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NRA tweeter was 'unaware' of Colorado shooting, spokesman says

John D. Sutter, CNN
The NRA appeared to have removed this tweet by 12:30 p.m. ET on Friday.
The NRA appeared to have removed this tweet by 12:30 p.m. ET on Friday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • National Rifle Association sends ill-timed tweet after Colorado shooting
  • "Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday!" wrote one of the group's accounts
  • Tweet was widely criticized as insensitive given the overnight shooting that killed 12

(CNN) -- While the nation wrestled with the aftermath of a shooting in Colorado that left 12 people dead, a Twitter account for the National Rifle Association had this to say:

"Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?"

That tweet was posted at 9:20 a.m. ET on Friday by an account for "American Rifleman," the official NRA journal. The group, which advocates for gun owners, appeared to have been pulled down from the Internet as of about 12:30 p.m. ET Friday.

Shooting turns movie into surreal horror

The public gets its first glimpse of James Holmes, 24, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting during his initial court appearance Monday, July 23. With his hair dyed reddish-orange, Holmes, here with public defender Tamara Brady, showed little emotion. He is accused of opening fire in a movie theater Friday, July 20, in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. More photos: Mourning the victims of the Colorado theater massacre The public gets its first glimpse of James Holmes, 24, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting during his initial court appearance Monday, July 23. With his hair dyed reddish-orange, Holmes, here with public defender Tamara Brady, showed little emotion. He is accused of opening fire in a movie theater Friday, July 20, in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. More photos: Mourning the victims of the Colorado theater massacre
Colorado movie theater shooting
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"A single individual, unaware of events in Colorado, tweeted a comment that is being completely taken out of context," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said in a comment issued to CNN.

Theater shooting unfolds in real time on social media

He also said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and the community. NRA will not have any further comment until all the facts are known."

Online, Twitter users rushed to criticize the post as insensitive, since it followed the overnight shooting at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a showing of the new Batman movie.

Aspiring sports reporter feared dead in shooting

"Perhaps NRA should read news before tweeting," @ambermac wrote on Twitter.

"This is a real tweet today from an official NRA account. Oblivious," wrote Max Fisher, an associate editor at The Atlantic.

Some people speculated that the advocacy group, which opposes gun-control legislation, scheduled the tweet to publish before the movie-theater shooting had occurred. The tweet was posted via Hootsuite, an app that lets Web publishers schedule tweets to go out automatically at a later date or time. "Scheduled tweets can be dangerous," wrote @B2BMarketingVP.

It turned out, however, that the tweet was posted by someone who hadn't seen news of the mass shooting.

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