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Chaos, drama on audio of police response to Aurora, Colo. shooting

Police are on the scene at the Century 16 movie theatre where a gunmen attacked movie goers during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises," July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. Thomas Cooper/Getty Images

AURORA, Colo. Police are on the scene at the Century 16 movie theater where a gunmen attacked movie goers during an early morning screening of "The Dark Knight Rises"
Thomas Cooper/Getty Images

(CBS News) Audio of the police response to the shooting at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo. shows officers attempting to get control of the crime scene even while the enormity of the crime had not yet become clear.

The audio was originally posted on RadioReference.com.

Police are heard describing the shooting as having occurred in "theater 9, where Batman was playing" before requesting gas masks. "Bring gas masks to theater 9. We need gas masks," an officer demands on the radio.

Witnesses would describe being assaulted with "tear gas." At a press conference, police confirmed that two devices spewing "irritants" appeared to have been set off in the theater.

On the audio, police are cautioned that the suspect has "an assault rifle ... everybody watch out for the assault rifle" before a voice describes the suspect as "male, unknown race, black camo outside outfit believed to be wearing a vest, gas mask and multiple long guns."

Police would later announce that the suspect in the shooting was James Holmes, 24, and he had been outfitted in ballistic armor and a gas mask. Police recovered four guns at the theater, including two pistols, a shotgun and a semiautomatic assault rifle.

In the audio, the number of victims starts lower than the ultimate count. "We have multiple victims, maybe at least four, now." Later, an officer says, "I got seven down in theater 9! Seven down!"

One officer describes it as "a mass casualty situation."

A child victim is mentioned as well as a victim with "shrapnel wounds."

"I've got one victim eviscerated," an officer says.

A request for "all available ambulances" to report to staging areas is heard in the audio. A voice can also be heard asking if they have permission to "start taking some of these victims via car." The response is, "Yes, load 'em up, get 'em in cars, get 'em out of here." Another voice requests that "all hospitals" be notified.

The number of dead would eventually be set at 12, with 10 victims having died at the scene, and two at the hospital. Another 59 were wounded in the attack; victims were taken to six hospitals in the area. Holmes was taken into custody near a car behind the movie theater. Police have not released a possible motive in the attack.

Complete coverage of the Aurora, Colo. shooting on CBSNews.com


  • Kevin Hayes

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