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Fourteen Dead, 50 Hurt In Batman Movie Shooting

Aired July 20, 2012 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START.

We have breaking news to report right now. A shooting at a theater overnight at the showing of "The Dark Knight Rises". That movie happened in Aurora, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. Dozens of police and firefighters are on the scene right now.

Our affiliate KMGH is following the story, everyone following the story now. We have reports of multiple deaths. We are working to confirm that. We know it was a multiple shooting at this late-night showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." Aurora, Colorado, is about nine miles east of Denver.

Local hospitals reporting that there are patients on the scene. They have been told to prepare for as many as 20.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: We were listening in just now as they were talking to some local folks there who witnessed this horrific scene inside. They said they were hearing some noises, but "The Dark Knight" is one of those movies where there is a lot of shooting, so they weren't sure if it was the movie. There were reports of smoke, perhaps an explosion and one witness was just telling us that he did see some people hunched over apparently who had been shot. We are trying to get as many details on this story as possible for you.

We have Jackie Montgomery, who is a spokesperson, University of Colorado Hospitals. She is joining us on the line.

Are you there, Jackie?


SAMBOLIN: What can you tell us about the injuries?

MONTGOMERY: At this point, the University of Colorado hospital has received about 20 patients with various levels of injuries from minor to severe, and all gunshot wounds.

SAMBOLIN: I'm sorry. I'm having little difficulty hearing you. What is the severity of their injuries?

MONTGOMERY: It ranges from minor to severe. The majority are all gunshot wounds.

SAMBOLIN: How severe are some of these gunshot wounds. Has anybody been dead on arrival?

MONTGOMERY: Not that I have information to release on that to be honest. But we're still trying to assess all the folks that have been coming in. They are arriving by ambulance, by police and walking in on their own.

SAMBOLIN: Have you heard anything about the volume of people that have been injured? We have a lot of reporting going on here. We're uncertain as to the number of people who have been injured.

MONTGOMERY: You know what? I'm sorry, there's other lines beeping in here, I can barely hear you.

SAMBOLIN: I was asking about the volume of injuries. We're hearing reports of a lot of people being injured. We're trying to figure out the number. So have you heard anything about the number of people being injured?

MONTGOMERY: I cannot hear any questions coming through. I don't know if we lost each other. Do you want to state that again?

SAMBOLIN: Can you hear me or no?

All right. We're going to try to reestablish this connection, if we can, and check back in with Jackie Montgomery, spokesperson, University of Colorado Hospitals.

What she did tell us in the conversation we were able to have, she received about 20 patients, and they range from minor injuries to critical injuries. I asked her if anybody had been dead on arrival because we do understand that some people have died, though we don't have a number on that. She's uncertain and there are some HIPAA laws so she has to protect peoples privacy.

I believe we have Jackie.

Jackie, are you back there again?

MONTGOMERY: You know what? I'm really sorry. I can't make out any question you're asking right now. Let's try to touch base in a little bit.

SAMBOLIN: OK. That's Jackie Montgomery, spokesperson of the Colorado Hospital.

BERMAN: She did say there were 20 patients at this hospital right now. The injuries ranging from minor to severe. That's just one hospital right now. There are other hospitals involved, we are told, receiving patients at this moment.

Just to bring you up to speed here: multiple shooting in Aurora, Colorado at the Century 16 movie theater, nine miles east of Denver, during a late-night showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." There are reports of multiple deaths. We are working to confirm that right now.

Right now, what we can give you some sound from a witness at the scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four, maybe five people that were limping, wounded, slightly bloody. The most that I saw was a girl who was pretty much covered in blood, and she didn't have any wounds on her. So, it kind of -- it made me think the worst.

REPORTER: You've got a lot of horrible images in your mind right now. I know you said one of the most powerful for you, you saw a little girl?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I don't know whose little girl that was. My heart goes out to them. I mean, I honestly hope they're OK. I hope that, you know, the little girl is OK and she recovers and everything.

But a cop came walking through the front door before everyone was cleared up and before everything was under control, a cop came walking through the door holding a little girl in his arms. She wasn't moving. I had heard another witness who is in my theater, someone else I was talking to before the movie, we were waiting in line for it, she was on the phone and the really messed up part for me is she told whoever she was talking to that she saw bullet holes in the little girl's back.

And, I mean, I honestly can't think of any kind of person who would intentionally hurt a little girl. So, I mean, unfortunately it makes me think she got just caught in the crossfire.

REPORTER: How crowd was the theater? This was an anticipated film?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We had two lines open. One on one side of the theater, the other on the other side. It's crazy think, but I could be at theater nine, because you know, as soon as we heard the first shots, my sister grabbed my arm and wanted to leave as quick as possible. Yes, it was terrifying.


SAMBOLIN: You are just listening to some horrific details of an eyewitness in that theater when the shootings happened. He said that, you know, a cop came into the theater and he was carrying out a little girl that he thought perhaps was lifeless. He mentioned maybe bullet holes in the little girl's back. He said the little girl was not moving in the cop's arms.

Earlier we heard from another eyewitness who said there was smoke, maybe an explosion. That there was confusion in the theater because "Dark Knight" is a loud movie and there's a lot of explosions and perhaps gun-fighting. They were uncertain whether it was happening in the movie or in front of them.

BERMAN: To give you a sense of how unexpected the environment going into this, we have this really fascinating Twitter feed to show you from somebody named Zack Eastman, who was apparently in the theater at the time. Zack says he went to the theater dressed as Bruce Wayne. He was talking about the movie.

His next tweet, I just evacuated our theater in Aurora. There was a shooting. I am safe. He then says apparently two people were shot. There was a shooting there. He said he saw people carried to an ambulance and that it was very, very, very scary.

He said he only heard rumors right now about the people killed. There's a lot of -- a lot of stories are going on now. He said he's a bit shaken up, not going to lie, that was extremely terrifying. It must have been terrifying.

You're at this theater in the middle of the night going to see what may be the biggest movie of the summer dressed as Bruce Wayne, even. It's a very festive occasion, shots rang out. You're not sure what's going on, the movie, there are explosions, who knows?

Multiple people shot, reports of multiple deaths. We're working to confirm that now.

SAMBOLIN: And we're awaiting a press conference that should be happening in about five minutes with the police chief in the area. Of course, we're going to bring that to you the minute they start that press conference.

I just want to recap, because the injuries here, we're just trying to figure out how great are they. We talked to Jackie Montgomery, who is a spokesperson at the University of Colorado Hospitals. She said 20 patients arrived at her hospital. The injuries were from minor to critical.

But she was not very specific about those critical injuries other than to say they are gunshot wounds.

We also reported earlier that at Swedish Medical Center they were alerted to a mass casualty incident, that's what they called it, at 1:15 in the morning, three patients in critical condition were transported to their hospital. But she was told, that hospital was told, Nicole Williams was told to prepare for up to 20 more patients.

So, a lot of hospital response here, a lot of ambulances on the scene. The number of deaths versus the number of injuries we are still uncertain about that. We're trying to get those details as soon as they become available.

A lot of confusion inside that movie theater.

BERMAN: You can see the pictures outside the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora. We were told more than 250 police officers from across the Denver metro area have been called to the scene. They are on the scene at this very moment.

"The Denver Post" getting some scant details. We're all looking into this right now. They're saying between 12 and 15 shots were fired.

We have not confirmed this yet. We are looking into this now. Different accounts of this harrowing moment coming in.

SAMBOLIN: We have a Google Map for you so you can se precisely where this is. It is nine miles from Denver, about a 20-minute drive. Last night's showing of "The Dark Knight" multiple shooting that happened there.

You have some more details, was it from the police department, John, that you were sharing?

BERMAN: Two hundred fifty police now on the scene there. You can se the flashing lights from across the metro area. We've been looking at these pictures for about 20 minutes now. It looks fairly calm on the scene now. Sometimes pictures can be deceiving.

We have been told people from the theater have been evacuated to a local high school where they are being questioned by police to try to piece together what is going on there now.

SAMBOLIN: And actually, one of the eyewitnesses said that we were just listening to a little while said that the scene is calm now. That it was chaotic, as soon as the police arrived, they were able to reestablish order. He was the one who was talking about the little girl in the police officer's arms, which, you know, may become the story here, right?

He said that looked like she had some gunshot wounds to her back. He said that she appeared lifeless in the officer's arms. He questioned who would do something like this. You know, we don't know the age of that little girl, more details on her or her condition.

But it was a chaotic scene in there. We had another eyewitness said there was a lot of noise, or whether something was happening inside the movie theater.

A lot of people talked about smoke, right? There was some smoke at that location as well. We heard reports of explosions. We have yet to confirm exactly what happened on the scene except that, you know, there has been a mass shooting. There are casualties. There are a lot of people in hospitals.

BERMAN: Zoraida, I can tell you right now that we can report now that 10 people are dead on the scene. This from two of our affiliates there, KUSA and KMGH. They say police on the scene reporting 10 people -- 10 people have been killed in this horrific shooting at the movie theater overnight in Aurora, Colorado. At least 20 people injured.

Multiple deaths, ten people dead. A late-night showing of "The Dark Knight Rises", Aurora, Colorado, nine miles east of Denver. We can confirm based on two affiliates, 10 people killed overnight.

SAMBOLIN: Also, Jackie Montgomery, a spokesperson at the University of Colorado Hospital, she mentioned those 20 patients that arrived at her hospital and that they were minor to critical injuries. So, you know, hopefully, those are critical will survive. You know, she said that they were all gunshot wounds. So, we'll wait and see what happens there.

And then at the other hospital, they had also received two people in critical condition. We're expecting 20 people to arrive to their hospital. We have not confirmed yet how many have arrived at that hospital. We are checking into that as well.

But this -- you know, not what you expect to happen when you are waiting in line to go to a blockbuster movie, what's expected to be the blockbuster of the summer. And then this unfolds. The "why" we don't know, trying to figure that out. What happened inside this movie theater that, you know, caused this kind of commotion and chaos, and just the level of casualties here.

BERMAN: We have more sound from a witness right now. Let's take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were watching a scene in the movie, it was a shootout scene, guns were firing and loud bangs from right of the theater. Smoke took over the entire theater and everything and it was thick. No one could see anything.

Me and my sister were sitting there wondering what was going on.


BERMAN: We have on the line now with us right now, Nicole Williams (ph) from the Swedish Medical Center.

Nicole, can you hear me?


BERMAN: Tell me the situation at your hospital. How many victims do you have at this moment?

WILLIAMS: Sure. We originally received three patients, both inbound in critical condition when this incident occurred. We received an 18-year-old male, a 29-year-old male and a 20-year-old female. We have been able to treat and release the 18-year-old male. The other two patients are listed in critical condition at this time.

BERMAN: Critical. Improving do we think?

WILLIAMS: At this point, we don't know. Both have gone to O.R. So, we're not sure at this time, you know, what their condition is, or the extent of their injuries.

BERMAN: Have you been told to prepare for more shooting victims or do you think the three you have on hand now that's the extent of it?

WILLIAMS: At this point we're not expecting to receive more patients directly from the scene from ambulance. We were told to expect up to 20 patients inbound, but we have been able to staff down slightly. We are hearing that some of the area hospitals are receiving walk-ins, of patients driving themselves to area hospitals, so we are ready to accommodate any patients that may show up that way.

But we have been told by Aurora EMS that we will not receive more patients via ambulance.

BERMAN: All right. Nicole Williams at Swedish Medical Center, where they received three of the shooting victims, three people injured, one 18-year-old released, two other patients at this point in critical condition. Nicole, thank you very much. Maybe we can check in back with you a little bit later.

SAMBOLIN: Good luck.

So, what we can confirm now, is that 10 people are dead. They are confirmed dead. And that there are, you know m that have gone to area hospitals. As you just heard, a lot of people walking themselves into hospitals. Not sure what the extent of their injuries, it's more the trauma of what they have experienced this evening.

There is a press conference that we are expecting here shortly at any moment. The police chief is going to address the crowds. And, of course, the minute that happens we will bring that to you.

So let's set the scene here for you again exactly where we are. This is nine miles from Denver. It's the Century 16 movie theater. It's about a 20-minute drive from Denver. It was the premiere, that opening of "Dark Knight." A lot of people anticipating this to be a blockbuster for the summer.

BERMAN: Must have been a packed theater.

SAMBOLIN: Absolutely. A lot of eyewitness reports of what was going on in that theater. Jun one gentleman said they were in the middle of a scene where there was a lot of gunfighting so they were uncertain what was happening. Was the gunfire part of the scene or something that happened inside the movie theater? He mentioned smoke, an explosion, that there a lot of noises.

And then probably the most difficult thing to hear from him, he said there was a police presence t happened fairly quickly. And that he saw a police officer carrying a little girl in his arms and there were bullet wounds to her back, that her body was lifeless. We don't know the age of the little girl. You know, he mentioned -- he said who would do something this horrific?

BERMAN: And you can see a huge police presence on the scene. "The Denver Post" reporting that 250 police race together scene. There it's a crime scene. Obviously a crime scene. No details on who may have carried out this shooting.

"The Denver Post" already reporting it was sometime after 1:00 a.m. local, so that would be 3:00 a.m. Eastern a little more than two hours ago when this all happened, that's when police received reports of gunshots at this movie theater, the century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, nine miles east of Denver. We can confirm at this point 10 people -- 10 people have been killed.

That's what police are telling us to our local affiliates there. Again, you know, it's eerily calm now. But two hours ago it must have been mayhem.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. And a little while ago we spoke to Jackie Montgomery, who is spokesperson for the University of Colorado Hospitals, she mentioned they received 20 patients, some with minor injuries, some of them critically injured.

So, we're trying to figure out how many injuries there are out there at local hospitals.

BERMAN: Let's take you right to the scene right now. We will listen in to our affiliate, KUSA and get some of their coverage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The person was well-protected and, you know, pretty heavily geared up for an event like this. There is still a heavy police presence down here. They will be screening this area, looking to make sure there's not anybody else involved.

The witnesses we've been talking to believe there was only one person involved. We'll hope that the police bear that out when they talk about this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, the witnesses -- earlier Nicole (INAUDIBLE) was mentioning that there are buses to take them away. The parking lot is probably still cordoned off. They can't go anywhere just yet, I would assume.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, some of the folks we talked to who were not in theater nine were already allowed to walk out and come over here. I imagine they will want to talk -- theater nine was the active shooting scene. That's where they're going to want to talk to everyone in there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brandon, we will take a break with you right now because the police department in Aurora is about to hold a press conference. Is it getting underway now?

Again, they're going to be talking about what has happened.

BERMAN: We want to take you to the scene right now of a police news conference that we believe is getting started right now in Aurora. Not quite yet. Sorry, we're going to wait on that news conference. Hopefully that will be starting soon.

We would love to get more details about this shooting. We just heard from affiliate KUSA. It happened in theater number nine. That was the theater of this late-night showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."

The most anticipated film of the summer. Massive lines overnight and just to repeat again, we can confirm, 10 people have been killed. That's according to police on the scene, what they are telling local affiliates there, 10 people killed, at least 20 injured. We talked to two hospitals, Zoraida, one got 20 patients, another got three patients. And more than 20 people --

SAMBOLIN: One of those patients was treated and released. So there is a bit of good news to report what we were just listening to as well that is new is that the eyewitnesses are saying they believe only one person was involved in the shooting here. So we're trying to confirm that.

The police chief is going to address the media here shortly. We're going to bring that to you live, to see how many more details we can get here. The eyewitnesses reporting lots of noises inside. One man mentioned smoke, perhaps an explosion. But again, this movie is an explosive movie.

And so, whether that was happening as part of the movie or inside the theater, we're uncertain now. Some people were saying it's just too fresh of a scene to talk about. And we do know there were walk-ins at the local hospitals. Not sure of the extent of their injuries.

We have 20 patients treated at University of Colorado Hospital. They are there now, minor to critical condition. The extent of their injuries we don't know. That was Jackie Montgomery, the spokesperson there who shared that information with us.

And at Swedish Medical Center there were three injuries that arrived there. Two of them are in the O.R. right now. One of them was treated and released.

All young people by the way at that hospital.

BERMAN: It would be for a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." All young people on Twitter. In this Twitter world, we are getting firsthand accounts of people who say they were in that theater during that shooting.

Let me show this tweets from someone named Caitlin, you can see it there, "shots fired in the theater." Really chilling to see those words. The presence to write that. You can see her say "Oh, God, I don't know what to do. Everybody please pray for my friend Alex."

Our heart goes out to Caitlin. This must have been a horrific thing to be through. Later on she gives us details. She says they're putting us on a bus and taking to us a nearby high school now. Again, these are accounts on Twitter from someone named Caitlin who says she was in the theater at the time. She says thank you for your prayers. Her friend Alex, she says, is still missing.

SAMBOLIN: Reading from the "Denver Post." They have a report out. One eyewitness says he saw a lot of people falling including one young girl.

And then Salina Jordan, 19 years old, who was in theater eight, saw people hit in her theater. She said one girl was struck in the cheek, others in the stomach, including a girl who looked to be around 9 years old.

Somebody else said it sounded like firecrackers until somebody ran into theater number eight, yelling they're shooting out there.

And what was the theater number?

BERMAN: Theater number nine --

SAMBOLIN: Right next door probably to that theater, that there were gunshot wounds in her theater. So, maybe they went right through the wall. We're trying to get some details for you.

We can tell you that two people have died here and there are multiple injuries. We talked to two local area hospitals who have received folks that are in critical condition. And some that have actually been released, treated and released.

BERMAN: You are look at live pictures now of what is a crime scene. We have sound we want to play you from a witness who does speak about who he thinks may be the suspect.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he was in -- she said a riot helmet. She said he had a bullet-proof vest on. She said that he was completely covered in all black with goggles. She said that after that point, when she saw that he was holding a shotgun, they -- her and her boyfriend dropped to the floor and just kind of started to crawl to see if they could get away.

They got up and they started to run through the emergency exit. She said when she turned around, all she saw was the guy slowly making his way up the stairs and just firing.


BERMAN: You can hear him describing what he's heard about this account in the theater, the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, nine miles east of Denver. We are told 10 people -- 10 people have been killed.

I want to go to our affiliate KUSA out of Denver. They are carrying a police press conference. Police Chief Dan Oates is speaking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- agent in charge of the FBI for Colorado and Wyoming. Again, we are working this jointly with Aurora and we have many other local and state agencies participating.

Our sincere condolences to the families and victims of the family members who were harmed. We have significant amount of investigators that have responded and are working shoulder-to-shoulder with Aurora Police Department at this time. I have no additional information on wounded victims. The chief covered that.

And what we're doing is we're asking for the assistance, obviously, of the public at this time. We need to talk to any potential witnesses.

Then, again, media, we're asking for discipline as well. If you can -- if you come across people that have not been interviewed, we need to know about that. No further statements at this time.

I will turn it over to Chief Oates.

POLICE CHIEF DAN OATES, AURORA POLICE (via telephone): Exactly right. We are still getting witness information coming in to us. Obviously anyone who has seen anything, we want their assistance and to notify us.

All right. I will take a handful of questions. In terms of a more thorough brief, we're shooting for 11:00 a.m. this morning. I don't know where we'll do that, probably in our Aurora facility. So, we'll give a more thorough update around 11:00 a.m. this morning. We will not do anything between now and then.


OATES: The only thing I will tell you is he made a statement to us about explosives in his residence and we are dealing with that potential threat right now. Beyond that, I have nothing more to say about what he said to us.


OATES: We have not been able to confirm that. We have no evidence to support that right now. But we are obviously very concerned about that, they're working that angle right now. As of right now, we have no evidence of a second gunman.

REPORTER: Witnesses were saying the bomb seemed like a smoke bomb. Was there some type of explosive?

OATES: There was the release of some sort of smoke, OK? That's all we know right now.


OATES: We evacuated the apartment building. It's in north Aurora.


OATES: We have a suspect in custody, yes.

REPORTER: Are there other people you need to find?

OATES: I just mentioned that question. As of right now we don't have any evidence of a second gunman, but we are concerned about that and doing everything we can to find out if that might possibly be true. As of right now we have no evidence.

Any more questions?


OATES: We'll figure that out. We have mobilized our entire victim services unit and all the detectives we can. We have wonderful support from other agencies and investigators. As we sort through this, this evening, one of the highest priorities is dealing with the families of the victims.

REPORTER: Can you tell us about the ages of the victims? (INAUDIBLE) witnesses said they had heard gunfire. Was there anything that they could have known beforehand and shown up sooner?

OATES: I can't answer that question. I know that we were here immediately and thankfully apprehended a suspect.


OATES: The witnesses who were not injured that we know of are at Gateway High School. And as I said, there are approximately 50 who were injured. They were at the area hospitals I've named. I'm sure those hospitals are dealing with family response right now.


OATES: Well, most of us have never experienced anything like this. We are performing extraordinarily well. Very, very proud of us.


OATES: As of right now, 10 dead in the theater. And four at area hospitals. OK. Thank you very much, folks.

Eleven a.m. this morning.


BERMAN: That was Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates who did fill in this horrific shooting overnight in Aurora. He now says 14 people killed -- 14 people killed, 50 wounded in this shooting at the showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado.

We also, Zoraida, have news about a possible suspect.

SAMBOLIN: They are saying they have a suspect in custody. He was pressed there about whether or not there was a second person that they're looking for. He said not at this moment. There is no evidence of a second gunman.

But they want to talk to the witnesses. They're trying -- they said -- what they're asking the public for is help. If you know somebody was there and we have not talked to them, we need to talk to them so we can piece this together.

And of those 14 dead, 10 of them were in the theater, four of them at local hospitals. We were worried about those transported to the hospital that were in critical condition, were they going to make it. And so, four of them have. So, the total is 14 dead.

BERMAN: Fifty -- 50 people injured. This must have been a chaotic scene. So, more details now, the police chief, Dan Oates, from Aurora, Colorado, says he believes there was some sort of smoke device used at the beginning of the shooting.

So, clearly this was something, you know, well-planned. Whoever carried this out knew what he was doing when he went in there with some sort of smoke device, opening fire in the showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" killing 10 people immediately on the scene. Another four people dying in area hospitals. And again, 50 people wounded.

SAMBOLIN: Well, there were reports he was wearing a bullet- proof vest also, protecting himself. So, yes, you know, going in there on a mission to do this. And a lot of people have reported earlier that they thought there was some smoke inside. And, you know, the noise is what they kept on talking about. That there was smoke, there was an explosion, there was noise.

But all those things typically happen during this type of a film, and so, they were little confused as to what was happening. You know, this 50 wounded makes sense now, because we've talked to two local hospitals, right? And we talked to Jackie Montgomery (ph), the spokesperson for the University of Colorado Hospitals, and this is a little bit earlier.

And she told us that 20 patients had been transported there from minor to critical injuries. And then, there was another hospital spokesperson that we talked to, I think, it was Swedish --

BERMAN: Swedish Medical.

SAMBOLIN: Swedish Medical. And she said also that she was expecting, perhaps, another 20 to arrive. Uncertain is to that number. Some people were actually walking in. Three people, she mentioned, all young people. Two of them were in critical condition. One of them had been treated and released.

BERMAN: And the people who are OK, who are not at the hospital, these people have been evacuated from the theater have been taken to a local high school where police are trying to question as many of them as they can to find out exactly what did go on inside that theater. Again, They got the first reports.

Police on the scene there got the reports. A little bit after 1:00 a.m. local time, so that's 3:00 a.m. eastern, exactly now, two and a half hours ago of this shooting inside the showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado right now. Again, the scant details we have, there is a suspect in custody.

We have no more details about this suspect right now. The police say no evidence of a second gunman. There had been earlier reports of that. And again, this chilling report that there was some sort of smoke device used. That's what the police chief says.

SAMBOLIN: We want to check in again on some of the injuries. We have Tracy Weise, Medical Center of Aurora spokesperson on the phone now. Tracy, can you tell us what's happening at your hospital? How many people you have received?

VOICE OF TRACY WEISE, MEDICAL CENTER OF AURORA SPOKESPERSON: Yes. We've received about a dozen that came in to the E.R. We're currently in the E.R./O.R. We had several more walk-in patients. And their injuries are ranging again from minor to critical as well. And most of those are gunshot victims.

SAMBOLIN: And, of the ones who are critical, how many are those?

WEISE: I couldn't confirm that number at this time.

SAMBOLIN: But you have some with gunshot injuries that are in the O.R. right now, you said?


SAMBOLIN: And how many people do you think are walking into the hospital?

WEISE: You know, it's hard to tell at this point. We're about to get a status update on that, but we have had several.

SAMBOLIN: And what kind of injuries do they have?

WEISE: You know, again, they're minor. Just a variety of different injuries coming in.

SAMBOLIN: And what about the ages of the victims, the folks that are walking in, because we've seen a lot of different reports. Some people are saying that, perhaps, you know, some of these children were as young as nine years old. Are you seeing anything like that?

WEISE: You know, at this time, I couldn't confirm what the ages of the patients are. I don't have that information right now.

SAMBOLIN: OK. If you could just recap again how many you have seen at your hospital?

WEISE: We've seen at least a dozen at the hospital.

SAMBOLIN: At least a dozen. All right. Tracy Weise, Medical Center of Aurora spokesperson, thank you for joining us. We appreciate it and good luck to you.

BERMAN: You know, Zoraida, one thing I found interesting in that is, of these 50, we now know wounded, we don't know that they are all gunshot victims. We know -- talked to people at hospitals who told us there were a number of gunshot victims, but imagine the chaos that must have been in that movie theater when this gunman opened fire. People rushing to the doors. It is possible people got injured in an attempt to escape, to get out. SAMBOLIN: You're right. You're absolutely right. It must have been a very chaotic scene. We have another witness. Let's listen. It's KUSA, our affiliate, who talked to this witness.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard anywhere from like 10 to 20 shots and like little explosions going on. And shortly after that, we heard people screaming. And then, they came on the P.A. system and pulled the fire alarm and said everybody needed to get out. And as soon as we got out, we had people running around, screaming.


SAMBOLIN: So, we just heard something new there, right? They said that they heard about 10 to 20 shots, explosions, which we've heard often now, people screaming, very chaotic, and they pulled the fire alarm and told everybody to get out. So, those were the moments when all of this chaos was happening.

So, you're right, John. It's quite possible that some of these injuries may have been because of the stampede. A lot of people were really anticipating this movie. And, we would imagine that it was a packed crowd. We have yet to know the actual number of people that were in this theater. But, it was a highly anticipated movie.

BERMAN: And again, the police chief reporting in Colorado, in Aurora, Colorado that some sort of smoke device was used. The shooter opening fire there with a smoke device. Again, the police chief says no evidence of a second gunman. The scene so chaotic, this often happen in the shootings like this.

People don't know exactly what's going on. They don't know exactly how many people behind it, but right now, the police say they have one man in custody. No reason to believe anyone else was involved.

SAMBOLIN: But here's the bad news, 14 people are dead. Ten people died at the theater, we understand, four of them as they were taken to the hospital or at the hospital. But there is a huge number of wounded. 50 people wounded. And we have talked to three different hospitals now, and they say that those injuries range from minor to critical.

A lot of these victims in the O.R. right now. So, we're still waiting to hear the results there. And, you know, hopefully, they'll make it and move out of that critical condition.

BERMAN: You're looking at a live shot right now of the scene outside that theater, the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. We're told it was theater number nine, a late-night showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." The man opened fire. One gunman, we believe, according to police, opened fire, used some kind of smoke device.

Ten people killed in the theater, four people in area hospitals. I believe on the phone we have with us Frank Fania who is with the Aurora Police Department. Mr. Fania, thank you for being with us right now. We listened to police chief, Dan Oates (ph), news conference.

Any more details you can give us about the suspect? We understand you have a suspect in custody. Where was he taken?

VOICE OF FRANK FANIA, PIO FOR AURORA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Some of the first officers that arrived on scene located the suspect near a car at the rear of the theater. He was taken into custody at the back entrance of the theater.

BERMAN: Any -- what was he wearing? We've heard body armor. You know, ten people were shot on the scene. Any reports of the gun he may have used? How about other explosive devices? We understand some kind of smoke device was used.

FANIA: It appears that there was some sort of smoke or gas. We're hearing reports of an explosion. We don't know if that was part of the smoke and gas or a separate device. I have heard that he was wearing a vest as well as we did recover at least one rifle, a handgun, and I believe there was another gun of some sort inside the theater that was left.

BERMAN: A knife, a handgun, and another gun inside the theater. And again, you said you heard reports of a vest. I assume, you mean a bullet-proof vest?

FANIA: Correct.

BERMAN: So, this guy was armed for battle. This guy went in there armed for some kind of horrific event and apparently was able to carry it out.

FANIA: I think that's safe to say right now. Yes.

BERMAN: And he's in your custody right now?

FANIA: We do have one in custody. Yes.

SAMBOLIN: I just have a quick question. I know it's very early in the investigation here, but have you talked to any possible motive here for this?

FANIA: We have no idea right now. I don't even think we actually started talking to him. I don't know if he's talking. So, we have no information on a possible motive other than it was the opening of the latest "Batman" movie, and it was a crowded theater.

BERMAN: You found him at the rear of the theater. We're not there, obviously. Can you explain to me what that means? Was he trying to get out, trying to escape, trying to evade police?

FANIA: He was outside. He was in the parking lot. His car was parked behind the theater. Now, I don't know if he went out the front door, ran to the back or if he went out a fire exit or another exit of some sort. But he was in the rear parking lot, which really isn't a public parking lot for the theater. At his car, and some of the first officers on the scene saw him and took him into custody there.

SAMBOLIN: I know you have a lot of witnesses that you're talking to and the scene is incredibly chaotic, but did anybody notice him before? Did anybody alert anyone?

FANIA: Not that I know of. Best information we're getting now is that he appeared. And by that, I don't know if he appeared from behind the screen or appeared from a door which would be at the front of the actual movie screen, but there is a back door or a fire exit. The best information we're getting right now is that he appeared at the front of the screen.

BERMAN: And can you give us a sense of the timing here? When did you get first reports of the shooting? How long before police took this man into custody?

FANIA: First calls that I know of came in at 12:39 a.m. I don't know exactly what time the first officers arrived. But I know we have shift change at 1:00 a.m. We have numerous different units that are on from 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., and literally, this theater is two or three blocks away from our main headquarter police department.

So, the response was immediate. I can't give you -- I would say within a minute or two of that first call.

SAMBOLIN: And you know, a lot of witnesses are saying that the response was just incredible and immediate, and it gave them a great deal of comfort. Is there anything else that you can tell us about the suspect? His age? Ethnicity? Anything?

FANIA: He is an adult male. I don't have an ethnicity or race right now. I know he's an adult male, younger adult. That's all I know right now about him.

SAMBOLIN: When you say younger, do you mean a teenager, perhaps?

FANIA: I think he's in his early 20s, but I don't have an exact birthday or age.

SAMBOLIN: If we can talk a little bit about the victims here, because there have been some reports that there was a police officer that was carrying out a little girl with, perhaps, gunshot wounds in her back. Do you have any information on that?

FANIA: Yes. I can tell you, you know, in addition to the quick response, obviously, they were here almost immediately. I was listening to the call, and we had officers loading up, you know, one to two to three victims in the back of their car taking them to the hospitals.

And I know we had several police officers who transported several of the victims. Just like you described, they were carrying them, helping them get in, loading and going. BERMAN: Frank Fania, stay with us for a second. I just want to bring people up to speed on everything you've told us, because you've given us an enormous amount of information here. Frank Fania of the police department in aurora just told us they have a suspect in custody. He believes in his early 20s, a younger adult male.

A man who just, as he puts it, appeared in the theater and started shooting after using some kind of gas or smoke device. There were also reports of an explosion. The suspect was apprehended in the rear of the theater in a parking lot. The suspect had a car there with him at the time.

He had a knife, and a gun, and another gun was found in the theater. Ten people killed inside the theater. Ten people killed inside the theater. Four died also in local hospitals nearby.

SAMBOLIN: And I believe, you said as well that he was wearing a bulletproof vest. And was that a rifle that you said he had in his possession?

FANIA: Yes. And I think you said a knife. And I'm sorry for the confusion. It was not a knofe. When they arrested him, he had a rifle, and a handgun, and then a third gun was --

BERMAN: So three guns. A rifle, a handgun, and a gun inside the theater. Do you know the type of other guns besides the rifle?

FANIA: That, I don't.

BERMAN: OK. So, a rifle and two other guns. Three guns.

FANIA: Correct. No knife.

BERMAN: A bulletproof vest and some kind of smoke or gas device.

SAMBOLIN: And you said that the first call came in at about 12:39 in the morning?

FANIA: That's when the first call came in was 12:39 a.m.

SAMBOLIN: And did you respond to the scene as well or were you listening in?

FANIA: I got called to come out. And I was listening as it unfolded. I got called immediately and listened as it unfolded.

SAMBOLIN: Talk to me about the scene. We are taking a look at a lot of vehicles, emergency vehicles there. Of course, this is an ongoing investigation. Can you paint a picture of the scene for us?

FANIA: I don't even want to guess how many police cars there are. I know when I was listening to it, and I heard officers responding from probably 30 miles away, you know, that's incredibly unusual. We were calling for help from every police and sheriff's agency, fire departments, ambulances. A crowded theater. I have to note (ph) there are 16 theaters here. I have no idea how many people were in each theater or how many theaters were showing this particular movie. And I can't even describe it right now, because I haven't really gotten a good look at it other than to say it's overwhelming the help we've had.

BERMAN: Frank, I heard the police chief say something about the suspect's home. Maybe his apartment building is that being searched right now?

FANIA: Apparently, the suspect mentioned something about explosives at his home. I don't know a whole lot about that, but obviously, we're taking that very serious. You know, in addition to the other responses, I thought (ph) we have bomb dogs here, bomb squads. So, they're taking all precautions, you know, to make sure that he acted alone. There are no other devices anywhere.

BERMAN: The police chief, Dan Oates (ph), saying that an apartment building where the suspect lives, and I don't know where it is, maybe you do, but that apartment building has been evacuated is what Police Chief Dan Oates (ph) said earlier during his press conference.

FANIA: Correct.

SAMBOLIN: And Frank, you are reporting that there are 14 people dead. Can you tell us anything about the victims, their ages?

FANIA: I don't have specifics on that. Again, a crowded theater. I'm not even sure what this movie is rated, but I do know that there were -- no matter what this movie is rated, 16 theaters, the ages are all range of ages. I don't have an exact range, though.

SAMBOLIN: And we also heard reports that there are about 10 to 20 shots inside. Can you confirm that?

FANIA: I think that's safe to say. You know, again, we're interviewing witnesses. You have echoes. It's hard to get an accurate account of all that until we actually go inside and take a look.

BERMAN: Frank, can you hang with us for one minute right now, because I want to check in with our affiliate, KUSA, who I believe is talking to a witness. A reporter on the scene talking to a witness. Frank, hang with us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You saw a man over here who brought his 12- year-old son to go see the movie?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 12-year-old, me and a friend of mine know that (INAUDIBLE) this movie, but we've (INAUDIBLE) for a long time ago. This theater is not the safest theater in Aurora, but we were always wondering because we know when we go see the movies here, obviously, in a dark theater, there were two, three police officers up front all the time until we left. So, we're just trying to figure out now just talking how was the security tonight for the showing. Everybody is all in black, just like Batman, how are you supposed to know exactly what's going on, what is going on, who is the bad guy, who is the good guy when something like this happens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, curious to know, you were talking about the man with the 12-year-old. What happened with them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, we're still trying to figure out. I know that the 12-year-old is OK. I'm not sure if he was in the theaters, but we know that we came to see the movie. But I'm not sure if he's OK. I know he was taken to the high school -- gateway high school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What time did you get here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 15, 20 minutes ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much. If you hear anything, please let us know, because a lot of people are wondering. I want to take you guys for a little walk (ph).


SAMBOLIN: We've just been listening to our affiliate, KUSA, talking to a witness on the scene about what he saw, what he experienced when he was inside that theater. A lot of chaos and commotion. Very dark, he said. We want to go back to Frank Fania, he's a public information officer there. Are you there, sir?

FANIA: Yes, I am.

SAMBOLIN: So, we've been talking about the suspect that you have in custody. And I just want to clarify whether or not -- or why you, perhaps, believe that there is not a second person of interest here, because we heard earlier a reporter ask the chief of police whether or not there is a second person involved. What can you tell us about that?

FANIA: We're -- the information we have so far, nothing indicates that there's -- that there was multiple suspects. But, again, you know, crowded theater, numerous theaters. We're taking every precaution we can to try to find out if he acted alone or if there are more.

BERMAN: And you are on the scene. Police are on the scene at his apartment building. Is that also in Aurora, Mr. Fania?

FANIA: Yes, it is.

BERMAN: So, an apartment building in Aurora. The suspect apparently telling police that he had explosives in his apartment. The police there, as you told us, have evacuated his apartment building. And I imagine, they have a bomb squad there and are looking through his apartment? FANIA: That, I don't know. I know the first concern was to evacuate the apartment. I'm not sure what exactly they're doing on that scene at this time.

SAMBOLIN: And I just wanted to reiterate again that this is an adult male, younger. You think, perhaps, in his early 20s. And that's the only information we have on the suspect at this point.

FANIA: That's correct.

BERMAN: And, again, because we can't talk about this enough, we've been talking about the suspect, but our hearts go out to the victims, and there are far too many of them. Ten people killed in the theater, four died later at area hospitals, another 50 wounded. Zoraida, we've been talking about this all night.

One of the most anticipated movies of the summer. So, must have been a packed theater filled, you know, with young people, probably in their 20s, teens and 20s who've just been waiting to see this movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."

SAMBOLIN: No. And Mr. Fania, I think one of the most disconcerting things that you said is that this guy just appeared out of nowhere, right, and just started shooting? You thought maybe even from behind a screen or curtain?

FANIA: That's the information we're getting, so far. Witnesses we talked to described it as appeared from the front of the theater. Guys, I apologize, and I hate to cut you short --


BERMAN: Frank, Mr. Fania, hang on one second, because we're looking at cell phone video right now. We want to look at from, we believe, inside the theater shortly after. Let's take a look. We're not listening to it right now. It's from our affiliate showing this cell phone video. We're taking it off their air. Let's listen in.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of chaos, obviously, as you can imagine from the scene. There's a girl that was just on the left side. She's in that blue top right there. She then thought she might have felt something, and then had her boyfriend, her friend there check her out. Check out her back.

She thought maybe she had some shrapnel wound of some sort, but it seemed like that she was OK. You see that person there that was covered on the right side, there was some blood on his shirt.


BERMAN: And right there, as a scene, really, just chaos. I believe cell phone video from the theater not long after the shooting. We have on the phone with us Frank Fania, a public information officer for the Aurora Police Department who has filled us in on what's been going on there.

They have a suspect in custody, a young adult male believe to be in his early 20s. He was apprehended by police in the parking lot at the rear of the theater. He had his car there. And the arsenal is what I find particularly chilling. He had on his body at that point, a rifle, a gun.

He was wearing some sort of bulletproof vest, and another gun was recovered inside the theater. In addition, there was some sort of smoke device or gas device used.

SAMBOLIN: And Mr. Fania, can you give us any more details on how he was apprehended? Did he resist at all?

FANIA: The information I have is he did not resist. He did not put up a fight. I don't know the exact details if the officers surprised him or how it actually happened, but I know some of the first officers that, you know, arrived within -- I don't know if it was seconds, maximum a couple of minutes found him behind the theater at his car and took him into custody there.

BERMAN: What's the protocol with something like this? Now, that you have the suspect in custody, where is he? What happens with him? How soon -- is he being interrogated at this very moment?

FANIA: I don't know at this moment. He was transported to our headquarters, which is literally just two or three blocks away. We have our homicide detectives working on that end as well as hundreds of officers here working this end, making sure there are no other devices anywhere, making sure there are no other suspects. Getting more information on actually what happened and who was responsible here.

SAMBOLIN: And you mentioned any more devices, other than the apartment building, is there anything else that you're aware of that he mentioned?

FANIA: Not that we're aware of. Last I heard, you know, we were clearing the parking lot. Obviously, a crowded theater. There's lot of cars in the parking lot. The only car we knew of what's his, we (INAUDIBLE) at some other cars with bomb dogs, nothing to my knowledge has been found or is suspicious.

SAMBOLIN: And everyone that was in that movie theater, movie theater number nine, they were taken to a local high school. Is that correct?

FANIA: Well, it's -- I don't know exactly what number the incident happened in, whether it was eight or nine. There are 16 theaters here. So, witnesses from the entire theater were taken to a local high school.

SAMBOLIN: And we heard earlier when the chief of police was talking, I think it was a second gentleman who came on, I'm not sure who he was, but I believe that he said that you won't be addressing the public any more until later today. I think that's 1:00 p.m. eastern time. Is that correct?

FANIA: That's correct. Eleven o'clock, our time, and that was special agent in charge with the FBI (INAUDIBLE), and that is correct. We'll be talking at 11:00 our time, 1:00 eastern. Hopefully, we'll have a little more information at that time. We're still trying to get an absolute, accurate account, you know?


BERMAN: I'm sorry.

FANIA: I'm sorry. Go ahead.

BERMAN: I was just saying, you are Frank Fania, a public information officer with the Aurora Police Department. You're looking at live pictures right now of the scene. You can still see some of the sirens right now. A huge police presence. At one point, we heard more than 250 police on the scene.

Now, we're being told the FBI from Denver is headed to the scene also. And we will be talking, hopefully, within the hour to a special agent who's there. And Mr. Fania, what kind of help could the FBI provide in this type of investigation?

FANIA: Well, that I don't know. I mean, they would probably have to comment on that. They're just here right now to let us know that they'll provide whatever information they can, whatever information or whatever help we need.

BERMAN: And you are getting help from other police departments, I believe, in the area?

FANIA: Oh, I don't even know how many different agencies responded, but yes.

SAMBOLIN: And is that typical in situations like this where there is just a mass response?

FANIA: Yes. the way the call came out and unfolded, absolutely. I mean, we'll take all available help we can get, not only from police and sheriffs departments, ambulances, fire departments, various resources like the bomb dogs, bomb squads. You name it. Until we have the scene under control, we're going to take all the help we can get.

SAMBOLIN: You are just a wealth of information, and we so appreciate you spending all of this time with us this morning, filling in so many blanks that we have. Of course, there are many more left for us. We want to confirm again the number of dead and injured. We have 14 that are confirmed dead. We have 50 wounded at local hospitals.

They range from critical -- actually, there are some people that are in the O.R. right now to minor injuries. We're uncertain of the outcome there. We're very concerned about the age of some of these victims. I have to tell you, Mr. Fania, because there are reports on "The Denver Post" that as young as nine years of age.

Can you talk a little bit more about that? I know that you mentioned that the police officers came in, and they were actually taking the victims, putting them in the back of their cars, and taking them to local hospitals. Do you have any idea the ages of those victims that they were transporting?

FANIA: I don't know the actual ages. Our first officers who were on scene very quickly, I know they transported numerous patients themselves. I don't know how many -- how many of the injured they transported. As far as the ages, it's a wide range that I don't have. You know, I don't know how many theaters this particular movie was being shown in the 16, but there are 16 theaters. The potential is for all ages.

SAMBOLIN: We're going to take a listen here. KUSA has some witnesses that we want to listen to here for a moment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As they were leaving, he witnessed a baby, an infant get shot. But yes, they said gas bombs as they were leaving, and then just gunshots all over the place. And it started in the theater that I had bought tickets to. So, it's kind of a blind- blower. While I was here waiting to talk to the doctor, I heard the call come in at the nurse's station.

From what I can see, there are people unconscious, people bleeding. I saw one bed go past, poor guy had blood caked all over his face. He just was not responsive at all. Same thing with the lady. Just all out of it. By the time I left, I overheard the nurses saying they managed to get most everyone stabilized, which is a blessing. It really is.


BERMAN: You are looking right now live at the scene outside the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado where, overnight, a terrible shooting at an overnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." Fourteen people have been killed, another 50 wounded. The FBI is now headed there from Denver.

We have a statement obtained by CNN's Jim Spellman from the FBI. It says merely we are involved in working jointly with the Aurora Police Department. We have been talking to the Aurora Police Department this morning, Frank Fania, a public information officer who has given us a range of details about the shooter.

They have a suspect in custody, described as a young adult male, probably around his early 20s. He was apprehended in the rear of the theater. He had his car there. He was taken near the parking lot --


SAMBOLIN: Yes. Mr. Fania, we're hearing some details that the suspect's car had Tennessee license plates. Do you know anything about that? Mr. Fania, are you still there with us? We just lost him there for a moment. We're redialing to check in with him. This is just late information that we're getting in that the suspect had Tennessee license plates.

So, we're trying to confirm that. We do know that that car was in the rear of the parking lot there. I had asked Mr. Fania earlier if the suspect had resisted. And he said he did not believe so. That he wasn't sure if the police had surprised him, but he did not believe that the suspect had resisted arrest.

We do know that they have evacuated the suspect's apartment building, because perhaps, he mentioned that there was a bomb threat in that building. So, they're looking into that. There's a police presence on the ground there. We're trying to get some more details about that for you.

BERMAN: And again, there were 14 people killed, 10 killed on the scene there in the Denver movie -- in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater. Four people later died in area hospitals. Fifty people wounded. It must have been a scene of chaos there. A smoke bomb or a gas device used first before this man opened fire.

We have some cell phone video we're going to play for you right now which has some sound also. We don't know exactly -- we don't know exactly when it was taken, how soon after the shooting. And I do want to warn you, there might be some language in here that may not be suitable for kids. This is raw video, and some of the language may be raw, too. So, let's take a listen.


BEGIN VIDEOTAPE: She said she saw the exit door by the screen open. Something was thrown across --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good thing we're not in that movie theater.