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Colorado shooting: Police look for clues after dark night

Batman moviegoers, at first, think that shooting is part of the spectacle. Paris cancels opening of 'The Dark Knight Rises,' as New York tightens security at film's opening to preempt copycats.

By Staff writer / July 20, 2012

Crime scene tape wends its way around vehicles parked outside the Century 16 theater complex in Aurora, Colo., early Friday, where a mass shooting left 12 dead and scores injured inside the theater during the premiere showing of 'The Dark Knight Rises.'

David Zalubowski/AP

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Law enforcement authorities in Colorado have begun to piece together details of a movie theater shooting that killed 12 people and wounded 38 others.

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So far, they say, the episode involved a single shooter not connected to foreign terrorism. Colorado has many military bases, and military authorities were quick to report that the suspect had no prior Army experience.

What authorities know so far is that a 24-year-old man identified as James Holmes entered the Century Aurora 16 theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora during a midnight premier showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," the latest Batman movie.

Witnesses said the shooter, dressed in black, entered by an exit, tossed some kind of gas canister, then began shooting.

"I think we were 15 minutes in, and there was a chase scene where there was gunfire on screen," Quentin Caldwell told CNN. "And right then out of nowhere on the right side of us we hear a very distinct 'pop, pop, pop, pop.' "

Following the rampage, police apprehended the suspect – who did not resist arrest – outside the theater. They retrieved a rifle, a shotgun, and two pistols, and they were searching the suspect’s residence for the presence of explosives.

President Obama, who had spent the night in Florida as part of a campaign trip, was notified of the shooting early Friday morning  by Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan. Mr. Obama issued the following statement:

“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.”

At a previously scheduled campaign event in Florida, President Obama said the shooting "reminds us of all the ways that we are united as one American family."  He asked for a moment of silence Friday and focused his shortened remarks exclusively on the tragedy.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had spent the night at his home in Boston before campaigning in New Hampshire. He issued the following statement:

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