Family movie night will most likely never be the same for most movie goers following a tragic shooting in Colorado. Thirteen people are dead and almost forty are injured following a shooting at the Century 16 Movie Theaters at the Aurora Town Center in Aurora, Colorado during the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises”. The gunman entered the movie theatre, released a canister of smoke gas and began firing on movie goers. Ten people died in the movie theatre and nine injured people were transported to local hospitals for emergency surgery. Eight of them are reported in critical condition- one has been upgraded. The victims included a three month old baby that was injured and released from the hospital.
CBS Denver reports, “Officials at The Medical Center of Aurora confirmed that some of their patients had to be treated for chemical exposure. They went through that hospital’s decontamination process and were released. The midnight showing of the movie had just started when the violence began. Donovan Tate and his girlfriend escaped from the packed theater. ‘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.”
The lone gunman has been identified as 24 year old James Holmes. Moviegoers have told reporters that Holmes entered the movie theatre wearing a bullet-proof vest and carried a rifle, a handgun and a knife. Reports also say that another gun was recovered in the theater.
CBS reports, “The information speaks,’ [John] Miller said. ‘He walks into the theater at 12:30. He has an AK-47. He has a shotgun. He has a handgun. He is dressed completely in black in tactical gear. He's got a dispersal device. ...What you see here is, you see indications of an awful lot of...preparation and research that went into this.’ Miller, a former assistant director at the FBI, noted the use of the dispersal device, used to spread gas or smoke, is particularly telling. Miller said the suspect likely used it to either allow him to hide and keep firing or fill the theater with smoke in order to drive people toward the exits to continue more targeting firing. ‘Clearly, this is something that this individual didn't think up yesterday,’ Miller said. ‘It's not a spur-of-the-moment caper.’ The suburb of Aurora, about 10 miles outside of Denver, is not a stranger to this kind of tragedy, Miller said. The Aurora area is in Arapahoe County, near Littleton, Colo., the site of the Columbine shootings in 1999 and where New York City subway plotter Najibullah Zazi had lived. The chief of police in Aurora, Daniel J. Oates, a former New York Police Department officer who retired at the rank of deputy chief, Miller said.”
This tragedy has led to changes being made at other planned premieres and viewings. New York City is increasing security at local movie theatres. The premiere has been canceled in Paris following this tragedy.
Americans do not only have to fear foreigners coming onto American soil and taking away our sense of safety and security. The reality is that we also have to fear our fellow Americans. Although it will most likely take a prolonged period of time before we have all of the answers surrounding this shooting, Americans will most likely not forget this killing for a very long time. It seems that the days of Americans feeling safe on American soil is slipping away a day at a time.
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