A video taken with a smartphone at the cinema in Aurora, near Denver, Colorado, shows the chaos and horror right after the Batman shooting took place.
Fifty others including children were wounded in the attack on the showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in a mall in the Aurora suburb, some of whom were treated for the effects of tear gas, hospital officials said.
Police said the Aurora gunman had appeared at the front of the theater during the movie and released a canister which let out a hissing sound at the theater before gunfire erupted.
Police spokesman Frank Fania said the suspect was thought to be in his early 20s. He was carrying a knife, a rifle and a handgun when arrested, and one other gun was recovered from the theater. The gunman was also wearing a bulletproof vest.
“He did not resist, he did not put up a fight,” Fania said.
CNN quoted one witness as saying he saw a “guy slowly making his way up the stairs and firing, picking random people.” Another witness said the gunman opened fire during a shoot-out scene in the movie, leading to confusion.
“We heard anywhere from 10 to 20 shots and little explosions going on. Shortly after that we heard people screaming. Then they came on PA system and said everyone needed to get out,” one witness told CNN.