The premiere of the much awaited final Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises" was overshadowed by a miserable tragedy when one of the audiences started fellow fans in a theatre in Colorado.
For most of Batman fans around the world, it was simply an ordinary day that they anticipated to catch their favorite superhero in the big screen. However, for some Batman followers from Aurora, Colorado, the day that they waited with pins and needles turned out to be their last.
The Dark Knight Rises has rekindled old debates over the effects of violent movies on young children.
Suspect James Holmes did a rapid gunfire inside the theater that left 12 dead and 58 injured. Among the casualties is six-year-old girl Veronica Moser-Sullivan. Veronica's mother was currently in critical condition due to gunshots on the neck and abdomen.
The suspect used a semi-automatic assault rifle. The rifle jammed during the attack, forcing him to switch to another weapon. The official said on Saturday night that the jammed weapon had a high-capacity ammunition magazine. Police said a 100-round drum magazine was recovered at the scene and that such a weapon would be able to fire 50 to 60 rounds a minute.
Holmes was in solitary confinement for his protection at a county detention facility on Saturday. He was set for an initial hearing on Monday.
US President Barack Obama made a personal visit in Colorado to meet victims of the Batman theatre massacre. Christian Bale, the actor who plays the caped crusader in the film, expressed his sorrow at the shooting, and the studio behind the movie said it was withholding box office data out of respect for the victims.
Latest reports said the suspect planned the crime as authorities recovered high powered bombs and ammunitions from Holmes' apartment. His apartment was also full of jars of liquids, explosives and chemicals that formed booby trapped to kill whoever entered it. There were mixtures of improvised explosives that can cause huge explosions once triggered. Apparently, the suspect received several deliveries for the last four months to his home and school. Holmes was able to buy thousands of ammunitions via internet.
The residents of the building were moved out of the area until the officials cleared Holmes apartment and removed all of the hazards. The residents were sent home Saturday afternoon.
The police did not discuss the suspect's reason or motivation for the attack. James Holmes had recently withdrawn from a competitive graduate program in neuroscience at the University of Colorado-Denver.
According to his profile in Monster.com, Holmes listed himself as an "aspiring scientist" and said he was looking for a job as a laboratory technician. He worked as an intern at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, in 2006 and as a counselor to underprivileged children at a summer camp in Los Angeles in 2008.
"The Dark Knight Rises" may have experienced a dent on the box office. However, the incident did not greatly affect the performance of the film in terms of numbers. According to reports, the last Batman film made $160 million on its debut.
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