Batman actor Christian Bale has visited a Colorado hospital to see seven victims of the Aurora movie theatre shooting.
The 38-year-old British star of The Dark Knight Rises spent two-and-a-half hours at the Medical Center of Aurora with five patients admitted to the hospital and two others who had travelled from Denver’s Swedish Medical Center to meet him, according to US and UK media.
It is thought he used an ambulance to enter the hospital in secret to express his condolences to the victims and their families.
Twelve people were killed and 58 others injured in the massacre during a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises which police say was carried out by 24-year-old James Holmes.
Bale posed for pictures with one of the victims, Carey Rottman, 27, who was shot in the leg during the attack and is recovering in the hospital. Rottman posted a picture with the star on his Facebook page.
“The patients were really happy to meet Bale,” Bill Voloch, interim president of Medical Center of Aurora told the Denver Post.
“They are obviously big fans of his movies. They wanted to see Batman and were really pleased to see Bale.”
The Oscar winning actor travelled with his wife, Sibi Blazic and met with a number of emergency doctors, police officers and paramedics who were the first responders to the shooting at the Century 16 cinema theatre in Aurora.
Bale reportedly spent around 10 minutes with each person and Voloch said it was good for the patients.
“We hope it was therapeutic for them, and all the staff really appreciated him coming.”
The Medical Center of Aurora took 18 patients from the mass shooting and seven were admitted.
Bale also spent time with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, the Denver Post reported.
Three arrested for threats
Meanwhile, three men have been arrested in the US for threatening behaviour linked to the Batman cinema massacre.
The men were arrested separately during or after screenings of the The Dark Knight Rises.
Michael William Borboa, 27, was arrested after his drunken behaviour caused around 50 people to evacuate a screening of the movie in Sierra Visa, Arizona, police said.
Police would not disclose the specific nature of his offence but confirmed he had been arrested for displaying threatening and intimidating behaviour while intoxicated.
In Newark, California, 52-year-old Clark Tabor was arrested for an outburst in his cinema when the film was delayed. He is reported to have shouted “I should go off, like in Colorado” before asking “does anybody have a gun?” Police were called in immediately.
The third suspect, Timothy Courtois of Biddeford, Maine, was detained a day after watching the film, which is final part of the Batman trilogy. When he was stopped for speeding, he told police that he was off to shoot a former employer.
During a search of Courtois’s car, police found a AK-47 assault weapon similar to that reportedly carried by Holmes, as well as four handguns, ammunition and news clippings about the Aurora shooting.
The Dark Knight Rises brought in $US160.9m over the weekend despite the widespread tension left by the Aurora massacre,
Only two films have ever performed more strongly on their opening weekend – The Avengers, released earlier this year, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2, in 2011.
Casualty’s wife gives birth
The wife of a man critically wounded in the shooting rampage, meanwhile, has given birth to a baby boy, hospital officials say.
Katie Medley was with her husband Caleb at the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora when police say Holmes opened fire.
Caleb Medley was shot in the head and remains in critical condition. A website set up to raise money for his care, said he has lost his right eye, has some brain damage and is in a medically induced coma.
A spokeswoman for University of Colorado Denver Hospital relayed the following statement from the family: “The family is excited to say that Hugo Jackson Medley was born at 7:11 this morning [1.00am Wednesday NZT]. Both mom and baby are doing great.”
Police say Holmes, 24, dressed in a gas mask and body armour and toting three guns, opened fire in the packed theatre shortly after the film began. The former neuroscience graduate student was arrested outside after the massacre.
Holmes, with his hair dyed shades of bright orange and red, made his initial court appearance on Monday. He will be formally charged on July 30.
More than a dozen victims remain hospitalised, several in critical condition