Moviegoers didn't know what was happening and some thought the attack was part of the show. Then they saw a silhouette of a person in the smoke at the front of the theater near the screen, pointing a gun at the crowd....Horrible. I'm not surprised people imagined it was part of the show, since I've seen theme-park shows that begin as a movie and become stage shows with actors in a plot about how something is terribly wrong in the the theater. (I'm remembering the old "Ghostbusters Spooktacular Show" at Universal Studios).
[An audience member said] it sounded like firecrackers until someone ran into Theater 8 yelling "they're shooting out here!"...
"Like little explosions going on and shortly after that we heard people screaming," [said another, noting that] at first he thought it was part of a louder movie next door. But then he saw "people hunched over leaving theater."
ADDED: When things like this happen, decent people refrain from spinning out theories about why the killer — who presumably has deranged thought patterns — did what he did. Appropriating this event for political purposes is shameful, but it is happening. I'm not even going to link to the places where this is happening. I have some ideas of my own, but I'm choosing not to put them on the internet. For one thing, it's disrespectful to the individuals who died, but also, the likelihood of getting it wrong is high, as we saw after the Oklahoma City bombing and the Tucson massacre.