AURORA, Colo. — The semiautomatic assault rifle used by the gunman in a mass shooting at a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie jammed during the attack, a federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press, which forced the shooter to switch to another gun with less fire power.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the investigation, said the disabled weapon had a high-capacity ammunition magazine. Police have said that a 100-round drum magazine was recovered at the scene and that such a device would be able to fire 50 to 60 rounds a minute.

That account of what happened inside the Century 16 theater emerged with other details of a suspect described as a budding scientist, brimming with potential, who pursued a graduate program even as he planned the attack with “calculation and deliberation,” police said Saturday.

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