A gunman, identified as 24-year-old James Holmes, allegedly shot and killed 12 people and injured 50 in a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado early this morning. Witnesses report the theater filled with gas, perhaps tear gas, before the shooting began. Benjamin Fernandez was next door to the theater the gunman entered.
“I was not in the actual theater where it happened, but we were right next door,” Fernandez told CBS News. “Police officers were yelling, telling everyone to get out. People started running and that’s when we realized something really bad was happening.”
While fleeing for safety, Fernandez says he saw police trying to evacuate the theater as quickly as possible. When he got outside, Fernandez and his girlfriend realized the gravity of the situation.
“We saw a young girl, maybe like 12 or 13, just lying on the concrete,” Fernandez says. “From what I saw she had two bullet wounds in her leg and she had blood all over her stomach. There were people just saying, ‘My friend just got shot.’ We were all pretty much in shock.”
Many audience members were able to get away without being injured. Eyewitness Isaac Ramos live tweeted his experience. He reports seeing police cars from towns and counties all around Aurora.
Never seen so many cop cars in my life. Its a parade of lights
— Isaac J Ramos (@IsaacJRamos) July 20, 2012
Just twenty miles from Columbine High School, Aurora is now the scene of the worst mass-shooting since Virginia Tech in 2007. Celebrities from around the United States are expressing their anguish for victims and their families and opinions on gun control.
My heart goes out to all the people affected in the Aurora, CO shooting. May God be with that town and their families…
— Eva Longoria (@EvaLongoria) July 20, 2012
My heart goes 2 all the victims families in colorado. No one should have to go thru that. When r we gonna get guns removed in this country?!
— John Leguizamo (@JohnLeguizamo) July 20, 2012
Colorado Shooting Aftermath Caught On Tape! perez.ly/SLlT1n So awful.
— Perez Hilton (@PerezHilton) July 20, 2012
Very sad about what happened in #Aurora … My prayers and condolences are with all the wounded and the families of the deceased.
— Diego Boneta (@DiegoBoneta) July 20, 2012
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio released a statement on the shooting saying “this sick tragedy in Colorado is deeply upsetting and sad.” He added “My wife Jeanette and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives, and pray for the recovery of those who were injured.”
President Obama announced that today was a day of reflection in Fort Myers, Florida. He has since canceled his next public appearance in Florida. He held a moment of silence for the victims and their families just before 11 AM.
For more on the story click on www.nbcnews.com.