AURORA, Colo. (ABC 4 News) - Twelve people were killed and 58 were injured in a shooting in a suburban movie theater outside of Denver, Colorado.
Hundreds packed the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado for a sold-out midnight premier of the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" when 24-year-old James Holmes allegedly came in the emergency exit of the theater and begin firing into the crowd
The number of victims makes the incident the largest mass shooting in United States history.
Holmes, an honors student and Ph.D candidate at the University of Colorado at Denver, allegedly entered the movie theater wearing a bullet-proof vest, helmet, leggings, gas mask, and gloves. Reports from the scene state the shooter detonated multiple smoke bombs, and then began firing at viewers in the sold-out movie theater.
Ten members of the audience were killed in theater with two other victims passing away at area hospitals. A number of other victims were in critical condition at six local hospitals, the Aurora police said Friday afternoon.
Holmes was subdued and arrested within minutes of the shooting at his car behind the theater, where police found him in full riot gear and carrying three weapons. One of the weapons was an AR-15 assault rifle. A fourth weapon was located by police inside the suspect's vehicle.
ABC News confirmed that all four weapons were purchased legally.
According to police sources, Holmes told police he was "The Joker," referring to the villain of the previous Batman movie, "The Dark Knight."
Police said Holmes warned officers his apartment was booby-trapped with explosives, leading officers to evacuate his apartment building.
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said today that a large number of explosive devices were located by police at Holmes' apartment. Explosive experts are currently investigating how to proceed without triggering any of the traps.
Christopher Ramos, a witness to the shooting, said, "People were running everywhere, running on top of me, like kicking me, jumping over me. And there were bodies on the ground."
"The image in our heads is stuck in there. I still have the ticket right here and honestly, I'm never going to forget this night at all. Because it was the first time I saw something that was real. Like a real-life nightmare that was there, not dreaming of," Ramos told ABC News.
Witnesses said they saw smoke and heard gunshots that they thought were part of the movie until they saw Holmes walking the aisles of the theater, shooting people at random, as panicked movie-watchers in the packed auditorium tried to escape.
Holmes moved to Colorado from San Diego to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of Colorado medical center. Aurora is located on the southeast outskirts of Denver, about 10 miles from downtown.
ABC News reports said police believe Holmes bought a ticket to the movie, slipped out of the theater after propping open the emergency exit. The suspect then put on his body armor and prepared for his assault at his car.
A San Diego woman identifying herself as James Holmes's mother spoke briefly with ABC News this morning.
The woman said, "You have the right person."
The family of the alleged shooter released a statement saying their "hearts go out to those who involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy."
Stay with ABC 4 and ABC4.com for more on this developing story.