|Lalit K Jha,
Washington, Jul 20 - Crowds thronging a cinema hall in the US for the much-awaited premiere of a new Batman movie today witnessed a macabre dance of death as a masked gunman opened indiscriminate fire, killing 14 people and injuring 50.
The gunman in full body armour opened fire at the cinema complex in Aurora at Denver, Colorado, at a midnight showing of the latest Batman flick, 'The Dark Knight Rises', starring Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway, witnesses said.
Forcing an entry into the hall through an emergency exit door in theatre 9, the shooter wearing a gas mask threw some sort of disorienting smoke bomb and then sprayed the people with automatic gunfire, witnesses were quoted as saying by local 9News.
The gunman, reported to be an adult male in early 20s, was taken into custody by the police. The suspect told the police that he had explosives in his apartment, which has now been evacuated.
FBI has rushed to the shooting scene and is investigating the incident. Police said 14 people were killed and 50 others injured in the mass shooting. Of the 14 killed, ten died on the spot while four succumbed to their injuries in hospital.
Police said they received the call about the shooting incident about 1 am local time at the Century 16 Movie Theatre.
Police from all over the metro area were rushed to the shooting incident, as the Americans woke up to the tragic news. There is no report of casualty or injury to any Indian- American. The entire area has been evacuated.
A witness, Benjamin Fernandez, 30, was quoted as saying by The Denver Post that he heard of a series of explosions when he was watching the movie.
He said people ran from the theatre and there were gunshots as police shouted 'get down!" CNN quoted one witness saying: "A guy slowly making his way up the stairs and firing - picking random people."
Police said the suspect appeared from nowhere and started shooting at those inside the theatre. The gunman, they said, was in possession of a gun and a rifle when he was arrested.
Another gun was found from the theatre. The reason for the shooting was not known immediately and he was being interrogated, the local police said. Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said that there was no evidence of a second suspect.
The Denver suburb of Aurora is near the scene of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, in which 13 people were killed and 24 others injured. PTI