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Cell Phone Video From Inside Theater; 14 Dead, 50 Hurt In Batman Movie Shooting

Aired July 20, 2012 - 06:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: You're taking a look at cell phone video from inside the theatre. You know if you have been looking at the video, it's a little choppy, a little difficult to see, but there was some blood on a victim there.

There was a lot of crying in the background and interestingly there is also some calm. They are people standing around bewildered at what's happening. So maybe they were in line waiting to get in. Maybe they were just buying some popcorn and all of this chaos came out into the reception area.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, our coverage of the shooting continues. You are watching EARLY START.

We do have breaking news for you this morning. We've been watching it the last hour outside Denver, Aurora, Colorado, 9 miles east of Denver, where there has been a mass shooting at the movie theatre.

An overnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," 14 people have been killed, 50 people injured in this shooting at a movie theatre. We've been talking to the police all morning and they describe really what must be a chilling scene.

SAMBOLIN: They do and they actually do a suspect in custody at this hour. We're uncertain exactly where that suspect is, but probably at the police headquarters, which is right by the movie theatre.

And Frank Fania who's the public information officer there gave us just an enormous amount of details. So he said that this guy, the guy -- he's about 20 years old.

He said maybe in his early 20s, an adult male. That he just appeared out of nowhere, not sure if he came from a door or from behind a screen and just began shooting.

He said that he was carrying a rifle, a handgun and another gun that was found at the scene. Perhaps he was wearing a bullet proof vest.

He did confirm, there were a lot of people who said there were some explosions and perhaps some gas. He said yes, there was gas on the scene as well. They received the first call at 12:39 a.m. a lot of witnesses on the scene have said the police arrived immediately shortly thereafter.

BERMAN: He was apprehended, the suspect was, in a parking lot behind the theatre. The suspect did have his car there we've been told recently there were Tennessee plates on the car. We don't know what that means because the police also told us right now that they have evacuated this man's apartment building, which is in Aurora, Colorado.

Because he may have told police he has explosives in his apartment. Again, this suspect was armed, ready for battle, a bullet proof vest, three guns and some kind of gas or smoke device that he used before opening fire in this theatre. Fourteen people now confirmed dead, 14 people, 50 others wounded.

SAMBOLIN: And also Frank Fania had mentioned a riot helmet. That he was wearing a riot helmet on the scene as well. So you know, what we don't know is whether or not there were any bomb threats in other areas.

We asked about that and he said they have evacuated the parking lot as well as a precaution and that the witnesses, they were at the movie theatres. He also had confusion on whether it was movie theatre 8 or 9.

But those witnesses have been transported to a local high school and that they are being questioned there. They also asked and this was earlier in the press conference that the chief of police had.

He said, you know, if there's somebody out there who was a witness or knows of somebody who was a witness, please come forward, they are trying to piece together the details.

We asked about a second suspect because some people have said that. They said they don't think so, but they haven't ruled that out so that they are looking at every angle here.

BERMAN: The FBI is headed to the scene right now. The FBI from Denver will be going to Aurora, Colorado shortly to help with that investigation.

We are told by the police the suspect is in custody at the police headquarters just a few blocks from the Century 16 Movie Theatre. You're looking at the live picture of it now.

You can still see a police presence, somewhat smaller right now. They got their first call. Police did at 12:39 local, which is 2:39 Eastern, about three hours ago, a little more than three hours ago.

Where this all unfolded, this horrific shooting in Aurora, Colorado, unfolding during a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises", one of the most anticipated films of the summer.

Packed houses across the country, filled presumably with young people, people in their 20s racing to be the first to see this film and again, just to give you the really sad tragic numbers we have right now, 14 people have been killed, more than 50 wounded.

SAMBOLIN: And at the height of the crisis, there were more than 250 police on the scene and as Mr. Fania was telling us, that when the police arrived on the scene, they started pulling victims and putting them in the back of the quad cars and taking them to local area hospitals. Some of the most disturbing witnesses --

BERMAN: There's another press conference we want to listen to right now, an Aurora policeman speaking right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On behalf of all of Aurora, this is a horrific event. Our hearts go out to the families. We have mobilized the witnesses that we could get our hands on to an area high school where debriefings are under way.

BERMAN: All right, that information coming from a policeman on the scene right there outside the Century 16 Movie Theatre in Aurora, Colorado.

He was telling us that many of the witnesses have been taken to a local high school where they are being questioned right now. Many of the details we've been given.

The suspect taken into custody behind the movie theatre in a parking lot near his car. Three guns, Zoraida, a rifle and two other guns, a bulletproof vest and as you told me a riot helmet.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, you know, apparently he was prepared for this, right. One of the things that, Frank Fania, who's a public information officer, said that he appeared out of nowhere.

I asked, do you think he was there at the very beginning? He said it doesn't seem like it. It seemed this was something he planned to do. He was taken without incident right behind the theatre.

BERMAN: Apparently, did not resist. We're being told right now apparently this man did not resist. He must have known that the police were coming for him.

We want to listen right now to someone -- wasn't a witness, but he was on the scene immediately after the shooting and he described what he saw and what he heard. This is from our affiliate. Let's take a listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're watching a scene of the movie. It was a shootout scene. There were guns firing and then loud bangs came from the right of the theatre. Smoke took over the entire theatre and everything. And it was really thick and no one could see anything. Me and my sister were sitting there and wondering what was going on. And he was -- a riot helmet. She said he was -- had a bulletproof vest on.

She said that he was completely covered in all black with goggles. And she said that after that point when she saw that he was holding a shotgun, 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 started to run through the emergency exit. She said that when she turned around, all she saw was the guy slowly making his way up the stairs and just firing.

I saw at least four, maybe five people limping, wounded, and slightly bloody. The most I saw was a girl who was pretty much covered in blood and didn't have any wounds on her. So I mean it kind of -- it made me think the worst.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got a lot of horrible images in your mind and I know you said one of the most powerful, you saw a little girl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I don't know whose little girl that was, but my heart goes out to them. I honestly hope they are OK and I hope that 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 completely under control, a cop came walking to the door holding a little girl in his arms and she wasn't moving.

I had heard another witness who was in my theatre, 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, 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. It unfortunately makes me think she got caught in the cross fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How crowded was the theatre? This was an anticipated film?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we had two lines open, one on one side of the theatre and one on the other side. It's crazy to think I could have been in theatre nine.

As soon as we heard the first shots, my sister immediately grabbed my arm and wanted to leave as quick as possible. Yes, it was -- terrifying.

BERMAN: All right, that man giving some details apparently his sister was in the theatre during this horrific shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Century 16 Movie Theatre during a showing of the "Dark Knight Rising", 14 people killed, more than 50 people wounded. A suspect is in custody. We are bringing you all of the details as we get them.

We are going live around the world watching live pictures of the scene outside this movie theatre right now. Maybe that is -- that might be the suspect's vehicle right there.

We are told the suspect was apprehended in the parking lot near his car, did not resist arrest when the police apprehended him. He had three guns, two guns on his body, one recovered in the theatre including a rifle, a bulletproof vest and we hear also a riot helmet. Again, this man in custody.

SAMBOLIN: There were reports that they were Tennessee license plates. We are trying to confirm that information for you. There are a lot of victims here. Fourteen are dead, 50 are wounded.

We talked earlier to Nicole Williams. She's at Swedish Medical Center. She's going to join us on the phone again now.

Nicole, I know earlier you told us you had three people there, all young people, one had been treated and released and two were in the O.R. What else can you tell us now?

NICOLE WILLIAMS, SWEDISH MEDICAL CENTER: That's pretty much the update we have from here. We have obviously staffed up and been prepared for anything that came into the hospital tonight.

We have received word at this time from Aurora EMS that we will not be receiving any more patients via ambulance. So at this point, we are braced however for any walk-in patients.

We are hearing at this time that some patients were able to get in their cars and drive themselves away from the scene are showing up as walk-ins to area emergency departments. So we are prepared for any of those, but at this time we have not had any.

SAMBOLIN: And could you give us more details on the three that did arrive at your hospital?

WILLIAMS: Sure, we received an 18-year-old male, a 29-year-old male and a 20-year-old female. It's the 18-year-old male that we were able to treat and release

All three of them did come in with gunshot wounds. The 29- year-old male and 20-year-old female are still here. I understand that they both went into the operating room and we are still listing both of them in critical condition.

SAMBOLIN: All right, well, Nicole, we know that you're very busy this morning and we appreciate that you've taken some time to talk to us. We'll continue to check in with you and we wish you a lot of luck there.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

BERMAN: You are looking at live pictures right now from Aurora, Colorado. We believe that it might be suspect's car. The man believed responsible for this horrific shooting at the Century 16 Movie Theatre where 14 people have now been confirmed killed, more than 50 injured.

We just heard from a spokesperson from one of the hospitals right there who received three of the injured. We don't know how many of these 50 injured were shot.

How many may have been hurt in the chaos that ensued no doubt after it. Many of the people injured. The three in that hospital we just spoke to in their 20s, so many young people probably at this theatre.

SAMBOLIN: Absolutely. We saw some cell phone video earlier that showed some people covered in blood. Just an incredibly chaotic scene. A lot of people were crying there.

There's the cell phone video for you again. Let's listen. I want to warn you that we're not sure about the language on this. This is raw video that we're showing you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good thing we're not in that movie, dude.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He got shot. Look at the blood right there.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Again, this was cell phone video from the scene of the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, apparently shortly after the shooting there. Fourteen people killed and more than 50 wounded. If you're joining us around the world and we're going right now around the world, across CNN's various platforms, again 14 people killed, more than 50 injured in this chaotic scene. A suspect is in custody.

To give you a sense of what was going on in the theater, we have chilling tweets on Twitter from people who say they were in that theater. I want you to look at the bottom of the screen. Start with this man named Zach. He says, everyone -- this is before the shooting, now -- everyone dressing up as Batman, I'm going dressed as Bruce Wayne. I'll be the short and stubby one.

Remember, this was one of the most anticipated films in the summer, a packed theater.

And shortly after that, his next tweet, "Have just evacuated our theater, there was a shooting in our auditorium. I am safe," Zach says.

I'm not going to look at the time stamp because the time stamp might not match. The police say the first call they got was 12:43 a.m. local, which would be about 2:43 Eastern Time, a little more than two and a half hours ago now.

This man saying apparently several people have been shot. He said he's not going to lie, this was extremely terrifying. Not going to lie, this was extremely terrifying.

Again, 14 people dead, 50 hurt in this horrible shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: One can assume that probably the folks that were watching this movie are primarily young people. That's what they do, right? They tweet. They take cell phone video. And so, we're getting witness accounts that way.

But we also had really great witness accounts from our affiliates. There was African-American woman at the hospital and she said she saw an infant covered in blood. We heard a lot of reports of very young children here.

There was one gentleman whose sister was watching the movie and he may have been in an adjoining move theater. So, she witnessed where the shooter was and he talked about a little girl in an officer's arms and her body being lifeless and there were bullet holes in her back.

When we talked earlier to the public information officer, Frank Fania (ph), he said the police officers when they responded, they immediately put the victims in the back of the cars and took them to local area hospitals.

BERMAN: And the people who were okay and unhurt have been taken to a local area high school. Our affiliate KUSA is outside the high school right now and hopefully we can listen to what some of those people are saying.

REPORTER: They are not trying to keep parents away. They want to answer parents' questions, Aurora police being very, very helpful to these folks who have showed up.

A lot of people asked about cell phones or wallets that may have been left behind in the chaos. Officers say this could be collected as evidence and some of those cell phones could be used as evidence for up to maybe even 2 to 3 years as they continue to prosecute this case. Of course those are the questions that will continue to come.

Here at Gateway High School, we're seeing dozens and dozens of witness being debriefed. We just saw the Red Cross show up. There are lots of victim advocates and lots of grief counselors here at Gateway as well.

TV ANCHOR: I know those counselors will be very much needed. We have Jace Larson on the phone with us right now. And, Jace, you are outside the home of the suspect which is being searched right now?

JACE LARSON, KUSA REPORTER: Well, I think it's a little too early to say that definitively. I can tell you we're at a location that is in Aurora where the SWAT team has responded right now. We are told that they are trying to figure out whether there are explosives, devices inside an apartment. We have every reason to believe this is connected to the incident that happened at the movie theater.

But we want to be clear the information is coming very slowly out here. Let me try to kind of paint of picture of the scene. There is a street and we are consciously not saying exactly where this is here because we want to make sure that people are not gathered around here at an unsafe scene. It appears as though they are still trying to decide how far back to move people from the scene.

Someone came up, about a block away from an apartment complex and a SWAT team member came up to me and said please move back, it's very important you get back. It's unsafe where you're standing and we immediately did what he requested.

So, I would say if you think of a typical street block, this is a residential neighborhood here, about mid-block there's an apartment complex. And there are police officers who have blocked both sides off that block. In the middle of the block there is a SWAT team vehicle which you can see.

There are men in typical SWAT attire. I cannot see whether it's all men, but they have helmets on and protective vests on that look similar to a bulletproof vest only much more similar than that. They appear to be right now kind of watching an apartment complex. There are -- there's at least one ambulance out here, at least one fire truck as well. I was able to talk to some of the people kind of around this area. They tell me they are staging.

Again, information is coming out very slowly, every indication out here from the people that we're talking with is that this has some connection to what we are learning more information about at the movie theater in Aurora.

I wish I could tell you exactly what crews are doing here but we're not getting much information. Again, they are asking us to stay very far back. The last thing we want to do is get to close and cause concern for them. So, we're abiding by exactly what they're asking to do, Kyra. It's hard to tell how many people are on the scene as well.

TV ANCHOR: Hey, Jace, covering this kind of spot news, you've covered terrorists and the like, what is the feel you are getting from those officers who are urging you to move back? Have you seen --

BERMAN: What you just heard was very interesting. It was an account from a reporter outside an apartment building in Aurora, Colorado, right now. We were told earlier that police have evacuated the suspect's apartment building because they had heard reports that he might have explosives inside.

This reporter from our local affiliate, I believe KUSA, said there was a SWAT team now surrounding this man's apartment building. They are being held back so they can search the suspect's apartment.

SAMBOLIN: We also have a statement. Jim Spellman got this from the FBI. They issued a statement we want to put up.

It says, "We are involved in working jointly with the Aurora Police Department."

It is quite a team effort. I have to tell you at the height of this 250 police on the scene. Huge ambulance presence and now the FBI involved saying they are going to assist in whatever way they can.

The big news here of course is the victims, right? We have 50 people wounded, 14 dead, 10 died on the scene and four at local area hospitals. We've been checking in with the hospitals in that area that have been receiving the patients.

Tracy Weise (ph), Medical Center of Aurora spokesperson, we talked to her earlier and she has said now that they are receiving walk-ins, from the gas and smoke inhalation, what they are treating them for. She's joining us on the phone.

Tracy Weise, are you there?

TRACY WEISE, MEDICAL CENTER OF AURORA (via telephone): Yes, I'm here.

SAMBOLIN: Great. Can you tell us about the walk-ins you're receiving?

WEISE: You know, I don't have a whole lot of information on those right now. I can tell you we were doing decontamination for them. And triaging and treating them as quickly as we do.

BERMAN: What is decontamination?

WEISE: The cleansing and removing of the gas. I don't have all of the specifics on the process at this point but just treating them for the tear gas.

SAMBOLIN: And so, what is it they are complaining of when they come in to the emergency room?

WEISE: You know, I don't have the specifics on that either, as you can imagine, if there's been gas inhalation, there's probably painful breathing and inhalation in the eyes and things like that. That's what we're helping take care of at this point.

SAMBOLIN: Do you have a number of how many people are walking in and being treated for that?

WEISE: Not at this time.

SAMBOLIN: Tracy, I know you're working hard and I really appreciate the time you're spending with us this morning. We'll continue to check in with you to see the progress that's happening there. Tracy Weise, Medical Center of Aurora spokesperson.

BERMAN: You're looking at live pictures outside the Century 16 movie theater, where 14 people were killed, 50 injured.

Zoraida, there were fascinating new details from the interview with Ttracy, that suspects are being treated for tear gas as she put it, decontamination. And the local police public information officer told us earlier they had reports that some type of gas or smoke device had been used. It makes sense we're being told that they are getting victims being treated for tear gas, gas inhalation.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, a lot of people that were inside the movie theater did say two things, one was that they heard an explosion and the other one was that there was gas right afterwards. And that there was a lot of confusion here because as you know "Dark Knight" has a lot of explosives and a lot of gun fighting in the movie. And so people were confused as to what exactly was happening there.

BERMAN: We have a witness from the scene who tells us what the scene was like and I believe has some words about the smoke or gas device that was used.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as we heard the shots go off, we figure it must have been a louder part of the movie next to us. So nobody thought anything of it and 30 seconds later they evacuated us and we were hearing from friends that were actually inside, I'm pretty sure in theater nine, which was one of main theaters that he was wearing a gas mask and throwing tear gas at people. He wasn't trying to let anybody out.


BERMAN: I do want to read you new information we got from the federal law enforcement source who tells us right now there are no indications at this point of any nexus to terrorism. That's one of things we always ask.

SAMBOLIN: That was circulating on Twitter so I think they are trying to clear that up. There was confusion about that. What's really happening? Was this a terrorist act? Perhaps that's why they are clearing that up for us.

Let's talk about the suspect because when we talked earlier to Frank Fania, a public information officer, he gave us good details. This is an adult male, younger, perhaps in his early 20s and he had no idea about race yet. He did tell us that he was wearing a bulletproof vest. He said that he had a rifle, a hand gun and then they recovered another third weapon inside the theater.

When he was apprehended it was in the back of the theater in the parking lot by his vehicle. And it seems he did not resist arrest and they have taken him to police headquarters which incidentally is right by the theaters.

BERMAN: Our local affiliate is talking to a witness right now. Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We appreciate you talking with us this morning and sharing your thoughts and your witnessed information. It's very interesting certainly --

BERMAN: Yes, they just wrapped up that interview. We did not hear what the witness said. We have heard from witnesses all morning about the chaos that went on in that theater. The first calls police got just after 12:38, 12:39 local time which makes it about 2:38, 2:38 Eastern Time, a little less than four hours ago. The police telling us that the suspect just appeared -- appeared in the theater. Used some kind of smoke or gas device and we just spoke to a local area hospital who tells us they are decontaminating now victims, treating them for tear gas.

So it appears perhaps that this smoke or gas device was tear gas, we have tear gas, three guns, awe bulletproof vest and maybe a riot helmet on the suspect who is in custody. This has all of the markings of something that was well planned diabolically planned let's say.

SAMBOLIN: We have 14 dead, 50 wounded at local area hospitals, 10 of the victims died at the scene.

Here are some of the details we're getting from the witnesses in case you're just joining us, one heard 10 to 20 shots, that they heard an explosion, that people were screaming and that the fire alarm was pulled also.

Then that mass chaos that happened out into the reception area. We looked earlier at video from a cell phone camera and it was interesting to see because there was a lot of confusion and a lot of panic and people crying, there was one man who was covered in blood.

But then you saw some people just standing by, and observing it all. Clearly they were either at the concession buying or just unaware of what was happening inside the movie theaters because they have a lot of screens at this movie theater. We're unsure how many screens were showing "Dark Knight".

And then the ages of the victims, they span. We've heard somebody say that they saw a child, infant, another gentleman mentioned a 9-year-old girl. So, you would imagine because it's this particular movie, very popular among young people that there are a lot of young victims in this tragedy.

BERMAN: You're looking at cell phone video right now that was taken while this was al happening.

"The Denver Post" has some new details I'd like to read you in on. The suspect is a 24-year-old male. We've been told in early 20s. They now say 24-year-old male. He is in custody at Aurora police headquarters, which is just a few blocks from the movie theater.

You're looking at the live scene of the theater right now.

"The Denver Post" says that witnesses say that the suspect released some sort of canister. Witnesses heard a hissing sound and some sort of gas emerged and the gunman open fire. Local area hospitals telling us they are decontaminating some patients, some victims, tear gas, they say, is what they are cleaning up.

SAMBOLIN: There were some reports that perhaps there was another suspect and you know, there's no evidence of that right now but they are not ruling that out. We don't have anymore information on that suspect. We asked about a motive earlier and they said it was too soon to tell but he is at police headquarters at this hour and being questioned.

BERMAN: The public information officer from the police has told us that they evacuated the suspect's apartment building, which is in Aurora because they got some word there might be explosives in that building. One of our affiliate reporters was standing outside and said a SWAT team was surrounding it and they have been pushed back.

The police also reporting that the suspect's car had Tennessee license plates, we're not sure what that means because we believe he had an apartment in Aurora.

But, again, this man, a 24-year-old according to "The Denver Post", who had an arsenal, three guns, a rifle, two handguns, bulletproof vest and riot helmet and maybe some kind of tear gas. This man is now in custody after killing at least 14 people and wounding 50 others. >

SAMBOLIN: There's information here in the "Denver Post" also about a mother that had taken her son to this movie. Her name is Tammy Stevens and her son is 18 years old and he was inside theater nine when this all unfolded. So, a lot of these witnesses were taken to local area hospital and parents are trying to get to their kids because they are concerned.

She is there right now waiting for her son to be interviewed and released by police.

BERMAN: I can't imagine, one of the most anticipated films of the summer, it's a blockbuster, overnight showings all over the country and these theaters had to have been packed all over the country.

Mostly young people I would imagine, teenagers in their early 20s. So, I think there have to be a lot of parents in Aurora and our hearts do go out to them, worried now about their kids who may have been at the showing.

SAMBOLIN: This woman goes on to say, you let your kids go to a late night movie and never think something like this is going to happen.

Our coverage here is going to continue, you're watching EARLY START.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: And the breaking news this morning is a horrific shooting in Aurora, Colorado, nine miles east of Denver. You're looking at live pictures of the Century 16 movie theater where during an overnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises", one of the most anticipated films of the summer, a man open fire, killed 14 people, wounded more than 50.

The suspect, Denver police, Aurora police, I should say, tell us the suspect is in custody. A 24-year-old male, when they apprehended him in the parking lot in the rear of the theater. He did not resist arrest. He had a rifle, a gun and they recovered another gun inside. The man had a bulletproof vest on, maybe a riot helmet, we're told. And witnesses say he used some kind of tear gas or smoke device before the shooting in local area hospitals telling us they are treating some victims for tear gas.

SAMBOLIN: And that cell phone video you're taking a look at right there of the chaos that was happening as this was unfolding. There was one man there covered in blood, a lot of people crying, a lot of chaos and commotion.

We also saw in the background that some people just look bewildered. Uncertain as to what was happening. They were perhaps buying something at the concession, so really unaware of chaos happening inside the theaters.

We're uncertain how many theaters were showing "The Dark Knight." There were some reports that a lot of people who were in a neighboring theater heard a lot of the shots and maybe even some of the shots came through.

There was a massive police presence on the scene, about 250 officers on the scene. We do know the FBI is involved also. They are going to help any way that they can. The victims here, which is very disconcerting, 14 people are dead, 10 died on the scene, four of them in the hospital. 50 others are wounded.

A lot of these people are in the O.R. right now having surgery. We're uncertain about their conditions. But they range from minor to critical. We were told by three different hospitals and as John just mentioned, some are walking in and being treated for this tear gas, a lot of witnesses have said there was tear gas and maybe even an explosion that they felt.

And then you know, on -- the police is also on the scene of this man's apartment building because they think perhaps there are explosives in the building. So they have evacuated the building. There's a SWAT team there now dealing with that as well.

BERMAN: Our affiliate KUSA spoke to a witness who was on the scene of this terrible shooting. Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This theater is not -- we were saying not the safest theater in Aurora but we was always wondering, I saw "Men in Black 3. There were three or two police officers up front when you get tickets all the time, even until we left. We're just trying to figure out, talking how the security tonight for the showing, if you have somebody dressed up everybody is dressed all in black like Batman, how are you supposed to know what's going on, who is a good guy or bad guy when something like this happens.

BERMAN: If you are just walking up this morning, or joining us around the world, let's bring you up to speed. Fourteen people have been killed overnight in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, nine miles east of Denver of the an overnight shooting of the "Dark Knight Rises", a suspect open fire and 14 people were killed.

You're looking now at live pictures of the suspect's car. The suspect is now in custody. The police tell us a 24-year-old male. You're looking I believe at what is some kind of bomb squad device, a robotic device now.

The reason this might be happening, police tell us the suspect may have explosives in his apartment and perhaps they are looking for explosives in his car. The police earlier told us he used some sort of gas or smoke device in the theater, every reason for caution as they are searching this car to find out what else is in it.

SAMBOLIN: There were some reports earlier that maybe there were Tennessee license plates on the car. We have yet to confirm that but we are trying to get the details.

And Frank Fania said yes we're going to check the car for explosive because there was mention at the apartment building there were explosives.

We've been talking about the victims, trying to figure out the ages of the victims. There was one woman who said when she was at the hospital she saw an infant covered in blood. There were reports of a 9-year-old that was dead.

So, we do have an update on that. It's coming from KMGH. And it says six victims taken to children's hospitals.

Now, the range here is really interesting and ages from 6 to 31.

BERMAN: Kids love super heroes and young adults love super heroes and people in their 20s love super heroes. These are all people who would be mobbing that theater for the premiere of a blockbuster, "The Dark Knight Returns", never expected, as police say, a man would just appear in the theater, with a bullet proof vest, open fire, use some kind of tear gas, 14 people now killed and 50 injured.

Police also tell us right now that they have surrounded the apartment building where the suspect lives, they are searching his apartment for explosives well as his car. You saw a robotic device there helping search the car.

Let's listen in to our affiliate KUSA and get a sense of some of their coverage on the ground.


REPORTER: There was a gentleman who I spoke to within the last 30 minutes or so concerned about a 7-year-old they were trying to find, his friend's daughter. I also want to play sound for you that we took a little while ago with Jaleel Hall (ph). He's here because his friend was in the theater and shot in the neck.

Let's listen to what he told us a while ago -- I also want to play sound for you that we took a little while ago with Jaleel Hall, he's here because his friend was in the theater and shot in the neck. Let's listen to what he told us a while ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My friend Paul said that my friend had gotten shot. Wait, what? What's going on? He's like pushing all of us away. And so, my friend Steve, he was like, he got shot. We rundown to his house.

And I'm here, not going to leave. I don't care -- I'm supposed to be at work at 10:00 in the morning. I'm not going. You know what I'm saying? Because that's irrelevant to me. You know what I'm saying? I would rather be at my friend's side. Make sure that he's all right.

I'm furious about the person that done this. Like I don't understand why people do things like this, you know? It's crazy. It's disgusting. I'm angry about it, and I'm a firm believer in God, all I can do now is pray.

REPORTER: Many people are here in hospital right now. This is a look at the entrance to the emergency loom where you can see security officers are there, making sure everybody respects the families and respects their privacy. Right now, this is a very difficult time.

We're keeping our distance as well, certainly not wanting to identify anybody. There are patients who are in there. We've seen people coming out in wheelchairs and we've seen a lot of family members going in as well.

And Jaleel who just heard from, he's also here at the hospital right now. His group is standing behind some trees which are out of camera range but they are still here, still waiting for information.


SAMBOLIN: You've just been listening to our affiliate, KUSA, they talked to a witness there who got a tweet. This is the way the kids are communicating, they are sending out tweets explaining what happened and his friend was shot and he's there checking up on him.

And earlier we had a bevy of tweets that came out from inside as this was transpiring.

BERMAN: I can read you some things that were said. We have tweets some someone named Caitlin, who was in the theater right now. She says, "Yes, it was my theater, I'm outside. One of my friends is still inside. No one knows what's going on."

You can see the tweet below there, "shots fired inside the theater." Again, the emotion, oh, God, I don't know what to do."

The presence it must have been taken to write the tweets when it was going on, probably looking for some release there. She still doesn't know what happened to her friend Alex. We do hope her friend Alex is OK.

Again, if you are just waking up now, we have a lot to report. A tremendous amount of information coming out of Aurora, Colorado, where there was a shooting overnight, 14 people killed, more than 50 injured at a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises". It happened at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, about nine miles east of Denver.

We've been on the police -- on the phone with police all morning, Zoraida, who gave us a lot of details about how the shooting happened and the suspect.

SAMBOLIN: And the suspect. And we're now confirming it is a 24-year-old white male. They do have him in custody. They apprehended him on the scene. He was right outside in the back of the theater in the parking lot at his car when police found him.

And he did not resist arrest. According to the public information officer that we spoke to earlier, Frank Fania, he did go with police and they are questioning him now.

We do have a witness from KUSA, let's listen in.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As they were leaving, he witnessed baby, an infant get hot, but they said gas bombs as they were leaving and then just gunshots all over the place and it started in the theater that I bought tickets to.

So, it was kind of a mind blower, while he was here waiting to talk to the doctor, I heard the call come from in the nurse's station. There are people unconscious, people bleeding. I saw one bed go past, poor guy had blood caked all over his face. He was not responsive at all, same thing with the lady, all out of it.

By the time I left, I had overheard the nurses saying they managed to get most everyone stabilized, which is a blessing, it really is.


SAMBOLIN: That is a blessing, we're happy to hear that. You heard her mention that infant there. We're trying to figure out the ages of everybody.

What we can tell is according to KMGH, the six victims were taken to a children's hospital and range in age from 6 to 31.

If you're just tuning in right now, we had horrific eyewitness reports earlier. A man told us that one of the police officers was carrying a lifeless body, what he thought was a lifeless body of a little girl with gunshot wounds to her back. And, you know, his question was who would do something like this?

We do know it is a 24-year-old white male that is in custody. The motive we don't know. We've asked and of course they are conducting a full investigation now, the FBI is involved also saying they are going to help in any way they can.

There's a SWAT team and this man's apartment building because they are worried about a bomb threat. They have clear the parking lot because they were concerned about that as well.

We saw earlier a robot checking out the vehicle where he was found. They were concerned perhaps -- there's a picture for you now, a robot was looking to see if there are any devices there.

We heard there were Tennessee license plates on the car but we do not -- we have not confirmed that information yet for you. Attempting to do that as soon as possible.

BERMAN: Police got the first reports of the shooting four hours ago now. So, it's been four hours of chaos and pain in Aurora, Colorado. They raced to the scene.

It was shortly after they arrived there when they apprehended the suspect in the rear of the theater near his car. At the moment he had a rifle with him, a gun, they recovered another gun inside the theater. The suspect, the 24-year-old male, was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Witnesses say he used some kind of gas or smoke device before he started shooting. They heard some kind of hissing before he started shooting, local hospitals in the area tell us they are now treating victims for tear gas, decontaminating is what they call it.

This was at a showing of the "Dark Knight Rises", last night, the premiere of this much anticipated film. There were packed house across the country to see the film.

People, young kids, young adults, getting to see to the theater as quick as they can. Never expecting that this suspect as police told us would appear in the theater and begin his onslaught, this attack.

SAMBOLIN: And KMGH has been reporting that this is a 24-year- old white male. We did confirm that it was a 24-year-old earlier, but a 24-year-old white male, is what KMGH is saying.

There were earlier witnesses and this was first time I heard this, a African-American man who said this is not a safe theater. Not quite sure what he meant by that. But he said this is not a safe theater, I don't like to come here.

Why this suspect picked this particular theater, we have no idea. Don't know what the motive is behind this. They are questioning this man right now.

A lot of eyewitness reports about exactly what happened. It was this public information officer who said that this gunman kind of appeared out of nowhere, right? It was either from the side, a door on the side or maybe from behind a screen and just started shooting randomly.

There are a lot of victims here. We have 50 victims at local area hospitals, a lot of them are in the emergency room -- rather, they are in the O.R. right now having surgery. We have no idea what their conditions are.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: It was either from the side, a door on the side or maybe from behind a screen and just started shooting randomly. There are a lot of victims here. We have 50 victims at local area hospitals, a lot of them are in the emergency room -- or rather they're in the O.R. right now having surgery.

We have no idea what their conditions are. They do range from minor to critical. Fourteen dead, ten died on the scene, and four as they were being transported or at the local area hospitals when they arrived.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And some people, which is interesting, being treated for gas inhalation.


BERMAN: Tear gas.

SAMBOLIN: Well, a lot of people said that, right? There was this gas. What was it and what was the terminology that --

BERMAN: Decontaminated.

SAMBOLIN: Decontamination.

BERMAN: These patients are being decontaminated. A spokesman for a local area hospital told us that they are decontaminating some of the patients coming in, because they believe there was tear gas used at the scene. Again, this has been going on for four hours now.

If you're just waking up, you're looking at live pictures of the Century 16 movie theater, which is not live, but these are pictures of the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where overnight at a showing of "The Dark Night Rises," a man open fire killing 14 people, killing 14 people now dead, 50 are injured, now in local area hospitals.

The suspect is in custody at police headquarters just a few blocks away. A 24-year-old White male who was armed, armed for battle. He had a rifle on him when police took custody at him, another gun, another gun recovered inside the theater. So, thee guns. Witnesses say he used some kind of gas or smoke device. He was wearing a bulletproof vest also.

At this moment, we're told a SWAT team is surrounding the apartment building where the suspect live. They are believed to be looking for explosives inside his apartment. And, a short while ago, we shot pictures of a robot searching the car of the suspect.

SAMBOLIN: Which makes sense. As you're taking a look at those pictures there at the height of this crisis, more than 250 police were on the scene there. We talked to Jackie Montgomery (ph). She's a spokesperson for the University of Colorado Hospital, and this was very early on.

She probably received what was the bulk of the patients there, because she said she had 20 patients at the time and that's where she had said where, you know, they were listed in minor to critical condition, and they had quite a few that were in the O.R. at the time. And the witnesses here have been transported to a local high school, and the parents are waiting because they want to retrieve their children.

There were a lot of young people attending this movie. There was one mom in particular who took her 18-year-old son, and she went to a theater next to his to watch a different movie and she said that she was waiting at the high school and not in her wildest dreams would she have imagined that something like this would happen when she takes her son to a movie.

BERMAN: And our thoughts, of course, with the families there and the victims and so many people around the world now watching this as the story unfolds. We are told that the president, President Obama was informed of the shooting at 5:26 a.m. eastern time by homeland security adviser, John Brennan.

The president is in Palm Beach, Florida right now on a campaign trip. He is now monitoring the situation. But again, the president was told at 5:26 a.m., about three hours after this event unfolded. Again, this happened -- the police got first reports of this shooting at about 12:39 mountain time, that's 2:39 eastern. So, this had been going on now for four hours overnight.

SAMBOLIN: And I know that we're expecting a press conference that's going to happen at 1:00 p.m. eastern. The chief of police had spoken earlier, along with a spokesperson with the FBI, a special agent with the FBI, and they said they are not going to talk anymore until 1:00 p.m. They have to gather a lot of information, get a lot of details in order to share the very latest with us.

We talked about the victims earlier. I wanted to mention again that six victims are at children's hospital. KMGH is reporting that they were taken to a local children's hospital, and they range in age from six to 31 years old.

BERMAN: And we're seeing a range of injuries, too, from gunshot wounds again also to people who may have inhaled gas. One local area hospital spokesperson told us they are decontaminating some patients because they believe they were exposed to tear gas. The police told us that some kind of smoke or gas device was used prior to the shooting, prior to when the suspect open fire. And again, now, some people being treated for gas inhalation at local hospitals. And again, we should just remind you that a suspect is in custody, a 24-year-old White male.

SAMBOLIN: And we were asking earlier about the potentiality of their being any other suspects here, and they said, at the moment, they don't think so, but they are certainly not ruling it out. But they are focusing their attention, as well, to that apartment building where the man lives because of the mention of some explosive devices there.

And they have evacuated that building. A SWAT team is on location. We were listening to a reporter earlier who said that, you know, they were moving him away from the area as a precautionary measure. And you're taking a look right now at cell phone video that happened just moments shortly after the shooting.

Let's listen in, but I do want to caution you that we don't know about the language on the cell phone video.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good thing we're not in that movie, dude. Oh, my God.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God! Oh, my god.




BERMAN: That was cell phone video from inside the scene shortly after the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Our coverage of this shooting where 14 people have been killed, 50 injured continues. You're watching EARLY START.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

SAMBOLIN: You are watching breaking news out of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado to be exact. That is nine miles from Denver where 24-year-old White male suspect is in custody after a mass killing at a theater there, Century 16 Movie Theater. there are now 14 people dead, 50 wounded at local area hospitals.

We spoke earlier to the public information officer there, Frank Fania. He gave us some incredible details on this. They say that this 24-year-old male was inside the theater. He appeared either out of a door or from behind a screen. There was an explosion, perhaps, and some gas. He was wearing a bulletproof vest.

He was carrying a rifle, a handgun. There was a third weapon that was recovered on the scene. He was taken into custody right outside of that movie theater in the parking lot. He was found right by his vehicle, and we understand that he went with police without incident.

He is being questioned right now, and incidentally, the police station is just a few blocks away from that movie theater, Century 16 Movie Theater.

BERMAN: A SWAT team has surrounded the suspect's apartment building, because police received some reports there might be explosives inside this man's apartment. Additionally, a short while ago, we shot pictures of a bomb squad's robotic device searching the suspect's car, which again, was just outside this movie theater where he was taken into custody.

Fourteen people killed, ten on the scene in the theater, four dying later at local hospitals. More than 50 people have been injured. Injuries ranging from gunshot wounds, also. And this is tragic and interesting to gas inhalation, because we are told some kind of smoke or gas device was used, and one hospital told us that they are decontaminating patients because they believe they suffered from tear gas.

SAMBOLIN: And at the height of this, there were about 200 police officers on the scene. This all happened, they say that they got the first phone calls at about 12:39 a.m. Many of the witnesses are saying that the police response was immediate. The FBI is now also involved. They are saying that they're going to help in whatever way possible.

We also saw the vehicle was being searched for a bomb as well. There was some robotic device that they were positioning to see if, in fact, there were any bombs at the vehicle. They also cleared out the parking lot, because they were concerned about bombs as well.

BERMAN: And just to remind people, why police are so nervous when they apprehended the suspect? Police tell us he had two guns with him, a rifle, another gun. They recovered a third gun inside the theater.

The suspect was wearing a bulletproof vest, and there are some reports some kind of riot helmet also. So, this man had an arsenal on him. He was obviously ready for something diabolical.

SAMBOLIN: We don't know about a motive. We asked about it, but of course, he's being questioned right now. Another interesting detail about the car, we got reports that, perhaps, there was a Tennessee license plate. We have not confirmed that information, yet but we are looking into that.

And you know, what's really horrific here is, you know, we don't know exactly the ages of all of the victims here. But we're receiving reports of the different ages that were taken to the local hospitals, and they range anywhere from six to 31, we heard, that was taken to a children's hospital. We don't know the ages of the victims that have died.

We do know that a lot of the witnesses were taken to a local high school. The parents are very concerned about their children.

You would imagine there are a lot of young people that are attending this movie opening, and also, you know, they're communicating via Twitter, worried about their loved ones and also sharing some of the details about what happened in the minutes or the seconds after this gunman started shooting.

BERMAN: Also, at this point, we can tell you law enforcement officials telling CNN they do not believe, they have no evidence, there is any nexus to terrorism. No nexus to terrorism. That's what law enforcement officials telling CNN. We also have some new witness sound. We want to take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of my friends got skimmed just on the neck, you know? It's a little deep, but he's OK. He was at the hospital and another one of my friends just got skimmed on the leg, but she's OK, also.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And one of your friends you have not been able to reach?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. My friend A.J. Yes. He's a really good friend of mine. He was seeing the movie with his girlfriend, La Samoa (ph). And from what I hear, it seemed like he just passed out or something, and we haven't been able to get any contact with him. Nobody knows where he is. And also, we're hoping for the best. We're hoping for the best.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you see a shooter? Did you see police surround anybody?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't see anything. I didn't see anything suspicious when I went in there. When I went in there, everyone just seemed excited to see the new movie. People were dressed up as Batman. People were dressed up as the villain, you know? People were excited. I didn't expect to see, you know, this happening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people reported thinking when all the chaos started that they thought maybe it was part of the movie, sort of the Hollywood atmosphere they were trying to create. Did you think that or did you realize there was something wrong right away?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't realize there was something wrong right away. I thought it was like a firecracker or firework or something. I thought someone was just like, oh, it's the Batman premiere, I'm going to bring some firecrackers in, throw it and get people riled up, you know? But it wasn't until the alarm sounded saying there's an emergency in the building, something is going on. That's when I figured out that it was something serious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I talked to your mom a couple of minutes ago. She said she didn't want you to go to this movie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, my mom doesn't like me out late at night, anyway. But I bought these tickets two nights in advance. And I was like (ph) mom, I got to go see Batman, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I'm glad you're OK, Donovan.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Again, that was one of the people in the theater tonight. You know, we're in the parking lot, and the scene is -- it's sort of like people are just in disbelief. There's no chaos, there are ambulances. There are witnesses inside the gym, but there are --


BERMAN: You saw that witness who was there during the shooting. He was wearing a Batman T-shirt, which is a reminder that this was all during an overnight shooting of one of the biggest blockbusters of summer, the premiere of "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises." So many (INAUDIBLE) around the country.

So many young people going to see this film. A gunman appeared out of nowhere in this film, set off some kind of gas or smoke device, open fire. Fourteen people killed, 50 wounded now in Aurora, Colorado.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Their conditions are just all over the place. You know, some of them have been critically injured. Some of them have been treated and released. Some of them are being treated for this gas that they inhaled, the tear gas. We're not quire sure what it was. But, you know, we're still continuing to follow those developments for you, because really, that's a story here, right, the victims.

BERMAN: And they did not know what was happening when it started, because they did not know if this was part of the film, with the explosions, with the gas, with the chaos or if it was something horrible, and it turned out to be something really worse than horrible.

SAMBOLIN: And KMGH is reporting that it's a 24-year-old white male that is in custody right now. And that's just a -- a few blocks from this movie theater is where he is in custody. We've asked about the motive. We don't have that information yet, but you know, they are working on it. We do know that nearby in Aurora also, his apartment building has been evacuated because they're searching for bombs. There were some concerns that there were bombs there as well. BERMAN: OK. This has been going on for four hours right now. We are broadcasting around the world the details of this shooting in Aurora, Colorado. CNN special breaking news of this killing, 14 people dead in Colorado, continues with Soledad O'Brien right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.