

          • Commander_Chico

            I agree – the problem is that violence has been decoupled from honor and heroism, particularly male virtues. Many young males have no fables or context to channel their aggressiveness.

            There is definitely a problem. The number of these incidents is outpacing population growth. When the Texas Tower shooting occurred in 1966, it was shocking. This Aurora thing is bad, but it is not shocking.

            This kind of sums it up:

            By now, Americans are virtually unshockable. When we hear of the latest workplace shooting, the latest school shooting, the latest loner who snapped and took others with him to his final rest, we are saddened, certainly, but not shocked. It has happened so often that we’ve long since lost count of the shooters and the victims, long since forgotten which towns bear the indelible marks of random violence. So it is difficult for us to understand the horror to which Americans were introduced by Charles Whitman on August 1, 1966. Until Whitman undertook his shooting spree in Austin, Texas, public space felt safe and most citizens were utterly convinced they were comfortably removed from brutality and terror. After August 1, 1966, things would never be the same.

            http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/mass/whitman/index_1.html

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            The concept of honor itself has been perverted, in some subcultures.

            And heroism. Look at a culture’s ‘heroes’, and you’ll see just how healthy it is.

          • jim_m

            For a long time I have said that if you can think of an atrocity, you can count on someone having already having seriously considered doing it or having already done it.

            There is nothing new under the sun.

        • Larry Brown

          The UofT shooter had a brain tumor. I suspect this guy was sick, mentally or physcially, too. And just like a mad dog, he needs to be put down.

      • Guest

        Yes, Chico, those video games really seduce the innocent, don’t they?

        • jim_m

          Why is it that people think that video games and violent TV programs and movies have no influence on people yet they still believe that commercials influence people and they complain loudly about political ads from PACS?

          If the thirty second commercial is so dangerous that it can influence people to drink or smoke cigarettes, then why is playing a video game where you murder people for hours on end so benign?

          • Guest

            I can’t speak to those folks ‘cuz I’m not one of them.

            As far as PACs … I don’t care how many commercials they run. I’m more worried about corruption and regulatory capture.

    • ryan a

      “What compells people to do this sort of thing? I mean, really: what
      makes killing a lot of people you don’t even know seem like a helluva
      idea?”

      Ya, it’s really sick and sad are totally senseless. I too wonder what on earth drives someone to do this. Horrible.

    • Guest

      What compells people to do this sort of thing? I mean, really: what makes killing a lot of people you don’t even know seem like a helluva
      idea?

      I remember thinking that after Columbine, too.

      • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

        At Columbine the shooters pretty much knew their victims.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Zimms/100003653414389 Jack Zimms

      Re “What compells people to
      do this sort of thing? “

      Often there are many things. One they usually want to get people’s
      attention. Mission accomplished. Often they want to get their name in the news.
      Mission accomplished. Often they want others to feel some of their pain. Mission
      accomplished. Often they want to express that they have power over other lives
      as other had over theirs. Mission accomplished. People who wouldn’t give him
      the time of day are now paying attention to him. People who thought they were
      so powerful and in control of things and people, are reminded that someone even
      a nobody could take everything away from them. It dampens people’s false
      security even one’s not involve in the incident.

      Just because we don’t agree with their judgment of the cost justifying
      the means doesn’t mean there was no motivation. And please don’t mistake
      understanding some of their motivations as condoning their action. His actions
      was terrible and wrong.

    • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

      What makes you think it was a matter of compulsion? Some simply choose to do evil.

  • Vagabond661

    Sitting ducks. Just a day or so ago a 71 year old man shot 2 armed robbers at an internet cafe. Movie theaters don’t allow CWP. Big Mistake.

    • herddog505

      Yeah, things like this make me really, really consider heading over to the range to take the class and get my CCW.

      • Guest

        OK … in a crowd of a couple hundred moviegoers, imagine that, say, five percent are legally armed. I’m trying to imagine this situation … chemicals in the air, a darkened, crowded room filled with panicking people, and the sensory overload of a Baman movie. Around ten people who have weapons and (at best) some training on firing ranges, and maybe ONE of them is a hunter. They have no way of coordinating with each other. They have no training in handling this kind of crowd situation.

        Oh, and these people are probably panicked as hell, too.

        I don’t see the situation ending well.

        • Vagabond661

          I think the point of this is unless the idiot is suicidal (and this guy had on a bullet proof vest), he wouldn’t walk into an area where he knows people could be armed like a gun store or pawn shop or police station.
          The armed robber at the internet cafe said it best. “He said “he never expected anyone to be armed.” Well duh.
          I will take my chances with people who are armed for protection every time.

          • herddog505

            Yep. Who wants to be like poor Suzanna Hupp, her parents, or those other people at Luby’s who had to cower and hope that the killer didn’t come their way?

            Hennard also approached 32-year-old Suzanna Hupp and her parents. Hupp reached for her revolver in her purse, only to remember she had left it in her car to comply with Texas law. Her father Al, 71, rushed at Hennard in an attempt to subdue him but was fatally shot in the chest. A short time later, as Hupp was escaping, her mother Ursula, 67, was shot in the head and killed as she cradled her wounded husband.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luby's_massacre

        • herddog505

          I’ll take the lesser of two evils and hope that at least somebody is present who could shoot back.

        • jim_m

          If you had someone who could have confronted him and fired back, even if they did not hit him, they would have distracted him, giving the opportunity to flee the theater to many innocent people. You probably could have cut the death toll in half if someone could have fired back.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Stan25 Stan Brewer

    10-1 this shooter was a disgruntled #OWS member that wanted to make a statement against Mitt.

    • herddog505

      Let’s just stick with generic lunatic. IMO, people who commit horrors like this don’t really have a motivation: they are simply crazy. Hell, he might have gotten the idea from watching a fast food commercial.

      • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

        I’m with you on the generic lunatic part.

        • jim_m

          This is the Denver area. Generic Lunatics virtually grow on trees out there.

    • Jwb10001

      I’m not sure that’s fair, and is surely a game we should not be playing. ABC has already gone down this road with incorrect speculation of a tea party connection. We don’t like it when people jump to conclusions and point fingers at our side perhaps we should avoid doing the same, at least I plan to avoid it.

  • GarandFan

    “He did not resist. He did not put up a fight,”
    Of course not. Now if the cops had been unarmed, that would have been different.

  • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

    I’ll speculate also -

    My first thoughts were that this was some sort of Jihadist fantastist – considering they were withholding his name while putting out names of victims. Then – not. Honestly, I’d almost wish he was – it’d make explaining it all easier to frame it in the terms of Islamic fanaticism.

    My second thoughts are that this is some asshole with dreams of notorious fame. As Chico said – pop culture’s a cesspool. You’ve got subcultures that glorify intentional, studied ignorance, violence and misogyny.

    Sure – it’s easy to make pronouncements about the right-wing conservatives being the focus of ignorance, violence and intolerance – and that it’s their attitudes which are causing the problem. (Look at how fast folks were to connect Giffords’ shooting with Palin’s website – despite there being no evidence that the nutcase who did it was even politically aligned in any direction at the time, and well over a year later there still isn’t.)

    But they’re not the problem, overall. They’re looking to establish a framework that works as a structure for society, something stable and predictable they can live their lives in. They understand that personal freedom requires personal responsibility, and that uncoupling the two isn’t going to yield a good result in the long run.

    Yet it seems like all too many want to tear any sort of framework apart because they dislike any expectations that they show some sort of self-control. They don’t like the imposition of (to them) distasteful cultural norms on their wants and desires. They want to party – they don’t want to show up for work. They want things given to them, without limit – yet are unwilling to work to provide for others. They want freedom, but don’t want responsibility. They want the structure to shelter them, but they’re not going to do a damn thing to help build it.

    Perhaps there’s only so much of that any one civilization can take…

    Add in, as Herddog505 mentioned, discarding the concept that there’s any such thing as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, that personal restraint is a plus, that actually succeeding in business to the point where you’re providing jobs is somehow an evil thing – and you’ve got real problems brewing on your hand.

    Are FPS to blame? Heck if I know. I’ve been playing computer games since the early ’80s – and worked my way through Doom and Doom II several times. Now I’m going through the ‘Dead Space’ series on the XBox. (I’m cheap, I’ll wait a few years and get the games at a discount, lol.) Never felt the need to go out and shoot up someone who cuts me off on the freeway, though. Porn? That doesn’t seem much of a problem, aside from rug burns, chafing and the occasional sprains. “Hey, honey, want to try this thing that’s on the TV?” “Nope. Last time we tried that, you dislocated your shoulder… and your hip. The insurance company still hasn’t finished with the ER charges.” “Ahh… right…”)

    But maybe Chico has it right with the ‘males without purpose’ theme. I don’t know. I do know there’s a hell of a lot more moral ambiguity than I’m comfortable with on TV these days, and though I know it’s a reflection of the world as it is, perhaps that’s not what we need.

    There’s an awful lot of this that’s going to require close examination in the future. But it can’t be viewed from (or as) a ‘left-right’, ‘conservative-liberal’ viewpoint. I think it’s going to have to be looked at from a ‘Does this work the way we’re expecting to, and what are the unanticipated consequences, and are they worth the cost of what we wanted?’ viewpoint.

    In the end, we’ve got to go with what actually works instead of what we’d LIKE to have work.

    Can’t stay and chat long today, folks. Got some stuff going on – looking forward to reading this thread Sunday PMish..

    • Commander_Chico

      My idea is that it’s not one thing, it’s a combination of things – lurid, desensitizing and debasing culture, and loss of male purpose, including poor economic prospects.

      It will be interesting to see what is revealed about the shooter in the next few days – by the time you come back we will know a lot more.

      • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

        In cultural trends, it’s very rarely one thing. It’d be a lot simpler if it was, but there’s so many, many different factors that isolating one and going “Well, THERE’s your problem…” (/Hyneman) is a fool’s game.

        Not that there won’t be plenty of fools speculating on it…

        See ya’ll later, folks…

      • jim_m

        I would add to that an educational culture that emphasizes a relativistic moral code where there is not absolute right or wrong. We desensitize people to violence and then tell them that there is no real right or wrong and then get upset when these sorts of acts are perpetrated.

    • TomInCali

      Sure – it’s easy to make pronouncements about the right-wing
      conservatives being the focus of ignorance, violence and intolerance

      Says the guy whose “first thoughts were that this was some sort of Jihadist fantastist”.

      • jim_m

        There’s a difference between where your first thoughts go and making accusations on live TV to 4.5 million viewers. Perhaps that is too nuanced for you to grasp, but there is still a difference.

  • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

    Here is a question inviting speculation. Will the shooting help or hurt them in the box office opening weekend?

    • GarandFan

      I would imagine it would hurt. Many probably thinking “I don’t want to be there when a copycat shows up”.

      • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

        That was my initial thought, but then I wondered about the possibility of the opposite effect, just out of morbid curiousity, weirdness, or thrill seeking.

  • Commander_Chico

    Well if Holmes was a Ph.D student in neuroscience, my theory about him being an aimless loser is wrong.

    More like a brittle intellect who might even have been studying the brain because his own was giving him problems.

    I do have a general theory that psychiatrists and psychologists often go into the field to deal with their own problems, neuroscience is close to that.

    In his mugshot, he’s got that same weird smile that Jared Loughner had. I think psychotic break now.

    • http://wizbangblog.com Kevin

      By appearances he appears to be smart,from a well to do family. Doesn’t match the profile of ssomeone like the Virginia Tech shooter.

  • jim_m

    I have to say that it is comforting to see that the left is tripping all over themselves to use this politically. There’s something reassuring in being able to rely upon the crass partisanship that makes them rush into blood libels at the earliest convenience. In times like these it’s the familiar things that bring us comfort.

    • Evil Otto

      Every time there’s a shooting, this happens. They just can’t help themselves. They WANT this.

      This is how they see us, as a bunch of psychotic wanna-be mass murderers just waiting to slaughter people. And since these idiots see us that way, they jump to the same conclusion every time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Murphy/100001624276605 Ryan Murphy

    Why is it a ‘trend’ – there are 300 million people, roughly, in the USA. If something like this DOESN’T pop up every now and then, I would be surprised. Every now and then a combination of mental state, circumstances and opportunity will coincide. Its inevitable.

  • 914

    Just disgusting.. Puke!

  • Paul Hooson

    They say that bad news comes in threes. First Fred Willard is arrested for attempting to fire off a load at a Hollywood adult theater. Now, this Batman shooting. What’s next?

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  • Raymondrp89

    Great- now we need to be on guard on at the movies.  This is tragic.  I don’t ever want to see this type of thing happen again.  http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/click2bsure-emergency-alert/id434081583?mt=8