Ten of the victims died at the theater and two others at area hospitals.
Aurora Police identified the suspected shooter as 24-year-old James Holmes, whose apartment four miles away on the 1600 block of Paris Street in Aurora, was booby trapped. Authorities are confident the gunman acted alone.
Related story: Suspect's apartment 'booby-trapped'
According to the Associated Press, Holmes bought a ticket to the midnight showing and went into the theater as part of the crowd.
A federal law enforcement official said Holmes is believed to have propped open an exit door in the theater as the movie was playing, donned protective ballistic gear and opened fire.
Police said he had an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, and two .40-caliber Glock handguns. Holmes is also believed to have hurled a gas canister into the theater before opening fire.
Related story: AP: Holmes not cooperating, called self 'Joker'
According to sources, Holmes purchased the guns at three different metro Denver stores in the past two months.
Police say he purchased 6,000 rounds of ammunition online. They say with that amount of ammo, Holmes could have shot 50 to 60 rounds in one minute.
Holmes' motive is still unknown.
Area hospitals respond
Victims were transported by police, ambulance and by personal vehicles to several area hospitals.
Related story: Theater shooting: Hospitals respond quickly to devastating theater shooting
University Hospital, Children's Hospital Colorado, Medical Center of Aurora, Denver Health Medical Center and Swedish Medical Center all took patients from the shooting.
- John Blunk, 26
- AJ Boik, 18
- Jesse E. Childress, 29
- Gordon W. Cowden, 51
- Jessica Ghawi, 24 - Related Story: Theater shooting: Brother of victim: 'Remember her smile'
- John Larimer, 27
- Matt McQuinn, 27
- Micayla Medek, 23
- Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6
- Alex Sullivan, 27
- Alexander Teves, 24
- Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32
Related story: Names of victims emerge in Colo. theater rampage
Suspect attended University Of Colorado Denver
Holmes was in the process of withdrawing from The University of Colorado Denver's graduated program in neurosciences.
Police evacuated two research buildings on the campus as a precaution. University of Colorado-Denver Police Chief Doug Abraham sent a campus-wide email Friday ordering all non-essential personnel to leave the campus or stay home.
Related story: Campus research buildings evacuated after shooting
Holmes' family releases statement
Holmes family in California released the following statement regarding the shooting:
"Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time. Our family is cooperating with authorities in both San Diego, California and Aurora, Colorado. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy."
Suspect bought guns legally
Police say there was nothing illegal about the guns and ammunition he allegedly used during a Colorado movie theater attack.
"All the weapons that he possessed, he possessed legally," Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said. "And all the clips that he possessed, he possessed legally. And all the ammunition that he possessed, he possessed legally."
The four weapons recovered following the shootings were purchased by the suspect from retail gun stores in Colorado in the last two months, authorities said Friday.
Related story: Police: Colo. shooting suspect bought guns legally
Suspect segregated in jail
Arapahoe County officials say Holmes is being held in administrative segregation. Jail officials say there has been no direct threats against Holmes but removed him from the general population due to the high-profile nature of the case.
Jail officials say Holmes is not on suicide watch and has not had any visitors since he entered the Arapahoe County Jail Friday.
Related story: Shooting suspect segregated in Arapaho County Jail
Long legal process ahead for suspect
Holmes is due in court Monday morning. 9NEWS Legal Analyst Robinson says people can expect a simple advisement procedure on that day.
"I would suspect it's too early for the defense to be raising competency - which will probably happen - and it'll be too early for the prosecution to have charges together," Robinson told 9NEWS.
Competency is a large debate in this case.
Related story: Long legal process ahead for theater shooting suspect James Holmes
"It was chaotic," one witness told 9NEWS. "We saw people running. We heard screaming from other theaters."
"It was actually during a shootout scene during the movie where this popping started happening," Donovan Tate told 9NEWS. "I thought it was like fireworks or firecrackers like someone playing a prank or joke. Oh yeah, it was surreal," Tate said. "It was horrific site. Once outside, you saw people with blood all over their clothes. I had friends scattered throughout the theater. Some were hit, but none of them were too serious. Another one of my friends we're not too sure about him, but we're praying for him."
"I walked out and to my right, there was a girl shot in her knee - holding onto her mom and crying," another witness said. "I actually went to the back of the building where there were more victims. A guy with his leg blown open ... another guy shot in the foot ... a lady shot in her hand."
First responders scarred from shooting
John Nicoletti was on scene of the Columbine High School shootings, responded at the Platte Canyon shooting and was part of a team who did an assessment at Virginia Tech. He spoke to 9NEWS Saturday morning about how first responders can be survivors just as much as the victims can.
"They did a heroic job," John Nicoletti, a police psychologist, said. "They went in there and got those people out. There are images and things that folks have to live with."
Related story: Police psychologist: Theater shooting 'shattered comfort zones'
How you can help
Aurora Police set up a tipline at 720-913-STOP (7867). Families can call 303-739-1862 for update.
Bonfils Blood Center is currently accepting appointments from community members wanting to donate blood on behalf of the Aurora movie theatre shootings that occurred early this morning. All six Denver metro donor centers are open today until 7 p.m. and there are also mobile drives open to the public. Please call 303-363-2300 or visit www.bonfils.org to schedule your appointment and find a donor center/mobile drive nearest you. We are particularly in need of O-, A- and platelets and ask that donors with those blood types please consider donating. As of this time, Bonfils has met the needs of the local hospitals involved in this tragedy and is asking that donors not only donate today but make appointments in the coming days to help replenish our blood supply.
The Simon Mall in Aurora is closed on Friday out of the respect of the victim's family and to help cooperate with the investigation.
The Aurora Town Center is in the 14000 block of East Alameda Avenue in Aurora.
Metro Crisis Hotline for victims, families and friends: 1-888-885-1222. 24-hour hotline numbers with the Denver Center for Crime Victims: 303-894-8000 (English), 303-718-8289 (Español), 303-860-9555 (TTY).
How to to talk to your kids
"There's some things parents can say to help reduce fears and anxieties with the children," Anya Bebe, a child therapist and parent coach, said. "I had to sit down [Friday] with my children too. So one of the best things to do is to let them know enough information so they're not hearing it first from the news, or the TV or friends. So, you want to give them the information yourself."
Bebe says the best way to start is to let them know the end of the story first because it helps reduce anxiety.
Related story: Counselor: How to talk to kids about the theater shooting
"We are deeply saddened about this tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and loved ones. Our employees and the aurora community. WE are greatful for the quic k and professional reaction of all local law enforcement and emergency responders. We are working closely with the aurora police department and local law enforcement."
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