Full coverage of the shootings at the midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo.

Heightened Alert at Bay Area Movie Theaters Stemming from 'Dark Knight' Shooting

Police will be on the lookout for copycat crimes near theaters playing the "Dark Knight Rises."

By Lisa Fernandnez
|  Friday, Jul 20, 2012  |  Updated 1:57 PM PDT
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Aurora, Colo., Cinema Rampage Remembered

AP

Police are on heightened alert in the Bay Area in and around movie theaters that are showing "The Dark Knight Rises."

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Bay Area police agencies said on Friday that even though they don't expect any copycat movie shootings to occur here, they will be on their toes near movie theaters playing the "Dark Knight Rises," where a gunman killed at least 12 and injured dozens in Colorado.

In addition, AMC Theaters issued a statement, not only about how the company was "deeply saddened" by the massacre, but that "we will not allow any guests into our theaters in costumes that make other guests feel uncomfortable and we will not permit face-covering masks or fake weapons inside our buildings."

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Sgt. Jose Cardoza said the patrol division will be conducting extra patrol checks Friday night at the AMC movie theater in Cupertino, and San Jose Police Sgt. Jose Garcia said that each shift will be told to swing by movie theaters playing the film if staffing allows. San Francisco police are mirroring those efforts, and are encouraging movie goers to call police if they see anything amiss.

Oakland's Police Chief Howard Jordan said he's "very concerned" about copycat crimes, and will have more officers at the Jack London Square theater when the movie starts, and lets out. Oakland police have already been on alert since an unrelated shooting occurred at this theater July 8, where five people were injured.

"We're not taking anything lightly," Jordan said. "This is an incident that has nationwide impact and we want to make sure people that come to Oakland to attend movies are safe and return home safely."

In Dublin, where the Regal Hacienda Crossings Stadium 20 and IMAX are showing the film on 20 screens, the one officer always stationed there will simply be on heightened alert, said Dublin Police Lt. Steve Brown.

"If that officer perceives anything unusual, he will just call for backup," Brown said, "and since Dublin is a pretty small town, our response time is pretty quick."

The caution stems from a nightmarish situation in Aurora, Colo., when a gunman identified as James Holmes, 24, allegedly walked into a movie theater, dropped some type of explosive and opened fire on an unsuspecting crowd. Authorities are saying that 12 people are dead, and 38 more injured.

Despite the horror, the shooting in Colorado isn't going to dissuade Irfan Rydhan of San Jose from seeing a 2 a.m. showing of the film in Dublin on Friday. He and friends had planned to go long ago.

"I'm not too worried about it happening again, but you never know," Rydhan said. "We can't really do anything about it, except just to continue to live our lives. It is very sad and unfortunate that these acts of senseless violence occur.

Elswhere, other cities were responding to the shooting, too. In New York, police were sending officers to movie theaters playing the film, and in Nassau County, authorities said they would have "intensive" additional patrols, including K-9 units.

Reporter Stephanie Chuang contributed to this report.

Contact Lisa Fernandez at 408-432-4758 or lisa.fernandez@nbcuni.com.

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