Witnesses describe horror of Denver shooting at Batman premiere

Orlando Parfitt
Yahoo UK Movies News
20 July 2012

Eyewitness reports from the scene of the horrifying shooting attack at ‘The Dark knight Rises’ in Denver have emerged.

12 people were killed and around 50 injured by a masked gunman at Theatre 16 cinema in Aurora Mall, Denver in Colorado.

Denver radio host William Washington, who was in the cinema at the time of the shooting, said: "Anne Hathaway's character was in a meeting and all of a sudden there were lots of gun shots in the scene. But then they became very realistic, so much so my ears started to hurt.

"Someone then shouted at us not to go into the lobby as the gunman was in there. They just shouted, 'he has a gun!' People were there with bloody faces. We were so confused as to what was happening. You could taste and feel some kind of gas in the air."

A local man who had spoken to a female witness from the theatre told the BBC that she said a “6-foot tall man kicked through the door in a riot helmet. He had a bullet proof vest. He was completely covered in all black and had goggles on.”

The witness explained that “when she realised he had a shotgun she immediately dropped to the floor.”

After crawling to safety, the woman looked back and saw the man “slowly making his way up the stairs” and randomly picking people to fire at.

An eyewitness, Evan, says he saw the gunman throw a cannister then begin to shoot. "Everybody thought it was part of the movie at first - but it became very real when he started shooting."

He added: “People were scrambling left and right. My children got out first. Me and my wife, we were in our row, we got down on our hands and knees. I was still kind of looking for the gunman to see if he was approaching the exits to shoot at other people.”

He said he heard another cinemagoer get shot. “Somebody behind us, maybe a straggler, was hit. We heard him say: "I'm hit’," he said.

Another eyewitness, Pam, told the BBC: "I'm pretty sure wearing [a] mask. He fired a canister into the air - it could have been a smoke bomb or tear gas.

“It shot it right into the air, then I started to hear the bang, bang, bang of a gun. I crawled my way through the row, luckily the exit was close to where I was sitting so I got out pretty fast. I heard more shots as I left."

Witness Hayden Miller, (according to The Associated Press), told KUSA-TV that he was at the scene and heard several shots “like little explosions going on and shortly after that we heard people screaming”.

Hayden said he thought it was part of a louder movie next door.

A report from an apparent eyewitness has also gone up on reddit.

It reads: “Boyfriend and I have evacuated safe and sound. The shooting began during a gunfight scene in the movie, and at first, we thought it was special effects when smoke rose up.

“When shots happened again and people began to run, we thought something was up. A guy ran in and shouted there was a gunman in the building, and the alarms to emergency evacuate started to go off.

“I now know what tear gas feels like. I've never had to 'get down' with a police officer screaming at us.”

Another  witnesses, quoted by The Telegraph, said the man started shooting in tandem with a shooting scene in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, as if he knew the movie.

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