The network morning shows have devoted much of the first hour of their broadcasts to the massacre at an Aurora, CO movie theater. During a midnight screening of the new Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises,” a 24-year-old gunman opened fire. Initial reports put the death toll at 14 with 50 others are injured. The gunman is in custody. Update: At 8:09 on “Today” an Aurora police officer updated the number of killed to 12. “We know there are 10 inside the theater that are dead, with two additional that died at local hospitals.”
The networks dispatched correspondents to the scene: Barry Peterson on CBS, Clayton Sandell on ABC. NBC had a report from Jace Larson a reporter for KUSA. The networks brought in crime, justice and medical correspondents: former FBI spokesman John Miller now a correspondent for “CBS This Morning” reported that Dan Oates, the police chief in Aurora was an NYPD Deputy Chief serving during 9/11. NBC’s Pete Williams reported on the weapons used Update: At 8:03, Williams identified the suspect as James Holmes, born Dec. 13, 1987. On ABC, Dr. Richard Besser reported on the injuries. The youngest shooting victim is a 6-year-old and is being treated.
Network bookers worked overtime bringing in eyewitness reports. Rounding out the reporting were cell phone videos and urgent 911 calls recounting the horror. Denver news choppers hovered over the suspect’s apartment which had been evacuated as police searched for explosives.
Fox News anchor Anita Vogel broke in with the news at 4:30am. CNN “Early Start” anchors John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin started their program early with the news at 4:44am. ABC’s Jake Tapper reports Pres. Obama was made aware of the news at 5:26amET by his Homeland Security adviser. The next news conference is scheduled for 1pmET.
> Update, 9amET: “CBS This Morning” is producing a third hour at 9am. The third hour of “Today” is devoted to the shooting aftermath. ABC News talked with a San Diego woman identifying herself as James Holmes’s mother. “You have the right person. I need to call the police,” she added. “I need to fly out to Colorado.”
> More: “Today” passed on airing its Friday concert this morning with Hot Chelle Ray. Said Al Roker “Because of the severity of the news we’ve decided — they’ve been performing for the crowd outside so they’re not disappointed — we’re going to bring that to you a little bit later sometime next week.” At 8:30am, “GMA” promoted its summer concert with Karmen and Dragonette, but did not broadcast any of it.
> Update, 10:05ET: The network morning shows are going live on the west coast for the 7 AM hour, with the full anchor teams in place.