UK & World News
Denver Cinema Shooting: Police Name The Dead
The names of the 12 people who were shot dead during a gun massacre in a Denver cinema have been released, with the youngest victim just six years old.
After notifying their families, police said the names and ages of 11 of those killed during one of America's most deadly shootings were:
Veronica Moser-Sullivan (6), Jessica Ghawi (24), John Larimer (27), Alexander Boik (18), Jesse Childress (29), Jonathan Blunk (26), Rebecca Wingo (32), Alex Sullivan (27), Gordon Cowden (51), Micayla Medek (23) and Alexander Teves (24).
The 12th victim was provisionally identified as 27-year old Matthew McQuinn. A coroner attributed all of the deaths to gunshot wounds.
Ten were killed at the scene, in the Denver suburb of Aurora, and another two died later of their injuries.
The list of victims' names came as police carried out controlled explosions in the apartment where suspected multiple killer, James Holmes, lived.
His flat had been booby-trapped with chemicals and trip wires.
Holmes, a 24-year-old former medical student, is in police custody accused of the crime in which 58 others were injured. Some remain in critical conditions in hospital.
He is being held in solitary confinement "for his own protection", according to the Arapahoe County sheriff.
Meanwhile, the White House announced that President Barack Obama will fly to Colorado on Sunday to honour the victims.
The US President had earlier promised justice for those killed and injured during the midnight screening of the new film, The Dark Knight Rises.
In a televised address Mr Obama said: "The federal government stands ready to do everything necessary to bring whoever's responsible for this heinous crime to justice.
"I'm sure many of you who are parents had the same reaction as I did when you first heard this news: 'What if it had been my daughters at the theatre?'
"Michelle and I will be fortunate to hug our children a little tighter this weekend, as I'm sure you will do with your children."
He added that the government "will take every step possible" to ensure the safety of all Americans.
Christian Bale, the actor who plays Batman in the film, also expressed his "horror" at the shooting spree.
In a statement the movie star said: "I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them."
The great-aunt of the youngest victim, six-year-old Veronica Moser, told reporters at the cinema where the shooting happened that the girl's mother, Ashley Moser, was still critically ill in hospital and could be paralysed after being shot in the neck.
Annie Dalton, her niece, said in her waking moments Ashley Moser was trying to ask about her daughter.
"Nobody can tell her about it," she said.
Jessica Ghawi's brother, Jordan, described how he heard the news his sister was caught-up in the shooting from his friend Brent who was with her in the cinema.
"He told me he was inside the theatre when some sort of incendiary or diversion device was deployed into the crowd, at which point the crowd began to rise out of their seats.
"Shots were fired. They dropped to the ground. My sister called 911, he attempted to call 911.
"My sister was struck by a round on the leg. He immediately, with his medical training, began to put pressure to that wound, to help stabilise her and she was screaming, and as he was on the ground, he took a round to the leg.
"And he realised my sister was no longer screaming. And he looked over and it appeared she had had a fatal shot direct to her head."
The family of Alex Sullivan released a statement celebrating the memory of their son. "The Sullivan family lost a cherished member of their family today," it said.
"Alex was smart, funny and, above all, loved dearly by his friends and family. Today was his 27th birthday. They respectfully ask that the media allow them time to grieve privately."
John Larimer was a US Navy sailor. His commanding officer paid tribute to "an outstanding shipmate".
"A valued member of our Navy team, he will be missed by all who knew him. My heart goes out to John's family, friends and loved ones, as well as to all victims of this horrible tragedy," Commander Jeffrey Jakuboski said.
Petty Officer Larimer was a cryptologic technician and had been stationed in Aurora since October 2011.
Matt McQuinn was killed after diving in front of his girlfriend and her older brother to shield them from the gunfire, according to the family attorney.
Christopher Nolan, director of The Dark Knight Rises, called the massacre a "senseless tragedy" that was "unbearably savage".
The Oscar-nominated filmmaker cancelled the French premiere of the film and a media junket in Paris hours after the shootings.
"Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew... I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community," he said.
The shooting halted campaigning in the US presidential race, but neither President Obama nor Republican challenger Mitt Romney addressed the volatile issue of gun control in America.
All the weapons used by Holmes were purchased legally, threatening to reignite the country's fierce debate on ownership of firearms.
Twenty years ago, polls showed that a substantial majority of Americans - nearly 80% - supported stricter limits on guns.
But now Americans appear evenly divided between those who want tougher restrictions and those who want to stick with current laws - which allow easy access to guns in many areas.