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Aurora: 'Dark Knight Rises' shootings have eerie overtones

July 20, 2012|By Steven Zeitchik
  • A gunman opened fired at a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," in Aurora, Colo. killing at least 12 people and injuring dozens more.
A gunman opened fired at a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises,"… (Bob Pearson / EPA )

A shooting at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Col., has left at least 12 dead and 50 wounded, according to authorities, who initially put the number of dead at 14.

The violent and chaotic scene in the Denver suburb early Friday morning – you can watch a small piece of it in this amateur video – took place inside a movie theater at the same moments that a shootout was unfolding on screen. In fact, victims at first thought the real-life gunshots were part of the film action, according to reports from inside the theater.

It’s unclear which of the film’s shootout scenes was playing when the violence broke out at the Century 16 Movie Theaters in Aurora.

Photos: 'Dark Knight Rises' shooting

[Update, 4:24 am: A witness who was watching the movie in the adjacent theater told CNN that the gunshots began about 15 minutes into the midnight screenings; that would put the movie at the so-called airplane scene -- that is, the gunshot-heavy opening scene -- or just afterward. Some patrons at the adjacent theater describe bullets coming through the walls from the theater where the shootings were taking place. ]

The Christopher Nolan movie, which has become the film event of the summer, centers in part on Bane (Tom Hardy), a murderous rebel who wears a gas mask and incites violence.

In a tragic life-imitating-art turn, the alleged gunman Friday was seen with goggles, guns and a gas mask, authorities said; he also released tear gas in the theater at the time of the shooting. A suspect is in custody. No further information on his identity has been given other than that the suspect is a 24-year-old white male.

“The Dark Knight Rises” has inspired many theaters to hold late-night screenings as they struggle to meet demand for the superhero film. Many theaters around the country were packed Thursday night with crowds eager to see the third installment in the Christian Bale Batman trilogy.

The shootings are likely to cast a pall over those previously celebratory events around the country, including in Los Angeles, which saw numerous theaters stay open late as lines curled around the block.


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