Thousands of eager fans flocked to movie theaters across the country Thursday evening to see the premiere of the new film "The Dark Knight Rises."
But shortly after the movie began at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora, Colo., 24-year-old James Holmes allegedly entered the theater and opened fire, shooting a total of 71 people. Twelve people were killed and 59 were injured.
Here is a timeline of the massacre, beginning with happy moviegoers in the Aurora area tweeting their excitement to statements from Holmes's family:
1:10 p.m. Thursday: Moviegoer @BlessedDisciple tweets: "Who's Going To See The Dark Knight Rises"
5:27 p.m.: Moviegoer @JessicaRedfield tweets: "Never thought I'd have to coerce a guy into seeing the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises with me."
5:55 p.m.: Moviegoer @ZachEtake38 tweets: "In 5 hours.... A fire will rise... No jokes here, too damn excited #TDKR"
10:15 p.m.: Denver Post tweets: PHOTOS: Fans line up for midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in #Colorado: http://dpo.st/Q8IIib
10:37 p.m.: Victim Jennifer Ghawi (@JessicaRedfield) sends her last tweet: "@jessespector MOVIE DOESN'T START FOR 20 MINUTES"
10:45 p.m.: Moviegoer Rachel Fedeli, who was in theater 8, posts on her Twitter feed @9Rachel: "Midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises with the best friends. :)"
12:00 a.m. Friday: James Holmes's downstairs neighbors Kaitlyn Fonzi and Chris Rodriguez hear blaring music coming from Holmes's apartment. Fonzi bangs on Holmes's door but there is no answer. The music continues until exactly 1 a.m., Fonzi told ABC News.
12:05 a.m.: "The Dark Knight Rises" begins in Theater 9 at the Century 16 theater. The show is sold out. After the movie begins, the suspect exits the theater through the emergency exit and props the door open.
Approximately 12:30 a.m.: Graduate student James Holmes, dressed in black, allegedly enters Theater 9 through the emergency exit door in the front wearing a gas mask, body armor and a tactical helmet. He enters the theater with an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington 12-guage shotgun and a 40-caliber Glock handgun. Holmes, 24, allegedly tosses a canister into the air that's filled with some type of smoke. The suspect begins shooting. Seventy people are shot: 12 people are killed, 58 injured.
12:39 a.m.: Aurora Police Department receives calls about the shooting.
12:40 a.m.: Police arrive at the scene a minute and a half later. Twenty-five police officers are on the scene within the first few minutes; 200 are eventually on the scene.
12:44 a.m.: Police scanner traffic indicates that a suspect in a gas mask is sighted on the south side of the theater, the Denver Post reports. Holmes is apprehended outside, near his white Hyundai behind the theater. The car has hundreds if not over a thousand rounds of .223 ammunition. Holmes tell authorities he was The Joker, one of the villains in the Batman series.
12:47 a.m.: The Denver Post tweets: "FLASH: Aurora PD is investigating reports of a multiple shooting near the Century 16 theater. More details when available."
1:03 a.m.: Moviegoer Zach Eastman tweets: "I know I saw one man with blood running down his hands being carried into a cop car"
2:00 a.m.: Holmes' apartment complex is evacuated. Investigators determine suspect's apartment is booby-trapped and "there appear to be some incendiary elements." Investigators have smart bomb tech on the scene. The scene is described as very dangerous to responding officers and technicians. Residents are evacuated from five buildings in the area.
2:44 a.m.: Moviegoer @ ChayJ3 tweets: "i was in the front row i seen everything before i ran out"
2:58 a.m.: Police confirm to ABC News there was an explosive device inside the theater although they are not sure if that was already in place or whether it was thrown into the crowd. Police are calling it a bomb.
5:23 a.m.: President Obama makes a statement: "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. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come."
5:44 a.m.: Mitt Romney makes a statement: "Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 people in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice."
6:30 a.m.: A San Diego woman identifying herself as James Holmes's mother tells ABC News, "You have the right person. I need to call the police. I need to fly out to Colorado."
7:40 a.m.: San Diego Police arrive at Holmes's mother's home in San Diego.
9:23 a.m.: Holmes's family releases a statement: "Our hearts go out to those who involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time. Our family is cooperating with authorities in both San Diego, California, and Aurora, Colorado. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy."