"A night at the movies has turned into a nightmare," said Good Morning America.
It was how America woke up to the news of the midnight movie massacre.
Matt Lauer of the Today show said, "It is impossible to ever make sense of a situation like this. Not the kind of news we want to bring you on a Friday morning."
Soon the whole world was learning about this shocking tragedy.
"A masked gunman is reported to have opened fire at a premiere of the new Batman movie in the United States," an international news sorce reported.
President Obama was awakened at 5:26 a.m. with the breaking news. He flew to Ft. Myers, Florida for a scheduled campaign appearance, but he quickly turned to the massacre in his speech.
"I'm sure that many of you who are parents here had the same reaction as I did when I heard this news. My daughters go to the movies," said President Obama.
A second campaign event was cancelled, and the President flew back to the White House.
Mitt Romney also spoke out, saying, "Our hearts break for the victims and their families. We pray that the wounded will recover, and that those who are grieving will know the nearness of God."
The unspeakable horror played out in real time, as people who were inside theater 9 in Aurora quickly went on social media.
People in the theater took immediately to Twitter, saying, "Oh god. I don't know what to do," and "I literally just saw a little girl carried out with bullet wounds."
"July 20th, 2012, there's been a massive shooting here. A lot of people wounded," said one person who captured a video of the scene.
It was you-are-there reporting at its most gripping.
A woman who was in the theater posted her own eyewitness report, saying, "You hear someone screaming, 'Oh my god, someone got shot.'"