Aurora, Colorado, Century Movie Theater 'Dark Knight Rises' shooting: Witnesses describe scene

AURORA, Colo. -- When a gunman opened fire inside a movie theater near the Aurora Mall on Friday morning, many watching "The Dark Knight Rises" thought it was part of the movie.

"The shooting happened during a battle scene on screen, so it took some time to realize that is wasn't part of the special effects," one witness told 7NEWS.

Aurora police said 10 people died in the theater, 2 died at local hospitals. The Police Department previously released a preliminary number of 14 dead, but only 12 can be confirmed at this time. Approximately 50 total persons were shot, including the deceased.

A witness told 7NEWS the gunman walked in toward the front of the theater and fired into the back of the theater.

"Everybody thought it was fireworks," said Chris Jones, one of the people in theater 9 where the shooting happened.

Jones said he didn't see the gunman, he only saw a spark in the corner of the theater happened.

Brittany said she saw some sort of canister going off in the air.

"I saw the smoke trail behind them and I wasn't sure what was going on," Brittany told 7NEWS. She said she heard the gunshots after that.

Kevin said he saw flashes of light coming from a silhouetted person in a corner shooting.

"He was shooting really fast, really consistently," said Kevin.

"There were lots of kids, families there," Brittany said. "All those people were just innocent people watching a movie."

Bullets Went Through Wall Into Second Theater

Zackary Golditch was shot in the neck in the theater next door.

"I actually thought it was fireworks, like a black cat," said Golditch. "My thought was to get out of the theater. I didn't want to get hit with another one."

Golditch said he walked down the street and some nearby construction workers helped him out. When police officers arrived, one of them took Golditch to the hospital. He was treated and released.

Laurie was also in the theater next door when the shooting started.

"There was a shooting scene in the movie, at the same time, there was a gunshot, a real one," Laurie told 7NEWS.

Laurie said when her friend turned toward her, part of a bullet had hit her friend in the mouth.

Laurie and she and her friend ran out the exit doors and saw people running and screaming. She said her friend is OK.

Movie Showing In Third Theater

Shayla Roeder was unable to get a ticket for the main showing in theater 9 said she ended up in a theater across the hall.

"The alarms go on and we thought it was joke," Roeder said.

She said when she a police officer in the emergency exit with a gun jumping up and down, she knew it was a real emergency.

Roeder told 7NEWS as she left the theater she saw a teenage girl with multiple gunshot wounds.

Suspect Arrested

Police arrested a suspect in the parking lot of the theater. NBC News is reporting that the suspect is 24-year-old James Holmes.

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