Witnesses to the horrific massacre at a midnight showing of “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises” in Colorado described a chaotic and terrifying scene as movie patrons fled for their lives when a gunman opened fire, killing 15 people.
The gunman, believed to be a 24-year-old man who lived near the Aurora, Colo., theater, was masked and wearing black clothes when he set off some sort of explosive and then opened fire, witnesses told reporters.
Benjamin Fernandez, 30, told the Denver Post he was watching the movie when he heard several explosions. He said that people ran from the theater and there were gunshots as police shouted ‘get down!”
The theater was packed, and there were many children in attendance, according to witnesses. Abenezer Mergia, 18, told Fox News Channel most viewers were between ages 15 and 25, and that the shooting
“It was probably from 15to 25 that was the majority.
“There was blood everywhere. It was crazy.”- Abenezer Mergia, witness to massacre
They were just expecting everyoody to get to their car and just get out. Everybody that was hurt – there was blood everywhere. It was crazy.”
Jaime Marshall told Fox News Channel she was in an adjacent theater when explosions rang out during a shooting scene in the blockbuster film.
“We thought someone was just pranking us in the movie,” she said. Then, a man ran in and told people to get out, she said. “He said, ‘Don’t walk through the lobby, someone’s shooting.’”
She said when the lights came on, she saw bullet holes that had come through from the adjacent theater where the shooting took place. “We saw a girl who had been shot in the leg, and people covered with blood,” she said.
Police told reporters the gunman had two guns and set off an explosion before firing on people at random in Theater 9.
“Witnesses tell us he released some sort of canister,” Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates. “They heard a hissing sound and some gas emerged and the gunman opened fire.”
Salina Jordan, 19, told the paper she was in Theater 8 and saw people hit in her theater. She said one girl was struck in cheek, others in stomach including a girl who looked to be around 9 years old.
Jordan said it sounded like firecrackers until someone ran into Theater 8 yelling “they’re shooting out here!”
Tammi Stevens told the Denver Post her son, 18-year-old Jacob Stevens, was inside Theater 9 when the shooting started. He survived and later told her he saw a man clad in body armor walk into the theater and throw some sort of canister that then emitted some sort of gas.
“You let your kids go to a late night movie…you never think something like this would happen,” Stevens said.