Dark Night Rises
Holmes’s plan was simple: cut off the main escape route, create panic and shoot as many moviegoers as possible
1 EXIT STAGE RIGHT
The movie begins just after midnight. Holmes has bought a ticket like anyone else. Pretending to use his mobile phone, he leaves the theatre through a fire exit. As he leaves he props the door open. Instead of using his phone, Holmes heads for his car.
2 COSTUME CHANGE
Holmes goes straight to his car parked near the entrance. On goes his gas mask, helmet, throat protector, ballistic leggings, boots and body armour. He takes the shotgun, rifle and one of his pistols, leaving the other handgun in the car. He heads back to the theatre.
3 THE MASSACRE BEGINS
Holmes hurls two gas grenades, one towards each side of the theatre. His rifle strapped across his back, he uses the shotgun first for maximum effect. Buckshot sprays across the theatre and panic ensues. Positioned near the main exit, Holmes is between his victims and their most obvious escape route.
4 CLOSE CALL, NARROW ESCAPE
Discarding his empty shotgun, Holmes unstraps his semi- automatic rifle. Jennifer Seeger comes face to face with Holmes, who aims straight at her but doesn’t fire. Instead he shoots another moviegoer standing behind.
His shooting is calm and methodical, picking his targets as he moves down the right side of the room. Seeger is lucky: she would later be interviewed, stating that she did not know why he didn’t shoot her.
5 COLL ATERAL DAMAGE
The 5.56mm round is designed for military use so is more powerful than many rifle bullets. One of them misses everybody in the room, penetrates the wall and hits a victim in theatre eight next door. Hundreds of 911 calls are now flooding into the Aurora Police Department, and officers respond immediately.
6 A STRANGE DECISION
Deciding that his mission is accomplished, Holmes simply leaves and walks outside. Faced with dozens of armed police, he makes an odd choice and surrenders instead of attacking. It’s unusual behaviour for a mass murderer, but unpredictability is one of Holmes’s hallmarks. Handing over his weapons, he is quickly taken into custody.
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