A masked gunman has shot dead at least 12 people and wounded 50 others at a showing of new Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" in the US state of Colorado.
Police in the Denver suburb of Aurora said on Friday they had arrested a 24-year-old local man in a car park nearby in possession of a rifle, handgun and a knife.
They arrested the alleged gunman following chaotic scenes at a movie theatre at a local mall on Friday.
"This is a horrific event," Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates told a news conference, saying there was no evidence of a second gunman.
He told the news briefing that 10 people were killed on site and the others were later reported dead in area hospitals.
Some of the injured were children, with the youngest a 3-month-old baby. Victims were being treated for chemical exposure apparently related to canisters thrown by the gunman.
Dozens of police were at the scene, and the authorities evacuated the area while they checked if there was an explosive device in the area.
Denver's' KOA radio station said a figure in a gas mask had opened fire at the showing in a mall in the suburb of Aurora and set off a smoke or tear gas bomb.
'Mass casualty incident'
Police spokesman Frank Fania said a male suspect was arrested in the parking lot behind the theatre. "He did not resist, he did not put up a fight," he said.
The gunman "appeared at the front of the screen" in the theatre and started shooting, Fania said.
Fania said police received the first call about the shooting at 00:39 local time and responded within "a minute or two". Local hospitals were alerted to a "mass casualty incident".
A spokeswoman for Denver's Swedish Medical Center said three people had been admitted to that hospital with gunshot wounds and were in critical condition.
Another hospital, Denver Health, had received six wounded, one of whom was in critical condition, spokeswoman Kalena Wilkinson said.
Aurora is near the scene of the 1999 Columbine high school massacre, in which 13 people were shot dead and another 24 were wounded.
President Barack Obama on Friday said he was "shocked and saddened'' by a deadly mass shooting, and urged the nation to "come together as one American family".
Obama called the shooting "horrific and tragic'' and said his administration will do everything it can to support the people of Aurora.
According to the Hollywood Reporter plans for the film's red carpet premiere in the French capital Paris on Friday night have been cancelled.
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|Denis G. Rancourt|