Dark Knight Rises Shooting LIVE: Masked Gunman Kills 12 in Batman Rampage

What was supposed to be one of the happiest moments for any Batman fan ended in tragedy when a masked gunman stormed into an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater on Friday where a midnight showing of the Dark Knight Rises was playing, throwing tear gas grenades into the crowd, then opening fire.

Witnesses say stunned moviegoers initially thought the real-life shotguns were from the action in the film. Authorities, that were present to keep excited crowds under control during the premiere confirmed the deadly toll of 12 dead and 50 seriously injured.

The tragic and chaotic scene took place approximately 15 minutes into the movie – during the airplane scene, a gunshot-heavy opening scene. The Christopher Nolan movie, the most anticipated film event of the summer, centers in part on Bane (played by Tom Hardy), a murderous rebel who wears a gas mask and incites violence.

According to KDVR, the shooting began the moment Batman first appeared on screen. A witness told CNN that he saw a "guy slowly making his way up the stairs and firing, picking random people.

Witnesses say life tragically imitated art, as the 24-year-old suspect was seen wearing goggles, guns (one rifle and two handguns) and a gas mask. The suspect, whose identity has not been released yet, is currently in custody. He was apprehended without offering resistance at the movie theater's parking lot where he fled after the shooting. He reportedly told police he had explosives in his apartment.   

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 Friday night with crowds eager to see the third installment of the Batman trilogy.


President Barack Obama released a statement of condolences for the shooting victims: 

"Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come."

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney also commented:

"Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 people in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice."

Friday, 10 a.m. Dark Knight Rises Shooting: This Is Why America Needs Better Gun Laws, do you think gun control is a factor in all of this? PM Pundit Daniela Quintanilla explains her reaction to the shootings:

The National Rifle Association's infamous slogan is "gun's don't kill people; people do." As British comedian Eddie Izzard once joked, "I think the gun helps." 

Within the last 15 years, the United States has suffered 12 mass shootings that have claimed 262 people, including the Columbine tragedy, the Virginia Tech massacre, and the shooting in Tuscon, Arizona that wounded Congressman Gabrielle Giffords. In 2008, 67% of murders were committed with guns; that same year, the Supreme Court over-ruled a Washington, D.C. law that generally prohibited residents from possessing handguns and required safety precautions for guns in private homes. The complete list of mass shootings will now include last night's bloodbath in Aurora, Colorado where the death toll is expected to rise from the 12 dead, andup to 50 wounded.

The issue here is not to end gun use. It is true that most guns in the United States are used for self-protection, hunting, and target shooting. It is true that to obtain a gun, there is a background screening process that requires the disclosure of mental health records and criminal history. But it is also true that far too many people are able to acquire guns, legally or not, without background checks and without serious consideration. The gun show loophole enables people to buy guns en masse in cash at gun shows in the Midwest and South, where gun laws are more lenient, who then bring the guns via the Iron Pipeline into states that do have strict gun standards where they are purchased on the street by gang members and violent criminals.

Let us remember that the man responsible for the Virginia Tech tragedy legally acquired the guns that he used to murder 32 innocent students and faculty members, despite his troubling mental health records and indications that he was unstable in the months and years leading up to April 16, 2007. The Brady Campaign was founded by Colin Goddard, a survivor of Virginia Tech, who produced the incredible film Living for 32 to explain how gun control can be implemented to protect the rights of those who use guns safely while also preventing the trafficking of guns between states and the complacency that allows guns into the hands of the wrong people. Some states have outdated databases, faulty systems, and limited technology that proves to be ineffective in the screening process despite the fact that a safety net is in place. Therefore, a federal standard with intense screening processes and restrictions on what kind of guns should be available to civilians must be enacted to keep the entire country on the same system to prevent further attacks.

The silver lining on this horrible tragedy is that it could motivate lawmakers to take action towards federal gun control. The likelihood, however, is that it will turn into a political competition for Romney and Obama; already the Democrats and Republicans have been competing on Twitter for the prize of which party is more sympathetic. 

Colin Goddard does not advocate a ban on guns, despite being a victim himself of gun violence; he advocates safe gun practices, which is something everyone should be able to agree upon. 

Friday, 12:30 p.m. Dark Knight Rises Shooting Twist: One Victim Had Narrowly Escaped Death Only a Few Weeks Ago

A woman killed in Friday’s Dark Knight Risesmovie theater shooting had narrowly escaped death only a month ago, when she was minutes away from being a victim in a Candian mall incident when a shooter opened fire at a popular foodcourt.

Jessica Redfield, also known as Jessica Ghawi, was among those killed in the Batman massacre, her parents told local media in her home state of Texas.

In a bizarre parallel, Redfield was at the Eaton Centre in Toronto on June 2 moments before a gunman opened fire, killing one and injuring seven.

Eaton later blogged about the moment:

“I found out after seeing a map of the scene, that minutes later a man was standing in the same spot I just ate at and opened fire in the food court full of people. Had I had sushi, I would’ve been in the same place where one of the victims was found.”

“My receipt shows my purchase was made at 6:20 pm. After that purchase I said I felt funny. It wasn’t the kind of funny you feel after spending money you know you shouldn’t have spent. It was almost a panicky feeling that left my chest feeling like something was missing. A feeling that was overwhelming enough to lead me to head outside in the rain to get fresh air instead of continuing back into the food court to go shopping at SportChek. The gunshots rung out at 6:23. Had I not gone outside, I would’ve been in the midst of gunfire.”

At the midnight showing of the premiere of the Dark Knight Rises, a masked gunman stormed into an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, throwing tear gas grenades into the crowd, then opening fire.

Witnesses say stunned moviegoers initially thought the real-life shotguns were from the action in the film. Authorities, that were present to keep excited crowds under control during the premiere confirmed the deadly toll of 12 dead and 50 seriously injured.

The tragic and chaotic scene took place approximately 15 minutes into the movie – during the airplane scene, a gunshot-heavy opening scene. The Christopher Nolan movie, the most anticipated film event of the summer, centers in part on Bane (played by Tom Hardy), a murderous rebel who wears a gas mask and incites violence.

According to KDVR, the shooting began the moment Batman first appeared on screen. A witness told CNN that he saw a "guy slowly making his way up the stairs and firing, picking random people.

Witnesses say life tragically imitated art, as the 24-year-old suspect was seen wearing goggles, guns (one rifle and two handguns) and a gas mask. The suspect, whose identity has not been released yet, is currently in custody. He was apprehended without offering resistance at the movie theater's parking lot where he fled after the shooting. He reportedly told police he had explosives in his apartment.   

The last line of Eaton’s June blog post reads: “I wish I could shake this odd feeling from my chest. The feeling that’s reminding me how blessed I am. The same feeling that made me leave the Eaton Center. The feeling that may have potentially saved my life.”

What a tragic, tragic event.