A night of fun and escapism has turned tragic in Aurora, Colorado. According to the Associated Press a 24 year old man walked into a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises this morning, set off a smoke bomb that had some people thinking that it was a special effect and began to open fire. 12 are dead and 59 are injured.
Federal authorities have identified the suspect as James Holmes, an Aurora resident. Little is known about the suspect or his motives but officials are saying that there is no indication that this attack is connected to any terrorist organization or plot. Authorities are saying that this is the worst shooting in the state of Colorado since the infamous 1999 High School shooting in Columbine.
Directly from the AP report: “I told my friend ‘we’ve got to get out of here,’ but then he shot people trying to go out the exits,” Jennifer Seeger told NBC’s Today. She said the shooter made his way up the aisle, firing as he went, saying nothing.
Holmes was detained outside the theater following the attack. Police say he did not resist. A gas mask, a rifle, a handgun, and another weapon were found. He reportedly mentioned something about explosives after he was detained and a bomb squad truck was seen outside of an apartment complex in Aurora. CNN is reporting that “items of interest” were found in the attackers home. We will update this story as details come in.
It is not yet known if James Holmes is insane or evil. What we do know is that as millions of people gathered around the country to press pause on their problems and fall into a movie and a fantasy with a character adored by children and adults alike, something happened in Colorado that was shockingly real and painfully tragic, something that will weigh heavily on our minds for quite some time. We take these things lightly in fiction but this is not fiction.
The thoughts and prayers of the entire NerdBastards staff go out to the wounded and the families of those slain and those affected by this. Our thanks also go out to the heroic first responders whose actions during the evacuation of the theater likely saved countless lives.
Update: The number of people injured now stands at 59. According to the Aurora Police (via The AP) the suspect, James Holmes, entered the theater at approximately 12:38 AM with a bulletproof vest, helmet, and a military-style semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and a pistol.