When the movie patrons realized the attack was real and not part of the movie, pandemonium erupted and they began to flee. The film continued to play on the screen as bloodied customers took refuge outside. According to witnesses on the scene, some of the bullets also went through the walls of an adjacent theater, injuring patrons.
Soon after receiving a flood of 911 calls, hundreds of police officers, ambulance and emergency crews arrived on the scene.
The suspect was found near a car behind the theater and arrested. He was dressed in black, carrying a knife, rifle and a handgun, and wearing a bulletproof vest.
"He did not resist," police spokesman Frank Fania. "He did not put up a fight."
The shooter's identity has not been released but he is thought to be in his early 20s. A motive for the attack is unknown.
Police also searched the suspect's North Aurora home after he spoke of "possible explosives in his residence," Oates said. Authorities evacuated the building as a precautionary measure.
The police originally announced that 14 people had been killed in the attack, butrevised the death toll around 7:45 a.m. ET, NBC News reported.
At this time, there is no evidence of additional shooters.
President Barack Obama, who is in Palm Beach, Fla., was notified of the shooting by Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan at 5:26 a.m. ET. He released 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."
"We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice."
The theater where the attack took place is just about 25 miles from Columbine High School, where two students shot and killed 13 people in 1999.
29-year-old Luka Rocco Magnotta, the suspected Canadian porn killer, has been arrested in Germany according to reports. There has been a man-hunt for him since last week after Montreal police say he dismembered a Chinese student and posted the video on the internet. The student he is accused of killing was 33-year-old Lin-Jun. He was added to Interpol's list of most wanted as well as Montreal issuing a country-wide arrest. They believe Magnotta flew to France after he committed the crime and had been on the run since then. Story Developing……
New questions are being raised about just how close of a relationship George Zimmerman had with the Sanford Police. Huffingtonpost reports:
Neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman had a relationship with members of the police department in Sanford, Fla., long before he shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin to death in February, newly released information suggests.
During a community forum on Jan. 8, 2011, more than a year before Martin was killed, Zimmerman, then a criminal justice student, told city officials he had ridden along with Sanford police officers on patrol. Zimmerman blasted Sanford police as lazy and criticized outgoing Police Chief Brian Tooley, who was forced from office in a scandal involving the son of an officer caught on tape beating a homeless black man.
“I would just like to state that the law is written in black and white, it can not be enforced by those who are in the thin blue line,” Zimmerman told an audience that included newly elected Mayor Jeff Triplett, according to an audio recording published by the Miami Herald. Zimmerman said he saw firsthand how bad Sanford police could be during his ride-alongs.
“What I saw was disgusting,” Zimmerman said, “The officer showed me his favorite hiding spots for taking naps, explained to me that he doesn’t carry a long gun in his vehicle because, in his words, ‘anything that requires a long gun requires a lot of paperwork, and you’re going to find me as far away from it.’” Zimmerman continued: “He took two lunch breaks and attended a going away party for one of his fellow officers.”
Zimmerman found himself at the center of another Sanford police scandal a year later. Relatives of Martin, the 17-year-old who was killed while visiting his father in a gated Sanford housing development, and a chorus of supporters across the country have accused Sanford police of biased and sloppy police work. Zimmerman initially was freed by police after saying he shot Martin in self defense. A prosecutor specially assigned to the case, working with state investigators, later charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder. He is free on bail awaiting trial.
A police station video taken three days after the shooting, released by the State Attorney’s Office with a trove of other evidence, shows Zimmerman walking unescorted through the police station. That suggests a “cozy” and “comfortable” relationship with the police, said Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Martin’s family.
“This video of Zimmerman just walking through the police department so casually underscores that people in that department have a familiarity with him,” Crump told HuffPost. “It means that he had a relationship with the Sanford police department. And it’s just unusual that all along they would say they didn’t. But he went on several ride-alongs with them and he was comfortable enough to walk unescorted through their department.”
Zimmerman had longed to be a law enforcement officer and lobbied local law enforcement officials for a job. He was a student at nearby Seminole County Community College, where former Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, who stepped down amid the Martin scandal, was a professor and ran the police academy.
According to the Herald report, city records show that in March 2010, Zimmerman’s application to ride along with the police was approved despite a background check revealing a criminal history that included resisting arrest and assault on a police officer. (The charges were later dropped.) Zimmerman wrote on the application that he hoped the ride-along would “solidify my interest in a career in law enforcement.”
"We do not have specific dates Mr. Zimmerman may have ridden or with whom he rode, if in fact he ever did ride" with Sanford police, Capt. Robert O'Connor said in a statement. Interim Police Chief Richard Myers said it would be “inappropriate” to draw conclusions from Zimmerman’s 2010 speech before the city council.
“As a police chief, I embrace the notion that transparency helps build public trust, but in this case, the need to preserve the sanctity of a criminal prosecution, for both the prosecutor and the defense, requires us to eschew making any comments that could taint the process,” Myers said in a statement.