Twelve people were killed and at least 50 others injured in a Denver-area theatre Friday as a gunman stormed a midnight premiere of the latest Batman movie. The gunman reportedly released a gas canister and then began open firing, as moviegoers quickly realized the chaos was not a stunt associated with the film, The Dark Knight Rises.
The suspect has been identified as 24-year-old James Holmes, and authorities have said that they have no reason to believe he's tied to any terrorist groups. Aurora, Colo. authorities are continuing to investigate.
The shooting is the deadliest in Colorado since the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre, when two high school students opened-fire in the town of Littleton, 15 miles from Aurora. They killed 12 classmates and a teacher, wounded 26, and then killed themselves.
President Barack Obama released a statement Friday morning in reaction to the shooting, calling it "horrific and tragic." He also said his administration was "committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded."
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also released a statement, saying he and his wife Ann were praying for the families and loved ones of the victims, and that they "expect the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice."
The Brady Campaign, the nation's largest citizens' lobby to prevent gun violence, released a statement Friday in reaction to the shooting, and calling Americans to demand changes in gun laws:
This tragedy is another grim reminder that guns are the enablers of mass killers and that our nation pays an unacceptable price for our failure to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. We are outraged.
Gun rights advocates have long fought all kinds of such laws as an impingement on Second Amendment rights to bear arms. They argue that gun control laws, such as handgun bans, do not stop crime because criminals ignore such bans, and law-abiding citizens are put at risk without a means of defense.
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