Though it happened several states over — in Colorado — the news of at least 12 people dead and dozens of people injured during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises," really hit home for some Milwaukee area residents.
"It's scary. I know people that went to the midnight show here and if I was able to I would have gone to one," Stephen Milek posted on the Greendale Patch Facebook page. "What should have been an exciting weekend for movie fans is now overshadowed by this senseless tragedy. "
Lisa Miller wrote on the Greenfield Patch Facebook page that she would actually be hesitant to hit the theaters after hearing the news.
"Tragedy can strike anywhere, any time, and no one is immune," Miller wrote. "We can't allow that fact to prevent us from living life.That being said ... in honesty I would be hesitant to see the movie itself in theaters, out of fear of copycat syndrome."
Police have identified the armed gunman who raided the midnight showing as 24-year-old James Holmes of Aurora, the city in which the shooting took place, according to an article on Mercurynews.com.
Fox6news.com reports 59 people were injured, one of those being a 3-month-old infant.
News of the tragedy quickly spread across the nation on Friday.
"Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time," President Barack Obama said in a press release. " As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family."
Obama also issued a statement calling for flags to be flown at half-mass through July 25 to honor the victims.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney also issued a statement after the tragedy.
"Our hearts break for the victims and their families. We pray that the wounded will recover and that those that re grieving will feel the nearness of God," he said. "This morning Colorado lost youthful voices which would have brightened their homes, enriched their schools and brought joy to the families."
'Shocking,' 'Crazy,' 'Disgusting'
But even with the reach of this tragic event, not everyone had heard of the shooting by Friday afternoon.
At the Marcus Majestic Theater in Waukesha, one young woman was shocked to learn about the tragedy while one man just shook his head and called the gunman "crazy."
Three Milwaukee residents knew about the shooting but it didn’t stop them from attending The Dark Knight Rises.
"These type of things happen," Rick Lopez said.
Joining Lopez at the theater were Lorenzo and Marcelino Guerrero. Lorenzo Guerrero described the incident as "disgusting," while Marcelino Guerrero said he was "shocked, surprised" but that he wasn’t too concerned about being at the theater.
"Still, I had thoughts about it," Marcelino Guerrero said.
A Friday night Paris premiere of the movie has been canceled, according to the Associated Press.
But here, the show goes on
Despite the cancellation in Paris, Marcus Theatres said its shows will go on. Here is an official statement from the company:
“We are saddened by the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, the associates at the Century Theater and the Aurora community.
These senseless, random acts of violence, by disturbed individuals, can happen anywhere, but had never occurred in a U.S. movie theatre in its 110-year history. Safety and security of our guests and associates is always a priority concern. We will take appropriate measures to have our security precautions in place today and every day.
All showings of “Dark Knight Rises” and all other motion pictures at all Marcus Theatres will go on as scheduled.”
Blake Stehoviach showed up to South Shore Cinema in Oak Creek about a half hour before the 1:30 p.m. screening of the Dark Knight Rises, wearing his black Batman shirt and Batman hat.
He couldn’t believe when he heard the news this morning and said it even gave him pause about going today, but it wasn’t going to stop him. He’s a Batman die-hard and has seen every on-screen adaptation, even the original depictions in the 1940s.
"It actually made me kind of nervous thinking about it, but I thought, 'It’s probably just an isolated thing,'" he said. "I've been a Batman fan forever. It ain’t going to change it for me."
Holmes is a graduate of a San Diego high school. He was living in Aurora where he attended the University of Colorado School of Medicine, according to the Associated Press. A spokeswomen at the university said he withdrew about a month ago, but with no reason.
His family, still in California, is cooperating with authorities — according to the article — and they are believed to have nothing to do with the shooting.
"Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved," the family said in a statement released by police.
Tiny details have surfaced about who Holmes is, pointing to his "quiet and easy going," personality, according to an article on USAToday.com. According to an article on MSNBC.com, Holmes started buying his four weapons legally in May, around the same time he dropped out.
Carlsbad Patch has more information about Holmes, including information from neighbors.
Holmes' next door neighbor Tom Mai said he was "shocked" to hear about the Aurora shooting, describing the alleged shooter as a "very nice guy."
"I cannot imagine this happening," said Mai, 61, who said he has lived here since 1983.
Mai said Holmes was struggling to find a job after studying neuroscience in college, and he went to Colorado to go back to school. The Holmes family was kind, Mai said, inviting his family over for Christmas parties in the 10 years they had been neighbors.
Mai has four children, including 16-year-old Anthony Mai who described James Holmes as a happy guy who walked around smiling.
Speculation has already arisen about the similarities between the shooting and parts of the new movie, but no other reason or rhyme has been discovered.
Stephanie Steiner-Thorne commented on the Greenfield Patch Facebook page about the incident, turning her attention toward the suspect.
"I just read about that," she wrote. "Very sad and absolutely crazy! I'm interested to hear more about his behavior and background. It's sad to hear these types of things and the suspect just snaps one day and had no criminal history and stuff. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families."
How do you react to this tragedy? Tell us in the comments.