'Dark Knight Rises' Shooting in Colorado Headlines European Newscasts

 Warner Bros. Pictures

COLOGNE, Germany – Europe's news media turned its full attention to an overnight shooting spree at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, in which at least 12 people were killed.

News of the shooting headlined newscasts and topped news sites across Europe Friday morning as broadcasters woke up to the story of the masked man who entered a movie theater cinema in a mall in the Denver suburb and began shooting wildly. The story led news reports in most countries, including the U.K. and Germany, and was the top story on newspaper and news aggregation sites.

The cinema shooting was the lead story on lunchtime bulletins on, among others, the BBC, Sky News, German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF and France's TF1, as well as top news sites including the Guardian, Spiegel.de, Le Monde and La Repubblica.

All-news channels across the continent have dedicated rolling live coverage to the story as it develops.

Several sites and newscasts showed a shaky video taken shortly after the attack using a mobile phone that showed children leaving the theater in Batman costumes as well as a blood-spattered man being led out of the theater by a police officer.

Most reports dismissed speculation that the massacre could have been a terrorist attack, though there is wide-spread discussion as to whether the killer was inspired by Christopher Nolan's film. Several reports singled out the detail that the shooter was wearing a gas mask similar to the outfit worn by the film's villain Bane.

European broadcasters interviewed several eyewitnesses in Colorado, revealing details of the attack. One man told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK he saw a policeman entering the theater shortly after the shooting carrying a small girl who had apparently been shot dead. Other channels also reported that children, including a six-year-old girl, were among the victims.

European newscasts also mentioned a lack of strict gun laws in Colorado.

Italian news outlets were slow to respond to the story, but by early afternoon the shootings were the top story on most general news sites that included video links and in some cases live television feeds, without translation, from NBC Channel 9 news from Denver.

Italian television news programs led early afternoon newscasts with the story, using New York-based correspondents and feeds from local Colorado channels with live translation to report on developments.
 
At the Vatican, a spokesman speaking to reporters about plans to publish the official Vatican newspaper “Osservatore Romano” in the U.S. said, “the victims of the tragedy and their families are in our prayers.”
 
The film is set to premiere in Italy on Aug. 29.

Stuart Kemp and Georg Szalai in London, Eric J. Lyman in Rome and Rebecca Leffler contributed to this report.

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