A cameraman takes video of a memorial for victims near the theatre where 12 people were killed
An emotional candle-lit vigil was held for the victims of a US massacre at a premiere of the latest Batman movie, which left 12 people dead and nearly 60 injured.
The town of Aurora, Colorado stood in silent mourning, as it emerged that the alleged gunman bought more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet, and four guns, in the two months before the shootings, reports AFP.
About 200 people attended an early evening vigil, while another memorial was due to be held at midnight Friday (0600 GMT Saturday).
The masked, black-clad shooter, named as James Holmes, 24, burst into a movie theatre barely 20 minutes into the midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," throwing two tear-gas type devices before opening fire.
"As far as we know, it was a pretty rapid pace of fire in that theatre," said Aurora police chief, Dan Oates, his voice shaking at times with emotion, and exhaustion after a long night and day dealing with the trauma.
In an end-of-day update, he amended slightly the number of victims of the shooting at a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises," from 71 to 70. Twelve of them died, including 10 in the theatre.
A local children's hospital reported six young victims, the youngest of whom was aged only six. At least three of the wounded were US military members, the Pentagon said.
Shots fired in one auditorium went through the wall and hit people in the auditorium next door. The first police were on the scene within 90 seconds, while eventually some 200 officers swarmed around the building.
"Nearly everyone was shot," he said, adding that a "handful" of those treated in hospital did not have gunshot wounds, but suffered other injuries in the mayhem.
"In the last 60 days, he purchased four guns at local metro gun shops and through the internet he purchased over 6,000 rounds of ammunition," he said.
He added: "My understanding is that all the weapons that he possessed he possessed legally, and all the clips that he possessed, he possessed legally, and all the ammunition he possessed, he possessed legally."
Police arrested Holmes -- who was wearing full body armour and a gas mask, apparently to protect him from effects of his own tear gas -- without encountering resistance by his car at the rear of the theatre.
Witnesses described chaos chillingly similar to that depicted in the Batman films, in which maniacal villains terrorize Gotham City.
"I saw some people start to get up. I poked my head up to see what was going on and when I did that I saw another flash and instantly put my head down as he started shooting again," said 17-year-old Tanner Coon.
Cinemas in New York tightened security at Batman showings, and the AMC theatre chain announced a ban on face masks and fake weapons -- several people wore costumes in Aurora, possibly helping Holmes to blend in with the melee.
The French premiere of the film in Paris was cancelled.
Holmes' parents, who live in San Diego, were shocked but "fully cooperating with law enforcement officials," said a San Diego Police Department spokeswoman, Andra Brown.
President Barack Obama cut short a campaign trip to Florida and returned to the White House to address the situation, although his spokesman said there appeared to have been no link to terrorism.
"Such violence, such evil, is senseless. But, while we will never know fully what causes somebody to take the live of another, we do know what makes life worth living," the president told a sombre crowd in Florida.
"The people we lost in Aurora loved and they were loved," Obama said.
As with previous such shootings -- all too regular in the US -- lobby groups and some political leaders called for legislation to restrict civilians' access to firearms.