Dark Knight opens to horror in US, 14 killed

A masked gunman turned the much-awaited premiere of the latest Batman flick in a US cinema hall into a bloodbath on Friday, spraying the crowd with bullets killing 14 people and leaving 50 others injured in the worst mass shooting in the country since 2007.

The gunman in full body armour forced his entry into the packed theatre in Aurora city of Denver in Colorado during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, starring Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway. The intruder used smoke canisters to force his way in through the emergency exit and then used his automatic rifle to carry out a macabre dance of death.

Citing the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the local TV networks said that the gunman has been identified as a 24-year-old James Holmes from Aurora.

A shocked President Barack Obama called the shooting 'horrific', as an FBI spokesperson said there was no indication so far of any connection to terrorism.

The gunman, who was wearing a gas mask and bullet-proof vest, rushed to the front of the theatre and fired into the crowd. He was later taken into custody from a car park lot behind the theatre. The shooter first threw some sort of disorienting smoke bomb and then sprayed the people with automatic gunfire, witnesses were quoted as saying on TV. The gunman, after being taken into custody, told the police that he had explosives at his apartment, which has now been evacuated.
The FBI has been rushed to the shooting scene and is investigating the incident. The police said that 14 people were killed and 50 others injured in the shooting. Ten died on the spot, while four succumbed to their injuries in a nearby hospital.

A witness Benjamin Fernandez was quoted as saying in a newspaper that he heard of a series of explosions when he was watching the movie. He said that people ran from the theatre and there were gunshots as police shouted 'get down'. CNN quoted one witness saying, 'A guy slowly making his way up the stairs and firing, picking random people.'

The police said that the suspect appeared from nowhere and started shooting at those inside the theatre. The gunman, they said, was in possession of a gun and a rifle when he was arrested. A third gun was found from the theatre.

The reason for the shooting – the worst since the 2007 attack on a technical college campus in Virginia that left 33 people dead – was not known immediately and the suspect was being interrogated, the local police said.
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