FBI Issues Shooting Warning Over New 'Joker' Film

CBS News
September 25, 2019 - 4:28 pm
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Aurora, Colorado — The FBI has issued an extraordinary warning about possible violence at theaters showing the upcoming movie "Joker." This comes years after a mass shooting during a "Batman" movie in Colorado in 2012.

Extremists social media posts about the "Joker" movie prompted the unusual national alert.

CBS News has learned authorities are concerned about the film's plot inspiring someone to commit a mass shooting.

In the alert to law enforcement and the military, the FBI encouraged people to "identify two escape routes" in theaters and "run, hide, fight" if in an active shooting situation.

Tina Marie Coon has joined three other family members whose children were killed or traumatized by the Century 16 Theater massacre in Aurora.

In a letter, they asked the film's studio Warner Bros. to "actively lobby for gun reform."

CBS News asked Coon if she's concerned that a movie like "Joker" could trigger someone else to mimic what happened in Aurora.

"Oh absolutely," she said. "I believe there's all kinds of reasons and I don't think we can stop all of the triggers from happening."

The movie's star is Joaquin Phoenix, and he weighed in ahead of the film's release October 4.

"If you have somebody who has that level of emotional disturbance, I think that they can find fuel anywhere," Phoenix said.

Warner said its job is to provoke difficult conversations.

"Joker" has been the subject of much debate since it premiered late last month at the Venice International Film Festival, where it won the top prize, according to The Associated Press. It's also expected to be a major awards contender.

The film is a character study of how Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill aspiring stand-up comedian and clown-for-hire, becomes the classic Batman nemesis.

The Aurora theater was remodeled and renamed after the 2012 shooting that also wounded 58 people. James Holmes was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.