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“Neighbors report to us that he lives alone and kept to himself,” Chief Oates said.

CNN-TV reported that Mr. Holmes had dyed his hair red in order to look like the Joker from the previous “Dark Knight” movie, but Mr. Oates would not confirm the report. He also declined to confirm reports about how Mr. Holmes was able to enter a theater door that should have been locked.

“The most important thing is justice for these victims, and justice will occur in a courtroom,” Chief Oates said.

Mr. Holmes, who has obtained an attorney, will appear at 8:30 a.m. Monday for an initial hearing in Arapahoe County District Court.

Police said the suspect entered the theater through an exit door dressed in full ballistics gear: ballistics helmet, tactical ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, throat protector, groin protector and black tactical gloves.

“We are not speculating on motive,” Chief Oates said, adding that police believed Mr. Holmes acted alone.

Prior to Friday, Mr. Holmes‘ only previous run-in with Aurora police was a speeding ticket he received in October 2011.

Those caught in the crossfire were young, ranging in age from six to 31. A three-month-old baby was examined and released from one of a half-dozen area hospitals treating the victims, including Swedish Medical Center, Denver Health Medical Center, Aurora Medical Center, Children’s Hospital, Parker Adventist Hospital and University Hospital.

Hundreds of uninjured witnesses were transported by bus to nearby Gateway High School in Aurora, where they were questioned by authorities.

The shooting brought back painful memories of another Colorado massacre, the 1999 Columbine High School tragedy, in which two gunmen killed 13 before committing suicide. Columbine is located in Littleton on the west side of Denver, about 20 miles from Aurora, which lies just east of Denver.

Hayden Miller, who was watching the movie in another theater at the complex, told KUSA-TV in Denver that he heard 10 to 20 gunshots and the detonation of small explosives.

“After that, somebody pulled the fire alarm, and a guy over the PA system told everyone to evacuate,” Mr. Miller said. “They told us to get out through the outside exit, not the theater exit, and as soon as that happened we heard screaming.”

Mr. Miller said friends who also attended the midnight showing told him that the gunman moved from Theater 9 to Theater 8 to search for stragglers.

“It was chaotic. It was like something you’d see in a movie,” said Mr. Miller, who was in Theater 16. “It was surreal. Nobody really believed what was happening.”

The theater in this town of 332,000 just east of Denver was showing “The Dark Knight Rises” on four screens. Midnight showings throughout the nation were sold out in anticipation of the film, the third of the “Dark Knight” trilogy starring Christian Bale.

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