Colorado shooting: 'Dark Knight' plays with tight security, undercover cops
Amid tightened security, "The Dark Knight Rises" screened at movie theaters across Southern California on Friday without major incident.
Police were out in force both inside and outside theaters in the wake of the shooting in Colorado that left 12 people dead.
Officials said they were concerned about possible copycats as well as troublemakers who might use the fears sparked by the shooting to cause mayhem at theaters.
The Los Angeles Police Department, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and smaller law enforcement agencies plan extra patrols through the weekend and beyond at theaters.
Theaters also tightened security. At the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live in downtown, ushers checked the purses of some patrons before they entered the show.
“I am outraged by the cowardly attack on innocent movie patrons in Colorado last night," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those innocent victims. Since Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world, it is important that we all remain vigilant and do everything we can to prevent incidents like this from occurring in our communities. Remember, if you see something, say something.”
Long Beach police will also be on alert.
"Although it does appear to be an isolated incident, we are always concerned a violent act of this scale could occur at a place where the public gathers. We hope a tragedy like this never takes place in our community, but we continuously train and are prepared to respond should this type of situation ever arise," said Patrol Deputy Chief Robert Luna.
The San Diego Police Department and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department have both instructed beat officers to make extra patrols near theaters showing “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Deputies have had “active-shooter” training, some as recently as this week, on how to respond to calls about a shooter stalking a crowded space such as a school, mall or theater, said sheriff's spokeswoman Jan Caldwell.
San Diego police officers have been encouraged “to make contact with the theater management to be aware of what is going on and [tell managers] to call if they notice suspicious behavior or have problems,” said department spokesman Lt. Andra Brown.
In Aurora, Colo., where the shootings occurred, Mayor Steve Hogan told reporters, “We’ve taken a blow today, but we’ll get back on our feet.”
Ten people died in the theater, two at hospitals. Fifty-nine were wounded, said Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates, adding that “many” were in critical condition.
Some of the injured were children, taken by adults to see a movie starring a comic book hero. At University Hospital, spokesman Chris Casey said, 23 people were treated, ranging in age from 3 months to 45 years.
-- Andrew Blankstein in Los Angeles and Tony Perry in San Diego