Shooting rampage at 'Batman' opening in Colorado

Update: Media Research Center president Brent Bozell really lowered the boom on ABC News for falsely linking the Colorado shootings to the Tea Party: “Ross slandered every American even loosely associated with the Tea Party, and he owes them an apology. He must also apologize to Good Morning America’s audience, the James Holmes he falsely implicated of mass murder, and, most of all, to each and every person in Colorado directly or indirectly affected by this horrific tragedy.  In a moment that demanded clarity of thought and purpose, Ross rushed to slander those with whom he does not agree politically, exposing the depths and darkness of his political prejudices. Shame on Brian Ross, and shame on ABC News for not yet demanding he look directly into the camera and beg forgiveness for politicizing this terrible event. Ross’ meek Twitter apology is a cynically insincere slap in the face to us all.”

Michelle Malkin has compiled an extensive history of all the times conservatives have been immediately, and falsely, blamed for acts of violence, which you can read here.

Update: Unbelievable: the Celeb Boutique issued a “cheeky” message via Twitter that “playfully” suggested Aurora was a hot topic today due to intense interest in a dress they sell under that name.  #Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress ;),” the message read.  That symbol at the end is supposed to be a winking smiley face, indicating sly wit.  [Shortly after a storm of public outrage broke out on the Internet, Celeb Boutique apologized for the Tweet and said their social media staff was genuinely ignorant of why the topic “Aurora” was trending on Twitter worldwide.  Where is that social media team based?  The dark side of the Moon?]

Update: Bomb-sniffing dogs have been deployed at the campus where Holmes studied medicine until last month.

Update: In a grim coincidence, a trailer for an upcoming film called Gangster Squad was playing before The Dark Knight Rises.  This trailer includes a scene where killers with machine guns march through a movie theater screen and open fire on the audience.  The L.A. Times reports Warner Brothers will pull this trailer from all movie theaters, and may even be considering cutting the scene from the film itself.

Update: It’s second hand information, but NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, reportedly close to the Aurora, Colorado chief of police, says the killer “had his hair painted red” and “said he was the Joker” at the time of the attack.  Kelly also promised increased police coverage of theaters playing The Dark Knight Rises in New York City, to prevent copycat crimes.

Update: The Colorado Tea Party Patriots respond to ABC News’ reckless slander: “The Colorado Tea Party Patriots and the Tea Party Patriots are saddened to hear of the death and wounding of theater goers in Aurora, Colorado. The member of the Colorado Tea Party Patriots, Jim Holmes, age 52 is not the same person who has been identified as the shooter.  The attempts of some media organizations to characterize the shooter as a Tea Party member without having made any effort to contact our organization are shameless and reprehensible.”

That’s right, folks: Brian Ross of ABC News couldn’t even be bothered to call the Tea Party group and ask if their “Jim Holmes” could possibly be the shooter, before he ran that theory on the air.

Update: Both the Obama and Romney campaigns are pulling down their campaign advertising in Colorado, until further notice.

Update: Sad news, as the Fox News affiliate in Denver confirms that a 7-year old child is counted among the dead.  They also report some more details about the killer, James Holmes, who was a student of “some form of neuroscience” at the University of Colorado – Denver medical campus from the fall of 2011 through this past June, when he withdrew.  He moved to Colorado from San Diego to work on his PhD.

Update: Some more reactions… Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), speaking for himself and his wife: “Elaine and I are heartbroken by the shootings in Aurora. This senseless massacre of so many innocent people gathered with friends and family in a movie theater reminds us not only of the great evil that exists in the hearts of some, but of the great and precious gift of life. I join all Americans today in prayer for the victims, their families and friends, and the wider Aurora community, and in heartfelt thanks to all the first responders who quickly responded at great risk to themselves. It is in moments like this that Americans have always drawn closer together and shown their great compassion and generosity to those touched by tragedy and loss. We hope that in the midst of the horror in Aurora, these qualities shine through once again and reach those who are suffering most. America is at prayer today for all who are affected by this tragedy.”

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), whose wife, coincidentally, is also named Elaine: “Elaine and I extend our deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers to all those affected by this senseless act of violence. As a country, we have shown time and time again that in moments of great sorrow, we come together as one. I have no doubt that once again we as a nation will come together and unify around the victims of this tragedy.”

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper: ???This is not only an act of extreme violence, it is also an act of depravity. It is beyond the power of words to fully express our sorrow this morning. Our prayers and condolences go first to the families of those killed, and we share the grief of everyone affected by this senseless event. We appreciate the swift work by local, state and federal law enforcement. Coloradans have a remarkable ability to support one another in times of crisis. This one of those times.???

Update: Brian Ross of ABC News issued a correction to his incredibly irresponsible on-air speculation about the Colorado shooter, James Holmes, possibly being the same “Jim Holmes” who belongs to a local Tea Party group: “We don???t know much about him.  An earlier report that I had was incorrect that he was connected with the Tea Party in fact that???s a different Jim Holmes.  He was not connected to the Tea Party and what we do know about him is he is a 24 year old white male who went to Colorado for a PHD.”

Update: One of the slain victims, an aspiring young sportscaster named Jessica Ghawi, was posting on Twitter from the theater, right before the shooting.

Update: Police are now reporting that they did find explosives at Holmes’ apartment.  More horrifying eyewitness testimony, from a man who was able to escape the theater with his girlfriend: “There was this one guy on all fours crawling. There was this girl spitting up blood. There were bullet holes in some people???s backs, in some people???s arms. There was one guy who was just stripped down to his boxers. It looked like he had been shot in the back or something.???

Update: The Hollywood Reporter says the Paris premiere of The Dark Knight Rises has been canceled in the wake of the Denver shooting, along with promotional appearances by the cast and director of the film.

Update: Some good news for a change: the official death toll has been revised down to 12.  Also, some early reports that listed a 3-month-old baby among the injured turned out to be incorrect; the baby in question was not hit by gunfire, and has been released from the hospital.

Update: Right on cue, leftist ghouls have swooped onto the scene of the rampage and used it to demand more gun control laws.  Early Hall of Shame inductees include Piers Morgan of CNN, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“Horrendous details from this Colorado cinema shooting. America has got to do something about its gun laws. Now is the time,” said Morgan on Twitter.

Mayor Bloomberg, as reported by Politico: ???I mean, there???s so many murders with guns every day.  It???s just gotta stop.  And instead of these two people, President [Barack] Obama and Governor [Mitt] Romney talking in broad things about, they want to make the world a better place.  OK.  Tell us how.  And this is a problem.  No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them, concretely, not just in generalities, specifically, what are they going to do about guns????

Update: It didn’t take long for Brian Ross of ABC News to see the dark shadow of the Tea Party in today’s violence.  “There’s a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year,” Ross mused on the air.  “Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.”

Yeah, we don’t know if it’s the same Jim Holmes, but if it isn’t, Jim Holmes of the Colorado Tea Party should take some precautions for his personal safety, and maybe think about taking some legal action against ABC News.

As Joel Pollak of Breitbart News observes, “The ‘Jim Holmes’ page on the Colorado Tea Party website is advertising an event with Middle East commentator Brigitte Gabriel next Thursday, July 26 – hardly the behavior of a man who expected to be committing a deadly crime on July 20 for which he would certainly be apprehended and might not survive.”

Update: Amazingly, some of the dimmer bulbs on the Left are trying to link the shooting to Rush Limbaugh, of all people, simply because he discussed the Batman film on the air recently.  And that discussion was entirely a response to attempts by Democrats to politicize the film!

Update: Colorado police say not only were there a number of “very sophisticated” explosives at the killer’s apartment, but it was booby-trapped.


Utterly horrifying news from the Associated Press in Aurora, Colorado:

A gunman wearing a gas mask opened fire early Friday at a suburban Denver theater at the opening of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” killing 14 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said.

The gunman, who is in custody, stood at the front of the theater and fired into the crowd about 12:30 a.m. MDT at a multiplex theater in a mall in Aurora.

“Witnesses tell us he released some sort of canister. They heard a hissing sound and some gas emerged and the gunman opened fire,”Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said at a news conference.

The shooter was captured outside the Century 16 Movie Theaters at the Aurora Town Center and taken into custody.  Late word from NBC News identifies the gunman as James Holmes, 24.  He was armed with two handguns and what NBC describes as ???an assault-type rifle.???  He fired at least 20 shots into the crowd, with some injuries apparently coming from shrapnel.

Witnesses report hearing several small explosions during the attack, so Holmes might have been carrying multiple devices beyond his gas bomb.  He evidently told police there were explosives in his apartment, but there has not been any confirmation of such weapons being discovered in a search.

The scene inside the theater was bloody pandemonium.  Some of the patrons thought the explosions and gunshots were coming from films playing in adjacent theaters, while others reportedly believed the attack might have been a publicity stunt connected to the film somehow.  Police entered the theater during the attack and scrambled to get civilians to safety.  The tear gas deployed by the killer effectively slowed down the police response, as one officer radioed back to dispatch, ???Get us some damn gas masks for theater 9, we can???t get in.???

The victims included several children.  The youngest, 6 years of age, was taken to Children???s Hospital Colorado for treatment.  Eyewitnesses report seeing a 9-year-old girl take a bullet in the stomach during the killer???s rampage.

President Obama issued a statement in response to the massacre:

???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.???

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney also released a statement: ???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.???

Witnesses say Holmes was wearing black, and some type of body armor, but it???s not yet clear if the attack was connect with The Dark Knight Rises in some way, or if the packed theater simply presented an opportunity for random mass killing by a psychopath.  No word yet on whether Holmes had any links to organized terrorism.