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Colorado Theater Shooting: Witnesses describe masked gunman, carnage

Jacob Stevens, 18, hugs his mother Tammi Stevens after being interview by police AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez

Jacob Stevens, 18, hugs his mother Tammi Stevens after being interview by police
AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez
(CBS/AP) AURORA, Colo. - Witnesses to the mass shooting inside a Colorado movie theater early Friday morning described a masked gunman bearing multiple weapons who deployed some kind of gas canisters before opening fire on people watching the midnight showing of the newest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."

Pictures: 12 dead, dozens wounded in shooting at Batman movie

"He had a gas mask on so I couldn't see his face," a witness named Jennifer told CBS Denver. "All I smelled was gunpowder in the air and gas was getting to me."

At first, moviegoers didn't know what was happening and some thought the attack was part of the show. Then they saw a silhouette of a person in the smoke at the front of the theater near the screen, pointing a gun at the crowd.

The shooter reportedly sprayed the crowd in Theater 9 with bullets, stopping at least once to reload, according to witnesses. Authorities are now saying that 12 people have been confirmed dead and dozens more were injured in the attack.

"There was this one guy on all fours crawling. There was this girl spitting up blood. There were bullet holes in some people's backs, in some people's arms. There was one guy who was just stripped down to his boxers. It looked like he had been shot in the back or something," Donovan Tate told CBS Denver.

The alleged shooter, 24-year-old James Holmes, was taken into custody soon after the shooting in the parking lot of the Century 16 multiplex.

Complete coverage of the Colorado Theater Shooting on Crimesider

  • Julia Dahl

    Julia Dahl writes about crime and justice for CBSNews.com

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