Thursday evening, a man dressed in riot gear and a bullet proof vest entered a screening of the newly released The Dark Knight Rises through an exit door at the Aurora, Colorado Century 16 Movie Theaters, about 30 minutes into the film.
The man, now being identified as James Holmes, released some type of tear or smoke gas into the crowd, and opened fire on the audience, killing 12 and injuring at least 50.
One eyewitness shares:
"You just smelled smoke and you just kept hearing it, you just heard bam bam bam, non-stop. The gunman never had to reload. Shots just kept going, kept going, kept going."
Another audience member recalls:
"I'm with coworkers and we're on the floor praying to God we don't get shot, and the gunshots continue on and on, and when the sound finally stopped, we started to get up and people were just bleeding."
Theatre-goer Lamar Lane states of the horrifying experience:
"The suspect throws tear gas in the air, and as the tear gas appears he started shooting. It was very hard to breathe. I told my brother to take cover. It took awhile. I started seeing flashes and screaming, I just saw blood and people yelling and a quick glimpse of the guy who had a gas mask on. I was pushed out. There was chaos, we started running."
Another witness says:
"We were maybe 20 or 30 minutes into the movie and all you hear, first you smell smoke, everybody thought it was fireworks or something like that, and then you just see people dropping and the gunshots are constant," witness Christ Jones told ABC's Denver affiliate KMGH. "I heard at least 20 to 30 rounds within that minute or two."
One man shares a couple's experience:
"They got up and they started to run through the emergency exit, and that when she turned around, she said all she saw was the guy slowly making his way up the stairs and just firing at people, just picking random people. The gunshots continued to go on and on and then after we didn't hear anything…we finally got up and there was people bleeding, there was people obviously may have been actually dead or anything, and we just ran up out of there, there was chaos everywhere."
According to reports, 10 people died on scene, and dozens were taken to a hospital including a 6 year old child and a 3 month old.
Again, our hearts go out to everyone involved in this devastating and disturbing event.
[Image via AP Images.]
Tags: 12 dead, 50 or more injured, colorado shooting, eyewitness reports, james holmes, shooter, the dark knight rises