In a scene chillingly similar to the Batman movie on the screen, a black-clad gunman opened fire in a packed US cinema, killing 12 and wounding 59.
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Police tape cordons off the parking area around the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, July 20, 2012 where a gunman opened fire during the showing of the new Batman movie. AFP
Bloodbath as gunman kills 12 at US Batman screening
By Leila Macor (AFP)
AURORA, Colorado — A masked, black-clad gunman in full body armor opened fire at a packed US movie theater showing the new Batman film Friday in a bloodbath which left at least 12 dead and nearly 60 injured.
Chaos erupted when the gunman tossed two tear gas or smoke grenades into the audience at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," then gunned down terrified patrons as they scrambled for the exits.
Police arrested the suspect – identified as 24-year-old James Holmes -- without encountering resistance by his car at the rear of the theater, in Aurora, a suburb of the city of Denver, in Colorado.
Holmes, who reportedly attended the University of Colorado medical school until last month, had no criminal record aside from a citation for speeding in October 2011, according to police.
His nearby apartment was found to be booby-trapped with a sophisticated arsenal of incendiary and chemical devices, which police chief Dan Oates said could take days to defuse.
"This is the act ... of a very deranged mind," said Colorado governor John Hickenlooper at a press conference, where Oates revealed that at least three weapons were used in the attack, which injured 59, many critically.
A distraught woman is counseled by a pastor and an unidentified person in front of Gateway High School in Aurora, Colorado where the families of the missing were meeting following the shooting at the Century 16 movie theater. AFP
Witnesses described chaos chillingly similar to that depicted in the Batman films, in which maniacal villains terrorise Gotham City.
"I saw some people start to get up. I poked my head up to see what was going on and when I did that I saw another flash and instantly put my head down as he started shooting again," said 17-year-old Tanner Coon.
Chris Jones, who was in the theater, said the shooting began about 20 to 30 minutes into the screening.
"People just started dropping. We were on the floor trying not to get shot," he said. "There was smoke. Then I heard 'bam, bam, bam.' The gunman didn't have to stop to reload. Shots just kept coming, kept coming, kept coming."
Oates, the Aurora police chief, said the suspect set off two devices to distract the crowd and opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington shotgun and a Glock automatic pistol.
At least two of the weapons were purchased legally, according to the gun seller which sold them to Holmes, Bass Pro Shops.
"Based on the records we have reviewed, personnel in our Denver store correctly and fully followed all federal requirements with respect to the sale of one shotgun and one handgun," it said in a statement.
Ten people were killed at the scene and two more died of their wounds, police said. At least three of the wounded were US military members. A local children's hospital reported six young victims, the youngest was aged only six.
cordon off – to stop people from entering an area by putting something such as a rope around it กั้นด้วยเชือกหรือเครื่องกั้น
bloodbath – a situation in which many people are killed violently การฆาตกรรมหมู่
masked – wearing something to cover part or all of your face in order to hide who you are ซึ่งสวมหน้ากาก
clad – dressed or covered สวมใส่
armor – special clothing that soldiers wear to protect their bodies while fighting เสื้อเกราะ, เกราะป้องกัน
packed – crowded; full of people or things แน่น
injured – hurt in an accident or attack ซึ่งได้รับบาดเจ็บ
chaos – a situation in which everything is confused and in a mess การจราจล
erupt – to start suddenly ปะทุขึ้น
toss – to throw something lightly or carelessly โยน
grenade – a small bomb that someone throws or fires from a gun ลูกระเบิดเล็ก
terrified – very frightened ตกใจ, ใจหาย, ขวัญหนี
patron – a customer; someone who uses a particular entertainment place, hotel, restaurant, etc. ลูกค้า
scramble – to do something in a hurry รีบเร่ง
exit – a place for leaving a building or area; a way out of a building or area ทางออก
arrest – (of the police) taking someone to a police station because they are believed to have committed a crime การจับกุม
suspect – a person who is thought to have committed a crime ผู้ต้องสงสัย
identified – named ระบุชื่อ
encounter – to experience something, especially something unpleasant or difficult, while you are trying to do something else เจอ, ประสบ
resistance – a refusal to accept something or allow it to happen การต่อต้าน, การขัดขืน
rear – back ด้านหลัง
suburb – an area or town near a large city but away from its centre ชานเมือง
citation – a summons; an order to appear in court หมายเรียก,หมายศาล
booby-trap – to place a hidden explosive in or on something that explodes when it is touched วางทุ่นระเบิด
sophisticated – complicated and advanced in design ที่มีการออกแบบให้ซับซ้อน
arsenal – a collection of weapons อาวุธจำนวนมาก
incendiary – of a material that is designed to make a fire start burning when it explodes วัตถุก่อไฟ, วัตถุระเบิด
device – a piece of equipment that does a particular job อุปกรณ์ เครื่องมือ
defuse – to stop a bomb from exploding by removing its fuse การถอดชนวนระเบิด
deranged – unable to behave and think normally, especially because of mental illness ควบคุมตัวเองไม่ได้เพราะป่วยทางจิต
press conference – an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it การแถลงข่าว
reveal – to let something become known เปิดเผย
critically (injured, ill) – very seriously ill or injured and might die อาการหนัก
distraught – extremely upset, worried or confused จิตว้าวุ่น, ว้าวุ่นใจ, สับสน
counsel – to listen to and give support or professional advice to somebody who needs help ให้คำปรึกษา, ให้คำแนะนำ
pastor – a minister in charge of a Christian church or group ศาสนนาจารย์ ประจำโบสถ์ในคริสเตียน
unidentified – not known or not revealed ไม่ระบุ
missing – not present, but not known to have been harmed or killed หายไป, สูญหาย
witness – a person who sees something happen ผู้ที่เห็นเหตุการณ์
chilling – frightening, usually because it is connected with something violent or cruel น่าหวาดกลัว
depict – to represent or show something in a picture or story พรรณนา, บรรยายให้เห็นภาพ
maniacal – wild or violent คลั่งไคล้, หลงใหล
villain – a bad character in a play, film or story ตัวร้าย
terrorise – to make someone feel very frightened by threatening to kill or hurt them คุกคาม ทำให้กลัว
poke up – to quickly move into an uncovered position ทิ่มไว้ด้านนอก, สอด
flash – something that shines very brightly for a short time แสงวาบขึ้นมา
instantly – immediately ทันที
distract – to take your attention away from something ทำให้ไขว้เขว เสียสมาธิ
rifle – a large long gun used in that you hold against your shoulder to fire ปืนยาว, ปืนไรเฟิล
assault rifle – an automatic rifle in the magazine (section of gun that holds bullets ที่ใส่กระสุน) can be taken off an replaced
pistol – a small gun that you hold in one hand ปืนพก,ปืนสั้น
legally – correct according to the law ตามกฎหมาย
review – to study or examining a situation, policy, or idea again in order to decide whether it is suitable or satisfactory ทบทวน
personnel – the people who are employed in a company, organisation or one of the armed forces บุคลากร, เจ้าหน้าที่, พนักงาน
federal – relating to the central government, and not to the government of a region, of some countries such as the United States เกี่ยวกับสหพันธรัฐ
requirement – something that you must have or do in order to do or get something else ข้อกำหนด, ข้อบังคับ
scene – site; a place where something happens or happened สถานที่เกิดเหตุ
wound – an injury in which your skin or flesh is damaged บาดแผล
victim – someone who has been harmed, injured or killed as the result of a crime เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย