Screenings of Warner Brother's Batman: The Dark Knight Rises continue at theaters around the country while investigators, law enforcement, and the community of Aurora, Colorado attempt to piece together details and motive behind the mass shooting inside a movie theater this morning.
Aurora police chief Dan Oates was quoted in a press conference earlier today by our sister paper, Westword, as describing Holmes as wearing "a ballistic helmet, a tactical ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, a throat protector and a groin protector and a gas mask and black tactical gloves" when he was arrested, and New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly told ABC that Holmes had dyed his hair to resemble the character of the Joker, as played in The Dark Knight by the late Heath Ledger.
Twelve people were killed and more than 30 seriously injured when Holmes allegedly open fire on the movie theater crowd. In response, the film's production company Warner Brothers has cancelled Friday's premiere of The Dark Night Rises in Paris and has pulled the cast and director Christopher Nolan from media interviews.
The film will continue to play all day and through the weekend at Harkins and AMC theatres throughout Phoenix, but both companies noted that security will be heightened in all of their theaters.
AMC released this statement this morning:
We are terribly saddened by the random act of violence in Aurora and our thoughts are with the victims and their families. For the safety and security of our guests and associates, we are actively working with local law enforcement in communities throughout the nation and under the circumstances we are reaching out to all of our theatres to review our safety and security procedures. Being a safe place in the community for all our guests is a top priority at AMC and we take that responsibility very seriously.
Harkins sent us a similar statement this afternoon:
The entire Harkins Theatres organization is grieving with the community of Aurora, Colorado today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and the victims of this horrific random act. We recognize that in our theatres we entertain and employ our friends, neighbors and families. Their safety is always of paramount concern to us. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our security procedures as necessary.
The impact the shooting will have on theater turnout is uncertain, and given the connection between the movie's character and the suspect, the movie's reputation and legacy is also to be determined.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.