Undercover officers to patrol theaters after Colorado shooting
Police agencies and movie exhibitors plan increased security -- and new rules inside movie theaters -- in the wake of the Colorado "Dark Knight" shooting that left 12 dead and scores hurt.
Los Angeles Police Department officials promised "high-visibility patrol" of theaters as well as other entertainment venues, using both uniformed and undercover officers. Officials did not provide details about the planned operations.
“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.
In Aurora Colo., where the shootings occurred, the movie theater still contained the bodies of 10 of the 12 people who died. The apartment of the suspect, James Holmes, had been booby-trapped with explosives and chemicals.
“We’ve taken a blow today, but we’ll get back on our feet,” Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan told reporters.
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.
The numbers varied, but almost three dozen people remained at as many as six hospitals. 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.
Police Chief Oates walked reporters through the city’s night of horror. He would not discuss a possible motive for the shootings, but painted a conflicting portrait of suspect James Holmes, who went to school in the San Diego area and was a graduate student in neuroscience in Colorado.
-- Andrew Blankstein