Gunman Kills Moviegoers In Aurora, Colo.

Steve Inskeep talks to Isaac Ramos, a witness to the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's hear from one of the survivors of the overnight shooting at the Century 16 Theater in suburban Denver - Aurora, Colorado. The new Batman film was premiering overnight when a gunman opened fire on the audience in one of the theaters. Now, all the facts, as we understand them, are subject to change here. Eyewitness testimony is problematic, to say the least, in a dark theater with a dramatic movie playing. It happened in front of the movie screen - or off to the side.

But one eyewitness does tell us he believes that the gunman entered through an exit door. He describes a man wearing a gas mask, throwing some kind of explosive canister, and then firing on the crowd with a rifle. Police do say that 14 people were killed; about 50 wounded; and a suspect is in custody.

Now, these gunshots were heard in other theaters in this giant multiplex, and we're going to hear from someone in one of the theaters nearby. Isaac Ramos is a film student at Regis University, and was in the theater when this incident happened. Mr. Ramos, what happened?

ISAAC RAMOS: We were in the theater, and we were watching the movie - it was an action sequence - when all of a sudden, we heard a couple of loud bangs. It sounded like fireworks. There was a second set of loud bangs. And we turned around, and we kind of saw some of the flashes; and we saw some smoke.

At that point, some people tried to leave the theater. They returned; said that someone had been shot in the lobby, and to try and head towards another exit. At that point, the emergency system within the theater came on. We began to leave. As we headed upstairs to the catwalk, we could smell pepper spray, and we were all starting to choke.

At that point, the police started rushing in, in full gear, and told us to leave the theater. So we ran from the theater. We went outside; just - pretty much chaos outside. There was plenty of officers on the scene starting to - trying to figure out what was going on.

And from there, we saw some people who had been shot and been injured. We tried to go to our cars. The officers told us to just leave the area. And as we left, we saw a variety of people who were injured. And from there - we live close enough to the theater that we actually just walked home, at that point.

INSKEEP: So just to understand, this is a multiplex theater. You've got - I guess 16 screens there, since it's called Century 16. You're in one of the theaters. The shooting takes place somewhere else in that complex. But people can tell, inside the theater, that something has gone wrong. And that's when everyone started moving about.

RAMOS: Right. We were actually in the theater that was connected to the theater where all the shooting was happening. That was Theater 9, and we were in Theater 8.

INSKEEP: Oh, OK. So you were right next door there.

RAMOS: Yes.

INSKEEP: And some people actually saw the shots near where you were? It was at the entrance or something?

RAMOS: You know, we're not exactly sure what we saw. We know we saw some flashes, and we heard the bangs. And we also heard a loud rumble as well.

INSKEEP: Well, Mr. Ramos, thanks very much. I really appreciate your insight this morning - and glad you're safe.

RAMOS: Thank you very much.

INSKEEP: That's Isaac Ramos, one of the people who was in the Century 16 multiplex when the gunman opened fire overnight, during a premiere of the new Batman film. Now, we should say a little more about the suspect. We don't have a name at this time. We do know, according to police, that the man is in custody. And the police chief says that the man made statements about possibly having explosives in his possession, at his residence. And so an apartment building where the man said he lived, has been evacuated. Police have been searching that building, and we expect to learn more as the day goes on. We'll bring it to you as we learn it, right here on NPR News.

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