12 Dead In Aurora, Colo., Theater Shooting


Renee Montagne talks to Ben Markus about the shooting in Aurora, Colo. At least 12 people are dead after a gunman opened fire at a movie theater in the Denver suburb.

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And we're gonna return now to the breaking news this morning. Fourteen people are dead after a shooting at a movie theater in a suburb of Denver. There were several dozen more hurt. The shooting occurred during a showing of the latest Batman move, "The Dark Night Rises." We're gonna now to Ben Markus, who's with Colorado Public Radio, and he is on the scene in Aurora. Good morning.

BEN MARKUS, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: So bring us up to date on what we know happened, please.

MARKUS: A single gunman entered the theater at 12:30 this morning, released some sort of explosive canister. Witnesses report a hissing sound, gas emerged. The suspect was wearing a gas mask, also had a rifle and another weapon and then opened fire, killing ten people in the theater. Four others were sent to area - four others that were sent to other area hospitals were also killed. Fifty more were injured.

MONTAGNE: Obviously a horrendous moment, completely unexpected.

MARKUS: It was completely unexpected indeed. I think there were three theaters showing the Batman premiere at the time, all next to each other. One theater after another, six, seven, and eight, I believe, theater. And so witnesses in one theater reported seeing gunshots coming through the wall.

MONTAGNE: Coming through the wall during a Batman movie.

MARKUS: Yeah. I can imagine that it must have been incredibly hectic, given, you know, how loud and action-packed that movie could be.

MONTAGNE: Now, police do have a suspect in custody. Do we know anything about him, or precisely how he, you know, carried out this attack, what he was wearing?

MARKUS: So he was wearing a gas mask, apparently. He had a rifle and a hand gun as well, besides the explosive canister. He's a 24-year-old male from Aurora here, which is a suburb on the east side of Denver. He apparently intimated to police officers that he may have an explosive device at his apartment in a North Aurora apartment building, which has apparently been evacuated. He also says that there may be an explosive device in one of the cars in the parking lot of the mall theater area. So the parking lot has been cordoned off as well while police search that.

MONTAGNE: So he appears to be acting alone. Do they know that?

MARKUS: There were reports that there may be a second gunman, but that hasn't been confirmed.

MONTAGNE: And then so this in a sense might be ongoing, as you described it with the...

MARKUS: Yes. Early on we heard reports that police were searching for a second suspect, but I haven't seen any confirmation that there is a second suspect or any evidence. That wasn't brought up at the latest press release.

MONTAGNE: Well, Ben, thanks very much.

MARKUS: Thank you.

MONTAGNE: Colorado Public Radio's Ben Markus, and we will be following this story of the deadly shooting outside of Denver throughout the morning. You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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