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Witnesses describe terror as gunman opens fire in movie theater



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Tanner Coon told the NBC "Today" show he was at the movie with a friend and his friend’s 12-year-old brother when about 20 minutes into the movie the gunman appeared. Coon said that when they realized they were being shot at, they got on the floor in front of their seats.

After "a period of quiet" everyone started to run out.

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At least 12 people were killed and about 50 were being treated at Denver area hospitals after a shooting at a midnight showing of Batman, the youngest a 4-month-old baby who has been released.

Twenty-two people were at University of Colorado Hospital, including the baby, for gunshot and shrapnel wounds.

Many victims being treated in at least six hospitals were under 40, including a 6-year-old taken to Children’s Hospital Colorado. The oldest reported patient is 45.

Besides gunshot wounds, some patients at the Medical Center of Aurora were treated for chemical exposure, most likely from tear gas. Patients there ranged from 16 to 31.

An emergency room doctor at the University of Colorado Hospital says the scene was chaotic, with patients dropped off by police cars, ambulances and regular cars.

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He said he went to a row behind him and "slipped on some blood and landed" on a woman. He said he shook her, telling her they needed to get out, but she was unresponsive and he "presumed she was dead." He said the 12-year-old was "freaking out" and "really upset" after they escaped the theater.

Jaime Marshall, 23, said she had tickets to theater 9, where the gunman opened fire, but had decided before the movie to watch next door in theater 8 with friends.

She said that about 20 minutes in, as a shooting scene played out on the screen, she heard "fire cracker" sounds, and thought someone might be playing a joke. Marshall said people started leaving en masse and the alarm system started blaring. Marshall said she and her friends just sat there confused until someone ran in and told people not to go into the lobby because "someone’s shooting people out there."

She said she wasn’t sure if it was a prank, but the group decided to leave. Marshall said that as she made her way out of the theater, she saw a girl with a gunshot wound to her leg.

Moviegoer William Kent told CBS "This Morning" he was in theater 8, next door to the theater where the shooting happened.

"There was a lot going on in the soundtrack of the movie at that time. So in the beginning, I don’t think people realized what was happening," he said.


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Kent said he saw pieces of the wall fall out, apparently as shots came through, and the emergency alarm went off. The theater told people to leave.

"There was huge commotion to get out of the theater and when I exited, there were police with assault rifles running in."

"I went out to enjoy a movie and I ended up in a gruesome thing. I don’t know how you would qualify it. I think it seems like a terrorist act."

Nichole Griek said her 13- and 14-year-old daughters were in the theater when they saw a man dressed in black and wearing a mask step out of the shadows at the front of the theater. They thought he was part of the movie presentation, before he threw out a canister that started smoking and opened fire.

Griek’s daughters and their friends bolted from the theater, leaving behind their cellphones, shoes and other belongings. Griek’s daughters were unhurt.

"You’d think you’d be able to drop your kid off at the movie theaters, but you can’t," she said.

Chandler Brannon tells ABC’s "Good Morning America" he was in the theater with his girlfriend when he saw smoke and heard popping sounds that he at first believed were fireworks.

When he realized they were gunshots, Brannon said he and his girlfriend and others ducked. He said he and his girlfriend played dead as what sounded like 50 to 70 shots were fired.

He said that because of the smoke, he didn’t get a good look at the shooter but saw a silhouette of a person with a gun.

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