|News - News Blog|
|Written by Dani Schwinn|
|Friday, 20 July 2012 00:00|
This "Moon day" is an especially sad story...
A dark tale at "The Dark Night"
Dan Frosch and Kirk Johnson The New York Times- Just after midnight on Friday, fantasy became nightmare, and a place of escape became a trap, when a man strode to the front in a multiplex near Denver and opened fire. At least 12 people were killed and 58 wounded, with witnesses describing a scene of claustrophobia, panic and blood. Minutes later, the police arrested a 24 year old in the theater’s parking lot. “It was just chaos. You started hearing screaming. You looked up and people were falling. It was like a dream,” said Jamie Rohrs, 25, who was there with his fiancée, cradling his 4-month-old son, Ethan, in his arms as the movie began. It was the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the latest Batman sequel, at the Century 16 multiplex in Aurora, about 10 miles from downtown Denver. Mr. Rohrs jumped between the seats for cover, still holding the baby. He stumbled and crawled trying to figure out what to do, clutching his son to his chest as he went. “Do I run out the door? Is he going to shoot the baby? What am I to do?” Mr. Rohrs said, his voice quavering. But he, his fiancée and the baby eventually made it out. Luke O’Dell of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a Colorado group on the other side of the debate over gun control, took a nearly opposite view. “Potentially, if there had been a law-abiding citizen who had been able to carry in the theater, it’s possible the death toll would have been less.” Some survivors thought at first they were witnessing a promotional stunt. The gunman, wearing what Aurora Police Department officials described as nearly head-to-toe “ballistic gear,” including a throat protector and leggings, plus a gas mask and a long black coat, came in through a parking lot exit door near the screen of Theater 9. “He walked in so casually,” said a witness, Jordan Crofter, 19, a Batman fan who had gone with a group of friends and had a seat in the front row. The gunman, still perhaps regarded by some as a performer, then released two devices down the theater aisles emitting what the police said was smoke or some sort of irritant. Witnesses told the police that the suspect said something to the effect of “I am the Joker,” according to a federal law enforcement official, and that his hair had been dyed or he was wearing a wig. Then, as people began to rise from their seats in confusion or anxiety, he began to shoot. The gunman paused at least once, several witnesses said, perhaps to reload, and continued firing. The suspect was detained by the police soon afterward, standing by his white Hyundai. He was identified by the authorities as a former Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado in Denver, and an honors graduate in neuroscience from the University of California, Riverside. He had in the car an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, and a .40 caliber Glock handgun, said Chief Dan Oates of the Aurora police, and all three were believed to have been used inside the theater. Another Glock .40 caliber handgun was recovered inside the theater. Chief Oates said that “many, many” rounds were fired, but that there was no count so far.