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Updated at 4:49 a.m. ET: At least 20 people were hurt early Friday when at least one assailant opened fire during a shootout scene in a midnight screening near Denver of the summer blockbuster "The Dark Knight Rises," police and witnesses said.
The incident occurred in the Century 16 Movie Theaters at the Aurora Town Center, police told NBC News. Aurora is a suburb less than 10 miles east of downtown Denver.
Brenda Stuart, of 850 KOA radio, told Britain's Sky News that "a lot of people thought the gunshots were part of the movie."
"They heard what they thought were firecrackers," she added, citing witnesses. "Then they saw the bullets flying."
Eyewitness reports said the assailant may have been wearing a gas mask, Stuart said.
KUSA cited witness reports that at least 10 people were killed in the incident, but no confirmation was immediately available. Some eyewitness reports suggested up to 40 people were wounded, KOA reported, but details remained sketchy.
Tear gas went off in the theater following the gunfire, Stuart said. She added that bullets had passed from one theater into an adjoining one.
Police spokeswoman Cassidee Carlson said "the scene is still very active."