Christian Bale, the hero in the latest Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises," on Tuesday visited victims of last week's mass shooting in Colorado allegedly by a 24-year-old man who was mimicking Batman's arch-enemy, the Joker.
"The patients were really happy to meet Bale," The Denver Post quoted Bill Voloch, interim president of the Medical Center of Aurora, as saying after the star of the last three Batman films met with seven patients on Tuesday afternoon.
"They are obviously big fans of his movies. They wanted to see Batman and were really pleased to see Bale," Voloch added.
The suspect, James Eagan Holmes, used a military-style semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and a pistol to open fire on the unsuspecting theatergoers who were watching the midnight screening of the Batman movie at Century Aurora 16 theater on Friday. Twelve people were killed and 58, injured.
Bale, who was with his wife, Sibi Blazic, spent more than two hours at the hospital, where he spoke to five people being treated for their injuries at the Medical Center, and two others came from Swedish Medical Center to meet him.
"It was good for the patients," Voloch said. "We hope it was therapeutic for them, and all the staff really appreciated him coming."
Warner Bros. Pictures, maker of "The Dark Knight Rises," said Bale visited Aurora on his own. "Mr. Bale is there as himself, not representing Warner Brothers," an assistant for Susan Fleishman, executive vice president for Warner Brothers corporate communications, stated.
"Words cannot express the horror that I feel," Bale said in a statement Saturday. "I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them."
The director of the film, Christopher Nolan, also expressed "profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy" in a statement Friday.
On Tuesday, the Bales also met with doctors, police officers and emergency medical technicians, who responded to the shooting.
"I am probably one of the biggest Batman fans ever," said nurse Crystal Flateland, who came from Swedish Medical Center. "It was amazing, actually, to get to meet him. I think it's really great he came out here. It was touching."
Bale, who also met with Gov. John Hickenlooper, told hospital officials he was visiting the injured but requested them not to tell the media. "He just wanted to meet with victims and police," Voloch said.
Holmes, who was arrested soon after the shooting early Friday, appeared in court for the first time Monday.
Holmes, a graduate from the University of California, Riverside, was a brilliant neuroscience student. His mother Arlene is a nurse and his father Robert a software company manager. He enrolled in a neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver last year but quit in June.
Police have not said anything about the motive of the killings.