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 Insanity plea sets stage for lengthy mental evaluation of Aurora theater gunman
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1 year ago

Insanity plea sets stage for lengthy mental evaluation of Aurora theater gunman

(NBC News) James Holmes, the man accused in one of the country's worst mass shootings, sat in a Colorado courtroom Tuesday as a judge accepted his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Victims and their family members had mixed reactions.

"It was their play to do the not guilty by reason of insanity," said survivor Marcus Weaver. "Do I think he's insane? Absolutely not."

The plea brings many of the pre-trial proceedings to a halt so a state psychiatrist can determine whether Holmes was able to distinguish right and wrong at the time of the Aurora theater shooting.

The insanity plea also means a notebook Holmes sent to his university psychiatrist days before the attacks can become evidence.

Media reports have said the notebook contains drawings depicting violence. Until now its contents had been protected under doctor patient privilege.

Holmes will be sent to a mental health facility in Pueblo, Colorado for extensive mental evaluations before his next court hearing later this summer.

Read more: http://nbcnews.to/10WKbZ5

1 year ago

Judge accepts insanity plea in Colo. shooting case

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) - A judge has accepted James' Holmes plea of not guilty by reason of insanity in the Colorado theater shootings.

Tuesday's decision sets the stage for a lengthy mental evaluation of Holmes, who is accused of fatally shooting 12 people and injuring 70 in a packed Denver-area movie theater in July.

The evaluation could take months. Holmes is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Holmes' lawyers repeatedly have said he is mentally ill, but they delayed the insanity plea while arguing that state laws were unconstitutional. They said the laws could hobble the defense if Holmes' case should ever reach the phase where the jury decides if he should be executed.

The judge rejected that argument last week.

1 year ago

Holmes asking judge to change plea to insanity

DENVER (AP) - James Holmes is asking a judge to allow him to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity in the deadly Colorado theater shootings.

Holmes will seek the new plea at a hearing today. He faces murder and attempted murder charges in the July 20 attack, which killed 12 and injured 70.

No motive has emerged, but Holmes' attorneys have repeatedly said their client is mentally ill.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The insanity plea carries risks for both sides. Holmes must submit to a mental evaluation by state doctors, and their findings could be used against him by prosecutors.

The plea also makes it harder for prosecutors to get a conviction. They must convince jurors that Holmes was sane at the time of the shootings.

1 year ago

Colorado shootings suspect to enter insanity plea

DENVER (AP) - Lawyers for the man accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in a Colorado movie theater say he wants to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity.

Attorneys for James Holmes said in a court filing Tuesday they plan to formally ask for the change of plea at a May 13 hearing.

A judge in the case previously entered a standard not guilty plea for Holmes.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

1 year ago

Colo. judge orders release of documents on Holmes

DENVER (AP) - The new Colorado judge overseeing the theater shooting case has ordered the release of documents related to the arrest of James Holmes.

District Judge Carlos Samour on Thursday said arrest and search warrant affidavits could be unsealed.

Prosecutors had said they were concerned about the privacy of victims and witnesses if the documents were released. Attorneys for shooting suspect James Holmes said they didn't want to hurt his chances for a fair trial.

But Samour said much of the information already is public.

Samour took over the case earlier this week after the previous judge, who had sealed the documents, took himself off the case.

Holmes could be executed if found guilty of killing 12 people at a midnight showing of the recent Batman movie last year.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

1 year ago

Trial for Holmes delayed until at least next year

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) - The judge in the case of Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes has delayed the trial until next February and acknowledged even that date might be pushed back.

The trial had been proposed for August.

However, all sides agreed Monday the case will take longer now that prosecutors say they'll seek the death penalty.

Prosecutors want the case wrapped up by spring of next year. But defense attorneys say there's no way that can happen.

Defense attorney Tamara Brady says the lawyers will do whatever it takes to defend Holmes' life and don't want the trial rushed.

Investigators say Holmes methodically stockpiled weapons and ammunition for his assault on a packed midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises."

1 year ago

Colo. prosecutors seeking death penalty for Holmes

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) - Prosecutors want James Holmes executed for last year's attack on an Aurora movie theater.

They announced their intention to seek the death penalty against Holmes in court on Monday.

Last week prosecutors said they rejected an offer from Holmes' attorney to have him plead guilty to avoid the death penalty. Prosecutors said the offer to have Holmes spend life in prison wasn't a serious attempt at plea bargaining.

Holmes is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder for the July 20 assault on a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" that killed 12 people and injured 70. His attorneys are expected to argue that he was legally insane at the time of the shooting.

A judge entered a not guilty plea on Holmes' behalf last month.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

1 year ago

Colo. theater shooting suspect offers guilty plea

DENVER (AP) - Lawyers for Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes have offered to have him plead guilty and serve the rest of his life in prison to avoid the death penalty.

Lawyers made the offer in a motion filed Wednesday but said prosecutors haven't accepted the offer because they may want to pursue the death penalty.

Prosecutors are set to announce Monday whether they'll seek capital punishment.

Prosecutors declined comment. They would likely consult with victims and their families before deciding whether to accept the offer.

Holmes faces murder and attempted murder charges. The judge entered a not guilty plea for him, but he still has the option of changing that to not guilty by reason of insanity.

Holmes' lawyers say the case could end Monday if prosecutors accept the offer.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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1 year ago

"Not Guilty" Plea In Aurora Massacre

The man accused of killing 12 people and injuring dozens more in a Colorado movie theater last summer faced arraignment Tuesday.

Attorneys for Aurora Theater shooting suspect James Holmes said he wasn't ready to enter a plea, so instead the judge entered a standard not guilty plea on his behalf, telling Holmes he could switch to an insanity plea later if he chooses.

If Holmes pleads not guilty by reason of insanity his past mental health records would become evidence.

He would have to undergo state psychiatric tests, and in a ruling by district Judge William Sylvester released yesterday, he must agree to be medicated for interviews by state psychiatrists.

Holmes' attorneys have argued that Colorado's insanity laws violate a defendant's constitutional rights because they require disclosure of potentially incriminating information.

The judge rejected those arguments, clearing the way for Tuesday's arraignment, but issues may not be resolved regarding the constitutionality of insanity and death penalty laws.

"If Holmes enters a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, and he chooses not to cooperate with the doctors, his lawyers may not be able to put on any evidence at all even in the death penalty phase about a mental disease or condition," says legal analyst Scott Robinson.

For some of the victims, the hearing marks another emotional event as they brace for a long legal process.

"People started crying, it's very emotional to hear the people that murdered your family or shot your loved one is continuing to get these chances and eight months is definitely long enough time to enter a plea," said Marcus Weaver, who was wounded in the attack.

Holmes' parents sat in the second row, clasping hands. They made eye contact with their son, but said nothing.

He's now bearded. His black hair has grown out, much different from his first court appearance last July when his hair was dyed orange, his gaze, far away and confused.

Holmes faces more than 160 felony counts in connection with the theater massacre.

Prosecutors have until April 1 to announce whether they will seek the death penalty.

1 year ago

Hearing set on leaked notebook in theater shooting

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) - One of the upcoming hearings in the Colorado theater shooting case will focus on who leaked information about a notebook that James Holmes sent to a psychiatrist.

The judge in the case says he'll hold a hearing the week of April 1 to find out who violated a gag order in the case.

One of Holmes' lawyers said Tuesday that a judge in New York has signed a subpoena for Fox News reporter Jana Winter to testify about her story, which cited unidentified law enforcement officials.

Holmes' attorneys are trying to get Winter to disclose her sources. Her lawyer has said that shield laws in New York and Colorado protect Winter from demands to reveal her sources.

The judge entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Holmes Tuesday.

1 year ago

Colorado judge sets August trial for James Holmes

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) - A Colorado judge has scheduled an Aug. 5 trial for the man charged with a deadly movie theater shooting.

The judge entered a not guilty plea on behalf of James Holmes Tuesday after the former graduate student's defense team said he was not ready to enter one.

Prosecutors say plan to announce whether they'll seek the death penalty at an April 1 hearing.

Holmes is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder in the July 20 attack at an Aurora movie theater that killed 12 people and injured 70.

He sat silently through Tuesday's proceedings and wore a red jail jumpsuit. He sported a thick, bushy beard and unkempt dark brown hair.

His parents, James and Arlene Holmes, sat silently at the front of the courtroom.

1 year ago

Colo. shooting judge won't overturn insanity law

DENVER (AP) - The judge in the deadly Colorado theater shootings has denied a request by defense lawyers to declare a state law on the insanity plea unconstitutional.

In a ruling released Friday, the judge granted one defense request for a written explanation of the consequences of pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.

Lawyers for suspect James Holmes had argued the insanity law was unconstitutionally vague and violated Holmes' Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination.

In his ruling, the judge says appeals courts have already upheld the law. He also says he won't address some questions raised by the defense because they are "dependent on hypothetical facts."

Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 at an Aurora movie theater on July 20. He's scheduled to enter a plea Tuesday.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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1 year ago

James Holmes in Court: New details expected in Aurora theater massacre

James Holmes, the man accused of gunning down a dozen people at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater will be back in court later this morning for day one of a preliminary hearing.

For the first time since the shooting last July, attorneys are expected to publicly provide extensive details about the case.

During the week long proceedings, the judge is expected to hear 911 calls, see snippets from hours of video, and listen to witnesses, including police officers and victims.

A ruling last week allows defense testimony about Holmes' mental state, despite the prosecution's objections.

"One of the problems for the defense in the Holmes case is by going through the prelim hearing much of the highly inflammatory and prejudicial evidence they have been able to keep from the public will be made public in open court," says legal analyst Scott Robinson.

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1 year ago

Media Protests Aurora Gag Order

The push to learn more about the man accused in the Aurora theater massacre moved back into a Colorado courtroom Thursday.

James Holmes listened in as lawyers asked the judge to release key information in the case and ongoing investigation.

During the initial hearing the judge issued a strict gag order blocking the public release of substantial information about the investigation and evidence in the case, details that could provide a better picture of James Holmes and what happened that night.

Cameras have been barred from proceedings as well.

Lawyers representing at least 25 news organizations, including NBC News, are asking Chief District Judge William Sylvester to unseal key court documents and loosen his gag order on the case.

A motion filed by media attorneys says "the public has an obvious and legitimate interest in knowing on a timely basis the actions being taken by the government officials, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and judges responsible for the investigation, prosecution and trial of the defendant."

Still, prosecutors warn releasing details of search warrants, evidence, and witness interviews could jeopardize their investigation and prejudice a potential jury pool, while defense attorneys want to ensure Holmes gets a fair trial.

"It's one of the ongoing struggles between the First Amendment, right of free speech and the defendant's right to due process and a fair trial, the Fifth and Sixth Amendment," says legal analyst Scott Robinson.

The judge is expected to take some time before announcing his decision about the request to release information.

1 year ago

Report: Psychiatrist tried to discuss Holmes

DENVER (AP) - A psychiatrist at the University of Colorado may have had some concerns about one of her clients -- James Holmes.

A Denver TV station (KMGH) says the psychiatrist, Lynne Fenton, tried to discuss Holmes with members of a campus behavioral and security panel, about a month before the shooting rampage that left 12 people dead in a movie theater.

But the discussion never took place, because Holmes dropped out of the school.

The university has declined to discuss the report, citing a court order barring it from releasing details about Holmes' year as a graduate student in neuroscience.

1 year ago

Colo. suspect charged with 24 counts of murder

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) - Colorado prosecutors have formally charged a former doctorate student with 24 counts of murder in the shooting at an Aurora movie theater.

Twenty-four-year-old James Holmes appeared Monday and was also formally charged with 116 counts of attempted murder.

Twelve people were killed and 58 people were wounded or injured. The breakdown of the charges was not immediately clear.

He's also charged with a one count of possession of explosives. Authorities say he booby trapped his apartment.

Holmes was arrested early July 20 outside a Century 16 theater in Aurora during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie.

Legal analysts expect his court the case to be dominated by arguments over his sanity.

Holmes was a student at the University of Colorado Denver before withdrawing last month.

1 year ago

Colorado shooting suspect faces formal charges

DENVER (AP) - Former University of Colorado Denver grad student James Holmes will learn the charges against him when he appears in court this morning.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others at the Batman movie premiere in Aurora, Colo.

The charges are expected to include a dozen first-degree murder counts.

Holmes is not expected to enter a plea and legal analysts believe the case will be dominated by arguments over his sanity.

1 year ago

James Holmes in court Monday

CENTENNIAL, COLORADO- The suspected gunman in the deadly Colorado movie theater shootings heads back to court this morning.

24 year old James Holmes made his first court appearance last week.

Today he'll be formally charged.

Holmes is accused of opening fire in a packed movie theater in Aurora, killing twelve people and wounding 58.

He's currently being held without bond and remains in solitary confinement.

1 year ago

Defense: Shooting suspect was seeing psychiatrist

DENVER (AP) - Court papers say the former graduate student accused in the Colorado movie theater shooting was being treated by a psychiatrist at the university where he studied.

The revelation was disclosed Friday in a defense motion. The motion sought to discover the source of leaks to some media outlets that a package that James Holmes sent the psychiatrist contained a notebook with descriptions of an attack.

The motion says the package contained communications between Holmes and his psychiatrist that should be shielded from public view.

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1 year ago

Makeshift memorial grows near theater massacre

Funeral and memorial services are being planned around the country for the 12 people killed in the Aurora theater massacre.

The man accused in the massacre, James Holmes, remains in solitary confinement in a Colorado jail while investigators focus on the crime scenes: the theater and Holmes' apartment.

They're analyzing what they've found in his home so far, talking to those who knew Holmes,
and plan to look through records at the medical college where Holmes was a PhD student.

At the makeshift memorial, emotions are raw, even among those those who didn't know the victims.

Christian Bale, the star of the Batman movie showing when the massacre took place, also came to town.

He and his wife went to the memorial to pay their respects and visited with survivors and first responders.

"Everyone was impressed with his sincerity, he was so sincere of why he was here," Janie Bowman-Hayes said after the visit.

In the wake of the tragedy there are stories of hope.

Caleb Medley was critically injured while shielding his wife and then unborn baby.

"He's making small improvements, baby steps every day," his brother Seth reports.

His wife gave birth to his healthy baby boy Tuesday.

1 year ago

Funerals begin for Colo. theater shooting victims

DENVER (AP) - A Colorado father killed in last week's theater shootings will be the first to be laid to rest.

A funeral service for 51-year-old Gordon Cowden was planned for Wednesday. He had gone to the midnight showing of the new Batman movie with his two teenage children,

Cowden was the oldest of the 12 people killed at the "Dark Knight Rises" showing. The businessman's teenage children escaped unharmed.

Later this week, families of other victims planned to say their goodbyes.

Funerals were planned in towns from San Antonio, home of aspiring sportscaster Jessica Ghawi, to Crystal Lake, Ill., hometown of Navy intelligence officer John Thomas Larimer.

Also Wednesday, residents of the apartment building where suspect James Holmes lived are waiting to see if they could return home.

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2 years ago

World gets first look at Colo shooting suspect

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) - The Colorado movie theater shooting suspect has shown little emotion as he makes his first court appearance with reddish orange hair.

James Holmes was wide-eyed, frowning and unshaven as he sat staring down. At one point he closed his eyes as a judge spoke.

He appeared after being accused of the shooting rampage at a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 people and injured 58 others.

Holmes left the hearing in handcuffs. The judge says he will be formally charged next Monday.

Authorities say the 24-year-old former graduate student is refusing to cooperate and it could take months to learn what prompted the horrific attack on moviegoers at a midnight screening of the latest Batman film.

Investigators say they found a Batman mask inside Holmes' booby-trapped apartment after the attack.

Holmes has been held in solitary confinement since Friday.

Video of the hearing was streamed live on the Internet and television but there were problems with the audio feed.

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2 years ago

Police say Colo. suspect's apartment booby trapped

AURORA, Colo. (AP) - Police say the apartment of the suspect in a mass shooting at a Denver area movie theater is booby trapped, so they've evacuated five surrounding buildings.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates says bomb technicians are determining how to disarm flammable or explosive material in the third-floor apartment. He says police could be there some time.

Oates says pictures from inside the apartment are fairly disturbing and the devices look to be sophisticated.

FBI agents and police used a hook and ladder fire truck and put a camera at the end of 12-foot pole inside the apartment where 24-year-old James Holmes lives.

The apartment is about four miles from the theater.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

2 years ago

3 service members wounded, 1 missing in shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Department of Defense says three members of the U.S. Armed Forces were wounded in a movie theater shooting in Colorado and one is unaccounted for.

The agency says a Navy sailor was injured and one sailor who was at the theater early Friday morning in Aurora can't be located. Two Air Force airmen were also wounded.

Both branches of the military are working with the families of the service members to make sure they're cared for.

The Defense Department also says the suspect, James Holmes, is not a past or current member of any branch or component of the Armed Forces.

2 years ago

AP Source: Suspect bought ticket to movie

WASHINGTON (AP) - A U.S. official says the suspect in Friday's shootings inside a Colorado movie theater bought a ticket to the midnight showing of the latest Batman movie and went into the theater as part of the crowd.

A federal law enforcement official said suspect James Holmes is believed to have propped open an exit door in the theater as the movie was playing, donned protective ballistic gear and opened fire. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

Police in Aurora, Colo., said Holmes fired at least 71 shots and killed at least 12 people. Police said he had an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, and two .40-caliber Glock handguns. Holmes is also believed to have hurled a gas canister into the theater before opening fire.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

7/20/2012 11:26:30 AM (GMT -7:00)

2 years ago

12 killed, 59 wounded in Colo. theater shooting

AURORA, Colo. (AP) - Police say 71 people were shot in a suburban Denver movie theater early Friday during midnight shows of the new Batman movie. Twelve people were killed, ten of them at the theater.

Another 59 adults and children were wounded.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates says there were four showings of the movie at the time and all were sold out. He did not know how many people that amounts to.

Oates says investigators are confident the gunman acted alone.

Police arrested 24-year-old James Holmes, whose apartment four miles away was booby trapped.

Oates says Holmes wore body armor, used an assault rifle, a shotgun and a Glock handgun.

He says Holmes' car was parked in back of the theater.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

2 years ago

Colo. doctors treating rifle and buckshot wounds

AURORA, Colo. (AP) - One of the hospitals that took victims from a movie theater shooting that killed at least 12 and injured 50 is treating gunshot wounds from a high-powered rifle and buckshot wounds.

Children's Hospital Colorado emergency room physician Dr. Guy Upshaw says he thinks the buckshot likely came from a shotgun, but the small, metal pellets can also come from explosive devices.

Six people were brought to Children's, ranging from 6 to 31 years, and one has since died.

Two were shot by a rifle, three had buckshot wounds and one was injured by shrapnel.

A federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation said the gunman had an assault rifle, a shotgun and two pistols.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

2 years ago

Colo. suspect's family: 'Hearts go out to' victims

AURORA, Colo. (AP) - A former medical student in a gas mask barged into a crowded Denver-area theater during a midnight showing of the Batman movie on Friday, hurled a gas canister and then opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.

When the smoke began to spread, some moviegoers thought it was a stunt that was part of the "The Dark Knight Rises," one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer. They saw a silhouette of a person in the haze near the screen, first pointing a gun at the crowd and then shooting.

"There were bullet (casings) just falling on my head. They were burning my forehead," Jennifer Seeger said, adding that the gunman, dressed like a SWAT team member, fired steadily except when he stopped to reload.

"Every few seconds it was just: Boom, boom, boom," she said. "He would reload and shoot and anyone who would try to leave would just get killed."

The suspect was taken into custody and identified by federal law enforcement officials as 24-year-old James Holmes. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. Authorities did not release a motive. The FBI said there was no indication of ties to any terrorist groups.

Holmes had an assault rifle, a shotgun and two pistols, a federal law enforcement official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

FBI agents and police used a hook and ladder fire truck to reach Holmes' apartment in Aurora, police Chief Dan Oates said. They put a camera at the end of a 12-foot pole inside the apartment, and discovered that the unit was booby trapped. Authorities evacuated five buildings as they tried to determine how to disarm flammable and explosive material.

Victims were being treated for chemical exposure apparently related to canisters thrown by the gunman. Some of those injured are children, including a 4-month-old baby who was released from the hospital.

Aurora police spokesman Frank Fania on ABC's "Good Morning America" said he didn't know yet if all the injuries were gunshot wounds. He said some might have been caused by other things such as shrapnel.

Police released a written statement from Holmes' family: "Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved."

The movie opened across the world Friday with midnight showings in the U.S. The shooting prompted officials to cancel the Paris premiere, with workers pulling down the red carpet display at a theater on the famed Champs-Elysees Avenue.

President Barack Obama said he was saddened by the "horrific and tragic shooting," pledging that his administration was "committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded."

It was the worst mass shooting in the U.S. since the Nov. 5, 2009 attack at Fort Hood, Texas, when an Army psychiatrist killed 13 soldiers and civilians and more than two dozen others wounded.

In Colorado, it was the deadliest since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, when two students opened fire at the school in the Denver suburb of Littleton, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves.

Friday's attack began shortly after midnight at the multiplex theater at a mall in Aurora, the state's third-largest city.

The film has several scenes of public mayhem - a hallmark of superhero movies. In one scene, the main villain Bane leads an attack on the stock exchange and, in another, leads a shooting and bombing rampage on a packed football stadium.

It was the final installment of the "Dark Knight" trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Christian Bale as Batman. The series has a darker tone than previous Batman incarnations. It is the follow-up to "The Dark Knight," which won Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar for his searing portrayal of The Joker.

The gunman released a gas that smelled like pepper spray from a green canister with a tag on it, Seeger said.

"I thought it was showmanship. I didn't think it was real," she said.

Seeger said she was in the second row, about four feet from the gunman, when he pointed a gun at her face. At first, "I was just a deer in headlights. I didn't know what to do," she said. Then she ducked to the ground as the gunman shot people seated behind her.

She said she began crawling toward an exit when she saw a girl about 14 years old "lying lifeless on the stairs." She saw a man with a bullet wound in his back and tried to check his pulse, but "I had to go. I was going to get shot."

Witness Shayla Roeder said she saw a young teenage girl on the ground bleeding outside the theater. "She just had this horrible look in her eyes .... We made eye contact and I could tell she was not all right," Roeder said.

Police, ambulances and emergency crews swarmed on the scene after frantic calls started flooding the 911 switchboard, officials said. Officers came running in and telling people to leave the theater, Salina Jordan told the Denver Post. She said some police were carrying and dragging bodies.

Hayden Miller told KUSA-TV that he heard several shots. "Like little explosions going on and shortly after that we heard people screaming," he told the station. Hayden said at first he thought it was part of a louder movie next door. But then he saw "people hunched over leaving theater."

Officers later found the gunman near a car behind the theater. Oates said there was no evidence of any other attackers.

Holmes was a student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver until last month, spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said. She did not know when he started school or why he withdrew.

At least 24 people were being treated at Denver area hospitals.

"Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time," the studio said.

2 years ago

Police say Colo. suspect's apartment booby trapped

AURORA, Colo. (AP) - Police say the apartment of the suspect in a mass shooting at a Denver area movie theater is booby trapped, so they've evacuated five surrounding buildings.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates says bomb technicians are determining how to disarm flammable or explosive material in the third-floor apartment. He says police could be there some time.

Oates says pictures from inside the apartment are fairly disturbing and the devices look to be sophisticated.

FBI agents and police used a hook and ladder fire truck and put a camera at the end of 12-foot pole inside the apartment where 24-year-old James Holmes lives.

The apartment is about four miles from the theater where at least 12 people were killed and 50 were wounded.

2 years ago

UPDATE: Suspect in Denver shootings identified by official

UPDATE: Suspect in Denver shootings identified by official

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal law enforcement officials say the suspect in last night's deadly shooting in Colorado is James Holmes, a 24-year-old American.

Officials believe Holmes killed a dozen people when he fired into a crowded movie theater in a Denver suburb. He was wearing a gas mask and set off an unknown gas in the theater.

Holmes is in police custody, and the FBI says there is no indication that incident is tied to any terrorist groups.

The federal law enforcement officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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2 years ago

Police: At least 12 killed, 50 injured in Colorado shooting

AURORA, Colo. (AP) - (UPDATE)- Police Chief Dan Oates says 12 people are dead following a shooting at suburban Denver movie theater.

He says 50 others were injured when a gunman opened fire early Friday at the Aurora theater.

Oates says one gunman stood at the front of one of the Century 16 theaters at the Aurora Mall.

He says "witnesses tell us he released some sort of canister. They heard a hissing sound and some gas emerged and the gunman opened fire."

There was no immediate word of any motive.

Police say one person has been arrested and there is no evidence of any additional shooters.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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