South Florida Batman fans went to cinemas Friday to see the latest
film, despite a mass shooting just after midnight at an Aurora, Colo.,
screening of the movie.
At the sold-out, 1:50 p.m. screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" at Fort Lauderdale's AutoNationIMAX theater, there was a moment of silence for the 12 dead and 59 injured victims.
Moviegoers were assured that law enforcement was on site at the downtown Fort Lauderdale complex at 401 S.W. Second Street. A public affairs announcement warned that backpacks and large purses were prohibited inside, for safety reasons.
Earlier in the day at another South Florida theater, it was not sold out and there was a light police presence.
At the Cinemark Paradise 24 theaters in Davie, Cynthia Colina and her son Joshua, 10, came from Miami Lakes for the day's first show at 9:30 a.m. and to see it in XD on a wall-to-wall screen.
Colina was unaware of the shootings that happened outside of Denver, where police say a gunman identified as James Holmes, 24, --wearing black clothing and a ballistic helmet, throat guard and vest, gas mask and gloves -- appeared at the front of one of the theaters, threw some type of gas or explosive device and began shooting.
In Aurora, where patrons were enjoying that classic summer ritual, a night at the movies, police said the carnage that happened even struck a victim who was in an adjoining theater.
"Oh my gosh," Colina said after learning of the mass shooting. "That's why I come to the early one, so the crazies don't come out."
Aurora Police said at an afternoon press conference that they received "hundreds" of 911 calls at 12:39 a.m. Mountain Time Friday that brought more than 200 officers to the scene.
Police said Holmes did not resist, and that an assault rifle; shotgun and two .40-caliber Glock handguns were recovered.
Motives for the accused shooter were not revealed at a press conference that was carried live on national TV.
His residence in Aurora was rigged with trip wires and possible explosive devices that were being analyzed by bomb technicians, police said. Neighbors in five buildings were evacuated.
An FBI spokesman said Friday, "at this point, there is no nexis to terrorism."
Area malls near Aurora were closed, officials said, even though they emphasized the shootings were an isolated event and a second suspect was not being sought.
The victims were taken to at least six area hospitals, police said.
"This is one of the most horrific nights I've ever had to work," Comilla Sasson, who works at University of Colorado Hospital where 22 patients ranging in age from three months to 45 years-old arrived in private cars, police cars and ambulances, told Reuters.
Colina, in Davie, said she was not afraid to bring her boy to see the film.
"Crime's gonna happen, whether it's this or any movie," she said.
Friends and Gamestop co-workers Jason Corbo, 25 of Miramar, and Jesse Martin, 24, of Davie, also arrived early to see "The Dark Knight Rises" at the Davie Cinemark location, where 32 screenings of the movie were to happen through midnight on both Friday and Saturday.
"We had to see it first thing, because all of the people at work would be
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