Police say 12 people are now known to have been killed in a shooting rampage at a Batman film premiere in a suburb of the US city of Denver.
They revised the total down from the earlier figure of 14. The authorities said 38 people have been injured and nine are in a critical condition. Hospitals said the injured included a six-year-old child and a three-month-old baby.
Witnesses described how a gunman broke down the door of an emergency exit, and threw tear gas canisters soon after the start of a screening before opening fire, picking out victims at random in the crowded movie theatre.
The shooting took place during a midnight screening of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ in a cinema complex at a shopping centre in the suburb of Aurora.
“This is a horrific event,” Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates told a news conference adding that a man arrested had been in the car park behind the building.
The suspect, who is 24, had an assault rifle, a shotgun and a handgun and was equipped with a bullet-proof vest, helmet and gas-mask. A fourth gun was found in the cinema complex. Police said he did not resist.
FBI agents later entered his apartment looking for explosives after the man told investigators it was booby-trapped. A preliminary search had found no sign of explosives.
White House and studio reaction
President Barack Obama urged Americans to “stand together” with the people of Aurora in the hours and days to come.
“Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time,” Obama said in a statement.
“As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family,” he added.
Colorado has suffered mass killings in the past. In 1999, two students opened fire at Columbine High School in the suburb of Littleton, near Denver, killing 12 students and a teacher.
The studio that made the film – Warner Brothers – said it was “deeply saddened” by what had happened and it was cancelling the Paris premiere.