Obamas ‘shocked’ by cinema shooting

US President Barack Obama said he was “shocked and saddened” by the mass shooting at a Denver-area cinema early on Friday in which at least 14 people were killed and 50 wounded.

“Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado,” he said in a statement, adding that federal and local law enforcement were still responding to the incident.

An Aurora Police Department detective takes a witness statement following a shooting. Credit: AP

“My administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time,” he said, referring to the city adjacent to Denver where the shooting took place.

“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.”

Obama was notified of the mass shooting at 5.26am (09.26 GMT) by his homeland security advisor John Brennan, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney. The president is currently in Palm Beach, Florida.

Witnesses had described a scene of chaos as the gunman burst into a packed showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the latest Batman film, setting off a smoke device of some kind and spraying the theatre with bullets.

Police have detained the alleged gunman but have released few details about his identity or motives. - AFP