Heath Ledger 's father Kim has urged people not to associate his son's Oscar winning portrayal of The Joker, with the gunman James Holmes, who murdered 12 people and injured 59 others at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Denver.

Reports had suggested that the 24-year-old former neuroscience student was calling himself 'The Joker' on the evening of the incident, and he showed up in court this week sporting dyed orange hair. Heath Ledger - who died in 2008 - gave a career best performance as Batman's nemesis in Christopher Nolan's second movie in the trilogy 'The Dark Knight', though his father told Australia's Herald Sun, "We can't blame Heath or the [Joker] character.It's fictitious. I don't know what this does to the character. I think that's the least of my worries. I'd be more worried about the families and other people involved in the tragedy rather than anything else.". The Australian insisted that America should be assessing its gun laws in the wake of the shooting, saying, "It's terrible-the whole circumstances.The guy's obviously a nut case. He has obviously lost it. I think what America should be doing is restricting the availability of ammunition or revisiting their gun laws-that's what they should be doing". Speculation that police found a 'Joker' mask in Holmes' booby-trapped apartment is yet to be confirmed.

The shooting took place at a special midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Denver. Out of respect to those killed, Warner Bros cancelled the Paris premiere of the movie which was scheduled to go ahead the following night (July 20, 2012). This week, Batman star Christian Bale flew to Colorado to visit those still recovering in hospital.