Friday‘s horrific mass-murders in the Aurora Cinemas in Colorado, resulted in the loss of 12 lives, and over 59 injured. The cause? A Neuroscience Honours student, heavily armed, who entered the midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises and shot dead innocent movie-goers after breaking in through an emergency exit, and making his way up the aisles of the dark theatre.
The film, which was enduring its premier release at the theatre, was an hour into its screening when a confused audience watched as a man, dressed in battle gear, threw long canisters into the seating of Theatre 9. As tear gas flooded the theatre, the unsuspecting spectators believed they were enjoying a special effects scene from the film. What they didn’t expect, however, was the raining of bullets as those next to them were shot dead or injured, in the middle of one of the film’s fight scenes.
Audiences in the theatre next door, who were also seated for the screening of The Dark Knight Rises, began to hear explosive noises before smoke leaked through the crevices of the doors and vents. When screams were heard, the emotion quickly changed and panic set in.
The 24-year old gunman, James Holmes, had recently graduated in his Honours degree, enrolling in PhD Neuroscienes at Colorado University, but quit his course abruptly in June 2011. Neighbours say Holmes had kept to himself a majority of the time and stayed relatively quiet in-between their sightings of him.
But on the night of his shooting rampage, Holmes constructed a lethal trap of explosives in his apartment, connecting the fatal contraption to a timer. In the early hours after midnight, loud techno music was reported from neighbours, who claimed it had been coming from Holme’s apartment. Police stated that Holmes had been expecting someone to approach his household about the music, but on their approach, would have been met with a timely attack, while Holmes himself reaped havoc at the local cinemas. Police are yet to be able to enter the home to detonate the explosives.
Victims of the theatre shootings were immediately evacuated, with bodies being carried out of the scene; the youngest being a 3-month old who remains in a critical state, and a 9-year old who was shot dead during the attacks.
Investigators have questioned local gun shops, discovering Holmes had recently purchased 6,000 rounds of ammunition, including a drum tool to carry out 50 to 60 shots per minute.
The police later released a statement from his family, who confessed their current distress and anxiety over the the unexpected events.
“Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved.”
The parents have expressed they are completely unaware of any emotional of psychological reasoning for their son’s devastating attacks, claiming him to be a sensible, shy and intelligent individual.
Holmes was immediately arrested on scene, but questioning over his motives related to the movie are currently underway, after the mass-murderer told police that he was “The Joker” — a character known for deploying chaos in the Batman saga as the antagonist.