As details continue to emerge about The Dark Knight Rises mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced at a press conference that the suspect in the mass killing, 24-year-old James Holmes, had his hair painted red, and called himself, “The Joker,” the featured villain played by late actor Heath Ledger in the last Batman movie.
CBS New York reports that Kelly stated at a press conference that:
“We have some information, most of it is public. It clearly looks like a deranged individual. He had his hair painted red, he said he was ‘The Joker,’ obviously the ‘enemy’ of Batman.”
The latest information about Holmes comes after police began questioning the suspect, who is being accused of the murder of at least 12 people, and wounding at least 50 more. Holmes, who is a former graduate student at the University of Colorado, opened fire at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora.
ABC News reports that one law enforcement official informed them the suspect stated, “he was the joker,” and psychology experts have stated that, while it is hard to know what Holmes’s state of mind was going into the shooting, people who commit crimes like this are usually suffering from long-held delusions of an alternate reality.
Kelly also stated during the press conference in New York that:
“As a precaution against copycats and to raise the comfort levels among movie patrons in the wake of the horrendous shooting in Colorado, the New York City Police Department is providing coverage at theaters where the ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is playing in the five boroughs.”
CBS News reporter Tony Aiello confirmed the Commissioner’s statement via twitter, saying:
#BREAKING: NYPD Cmsr Kelly says CO suspect Holmes had “hair painted red, he said he was The Joker.”Armed w/shotgun, AK47, 9mm, knife.
— Tony Aiello (@TonyAielloNY) July 20, 2012
The New York Daily News reports that one witness, Jennifer Seeger, recalled of the shooting:
“There were bullet (casings) just falling on my head….Every few seconds it was just: Boom, boom, boom. He would reload and shoot, and anyone who would try to leave would just get killed.”
It seems that, if Jason Holmes’s desire to be the Joker is correct, he appears to have succeeded, causing widespread fear and panic in a deadly rampage.