AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Police are holding a former doctoral student who they say barged into a crowded movie theater near Denver last night, hurled a gas canister and then opened fire.
Twelve people were killed and at least 50 others were hurt in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.
The suspect is identified as 24-year-old James Holmes. A spokeswoman for the University of Colorado-Denver says Holmes had been studying neuroscience in a Ph.D. program but was in the process of withdrawing.
Officials say they haven’t found any links to terrorist groups.
The gunfire broke out near the start of a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises.” Some in the crowd thought it was a stunt at first.
One woman who was in the theater says she felt bullet casings falling on her head, burning her forehead. She says the shooter fired steadily, except when he stopped to reload.
A federal law enforcement official says the shooter had an assault rifle, a shotgun and two pistols.
Authorities are now searching his apartment, a few miles from the theater. They say they found it to be booby-trapped. They’ve evacuated five buildings as they try to determine how to disarm flammable and explosive material.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.