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N.J. movie theater evacuated during showing of ‘Dark Knight’

Amid concerns about a Colorado shooting copycat, officials late Monday evacuated a New Jersey theater showing "The Dark Knight Rises” after someone opened an emergency exit door during the screening.

Patrons at the Edgewater Multiplex were cleared from the theater and given their money back, and the showing was canceled, after police were unable to track down the person who had opened the emergency door about 90 minutes into the show. “With the recent events, that was the best course of action to take,” police spokesman Sgt. Steven Titus told the Star-Ledger.

Four days earlier, a gunman killed 12 people and injured dozens during the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in an Aurora, Colo., theater. The gunman entered the crowded cinema through an emergency exit and opened fire on the crowd.

About 100 people were in the Edgewater, N.J., theater on the opening night of the film, the latest Batman movie. Titus said someone called police about 10:25 p.m. to report that a movie-goer had opened the emergency exit door, spoken to someone outside, and then returned to his seat.

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Police arrived, turned on the lights and asked the person who had gone to the emergency exit to come forward. That person did not, so they canceled the showing.

The Colorado shooting has prompted stepped-up security in many states where cinemas are showing “The Dark Knight Rises,” both to deter potential copycats and to reassure filmgoers.

On Monday, the alleged shooter, James Holmes, 24, had his first court appearance, where he was advised of his rights and told that he was being held on suspicion of first-degree murder. Charges are expected to be formally presented next week. 

Holmes appeared dazed, and his hair was still dyed fiery reddish-orange, an apparent nod to the comic book world of the Caped Crusader.

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tina.susman@latimes.com


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