A three-month-old baby is reported to be the youngest victim among those injured during the Colorado movie theater massacre at a "The Dark Knight Rises" midnight showing Friday, giving rise to a debate about taking children to such late-night screenings.
- (Reuters/Jason Hatfield)
Twelve people were killed during the attack, and about 38 in total were injured in the mass shooting, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said. The incident took place at the Century 16 Movie Theater at the Aurora Town Center, a suburb of Denver.
The lone suspect, 24-year-old James Holmes, was apprehended by police outside the movie theater, wearing a gas mask and a bullet-proof vest. He is said to have opened up a can of tear-gas in the movie theater before firing at the crowd in the packed theater.
Some sources, like local Denver reporter Justin Joseph of KDVR-TV, reported that a baby was shot at point-blank range.
"As people ran this gunman, or gunmen, opened fire hitting people," Joseph said. "Police sources have told us there are 10 bodies inside the cinema, most of them children or teenagers, and one baby."
"A baby was shot at point blank range, the family were [sic] gathered around screaming," he clarified.
The baby was reportedly taken to a local Children's Hospital, though ABC News revealed that the infant was released from the hospital and was not that seriously injured. Several other young children were also among the wounded, including a 6-year-old boy who was also taken to the hospital.
Commentators on various social media sites, such as Twitter, have used the incident to raise the question of how wise it is to bring very young children to midnight movie screenings of violent movies. "The Dark Knight Rises" is Rated PG-13, which means that children under 13 years of age can still see the movie if they are accompanied by an adult.
"Kids as young as 3 months old were injured. Why are we bringing 3-month-olds to a midnight screening of this movie?" asked ErikDavis on Twitter.
"Who takes a 3-month old to the movies at midnight, to watch Batman? Don't mean to be insensitive, but as a parent, WTF?" added @ashcan karbasfroosha.
User "Elpresador" expressed: "Seriously when u take a 3 month old to a movie it tells me u couldn't find a babysitter and the movie takes precedent over your kid."
Most, however, have chosen to express sympathy for the victims, including the wounded baby.
"The 3 month old had every right to be in that theater. You know who didn't have a right to be there? The crazed gunman," wrote @JasFly.
"If I hear one more ignoramus say 'they shouldn't have brought a 3 month old to a theater' I'm gonna scream! Don't blame the victims," argued Sarah.
Scott Parks said: "Thank God!!! CBS News reports 3 month old victim is doing well and has been released from hospital."
One user, Christopher, wanted to see the response of the National Rifle Association to the incident as the shooter had been able to get his hands on a number of deadly weapons.
"The #NRA should be happy today. Nothing says #2ndAmendmentRights like shooting a 6-year old and a 3-month old," the user wrote.