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Batman Shooting Prompts Heightened Awareness at Some Area Theatres

St. Charles Police don't have plans to increase security at Wehrenberg St. Charles 18, but police in St. Louis County plan to increase patrols.

The mass shooting at the première of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, CO, has prompted some St. Louis-area movie theaters to consider increased security. 

At approximately 1 a.m. Friday, a man wearing a gas mask entered the Colorado theater during the midnight showing of the newest Batman movie, hurled a gas canister and then began shooting, the Associated Press reported. At least 50 are injured and 12 have been confirmed dead. 

Police took 24-year old James Holmes into custody for the shooting early Friday morning. No motive has been released. 

The shooting has prompted movie theaters locally and across the country to work with local police. 

In St. Charles, there are no plans yet to increase police patrols around . Lt. Dave Senter, spokesman, said the senior staff hadn't yet met to discuss the incident. St. Charles police officers are not employed at the theatre in an off-duty capacity, he said.

St. Charles 18 Cinema held a Dark Knight marathon on Thursday, showing "Batman Begins" followed by "The Dark Knight" and finally, the premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises."

In Creve Coeur, on duty Creve Coeur police officers plan to conduct extra foot patrols inside the two AMC theatres and patrols of the lots and surrounding areas.

In Affton, movie goers can expect to see St. Louis County Police at Ronnie's Plaza. 

Kelly Hoskins, VP of Wehrenberg theaters, said the only change movie-goers will see in the theater is the added visibility of managers and staff. 

Managers also go through extensive panic button training and check auditoriums on routine basis.

The long-anticipated Batman movie is the third starring Christian Bale as the masked hero. It is directed by Christopher Nolan and produced by Warner Brothers Studios. 

The incident has prompted officials to cancel the midnight premiere in Paris. 

Gregg Palermo contributed to this article. 

Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect that St. Charles Police Officers work at Wehrenberg Theaters while off duty. 

Tamara Duncan July 20, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Such a senseless tragedy . . .

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