Queen sends message after shootings

Tom Sullivan embraces family members after searching in vain for his son Alex who celebrated his birthday by going to see The Dark Knight Rises (AP)

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates talks to reporters at the Aurora Mall where 12 people were shot dead at the Batman film screening (AP)

President Barack Obama pauses while he speaks about the events in Colorado during a campaign stop in Fort Myers (AP)

First published in National News © by

The Queen has sent her "heartfelt sympathy" to US President Barack Obama and the American people after a fatal shooting at a cinema in Colorado.

A total of 71 people were during midnight screenings of the new Batman movie. Twelve were killed, 10 of them at the cinema in Aurora, Denver, while another 59 adults and children were wounded.

US police arrested 24-year-old James Holmes, whose apartment four miles away was booby trapped.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said investigators are confident the gunman acted alone.

Mr Oates added Holmes wore body armour, used an assault rifle, a shotgun and a Glock handgun. His car was parked at the back of the cinema.

Mr Oates said there were four showings of the film at the time and all were sold out. Some movie-goers said they thought Friday's attack was part of The Dark Knight Rises, one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer.

Then they saw a silhouette of a person in the smoke at the front of the theatre, pointing a gun at the crowd.

"There were bullet (casings) just falling on my head. They were burning my forehead," said Jennifer Seeger, adding that the gunman, dressed like a SWAT team member, fired steadily except when he stopped to reload.

"Every few seconds it was just boom, boom, boom," Seeger said. "He would reload and shoot and anyone who would try to leave would just get killed."

It was the worst mass shooting in the US since an Army psychiatrist killed 13 soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, and brought memories of the massacre at nearby Columbine High School in 1999, where two students opened fire and killed 12 classmates and a teacher.

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