This morning, Colorado woke to learn news of a mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora. According to the Aurora Police Department, just past midnight, a gunman opened fire at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises at the Century 16 Theater (located at 14300 East Alameda Avenue, just east of Interstate 225). Police have confirmed 12 people are dead and close to 50 are injured as a result of the shooting.
The shooting was first reported at 12:39 a.m. When police arrived on scene, they found the person suspected of the shooting behind the theater. According to Aurora officer and PIO Frank Fena, police took the suspect into custody immediately; he did not resist arrest. Follow the department on Twitter at @AuroraPD for more information.
Our thoughts are with the Aurora community today as police officers continue to work at the scene and attempt to connect family and friends with victims. In the meantime, here are a few ways to help.
1. Call the tip hotline: If you saw or heard anything that can help the police, call 303-739-1862 or 720-913-STOP. Police are also using this number to field inquiries about victims.
2. Contact the Red Cross: The local Red Cross office can be reached at 303-722-7474. Police are instructing members of the public interested in helping the community to call this number.
3. Stay informed: Call 303-739-1862; follow the hashtag "#theatershooting"; read this Twitter feed curated by Poynter; or check in with the Denver Post for the latest information. Here's another take by the Atlantic on how news of the shooting spread.
4. Donate blood: Sadly, tragedies like this remind us that we should also focus on prepardness, like regular donations to blood banks. Contact the Bonfills Blood Center to learn more about how to donate. Officials have indicated that they are looking for type O negative blood.
5. Talk to someone: Contact a crisis counselor with the Aurora Mental Health Center by calling 303-617-2300, or visiting the Center's offices at 11059 East Bethany Drive in Aurora.
6. Build community: There are several gatherings, prayer vigils, and support groups being organized, like the Community Cares Meet-up at the Thrive Community Recreation Center (Sunday: 1-5 p.m.; 15528 East Hampden Circle, Aurora) or a prayer vigil with State Representative Rhonda Fields at Kaiser Permanente (Friday: 7 p.m.; 14701 East Exposition Avenue, Aurora). —NG
7. Donate: Denver-based iGivefirst is raising donations for Children's Hospital Colorado, Bonfils Blood Center, Metro Crisis Services, and The Denver Center for Crime Victims. You can also donate to the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance. —NG
Know about other ways to help? Tell us in the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock.