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On Friday, July 20, 2012, news of a mass shooting inside the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during the midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises, shook the US. The gunman killed 12 people and injured 58 when he set off tear gas grenades and shot multiple rounds from an assortment of firearms. A few minutes after the shooting, the police arrested 24 year-old James Eagan Holmes in the theater's parking lot, who was charged with 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder on July 30. The incident stunned the nation and rekindled an old gun control debate.

The nightmare started with Mr Holmes walking into Theater 9 during the midnight premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises," - a Batman sequel, dressed in complete "ballistic gear" including throat protector, gas mask, leggings, and a long black coat. Many at first mistook the incident to be a promotional stunt. He then set off two devices down the aisles emitting smoke. As members of the audience rose in anxiety and confusion, Mr Holmes started to fire. The guns found on him include an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, and a .40 caliber Glock handgun. Apart from these, another Glock .40 caliber handgun had been recovered inside the theater. Mr. Holmes was believed to have purchased four guns at local gun shops and over 6,000 rounds of ammunition over the Internet in the two months preceding the incident. The guns and ammunition had all been bought legally.

Soon after the shooting incident, Mr. Holmes was detained by the police while he was standing by his white Hyundai car in the parking lot. It came to be known that Mr Holmes was a former PhD student at the University of Colorado in Denver, and an honors graduate in neuroscience from the University of California, Riverside. Upon arrest, Mr. Holmes said something to the effect of "I am the Joker". His hair had been dyed orange and his mental health was questioned in the course of the trial. Warner Bros. canceled a red-carpet premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises" and other promotional events in Paris.
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Last Updated on: September 30th, 2021