Police have identified the 24-year-old man in custody who allegedly opened fire at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and injuring more than 38. According to ABC News, the man’s name is James Holmes and he has been identified as a local resident.
At press time law enforcement officials had entered Holmes’ apartment using a fire engine ladder in a search for additional evidence. Along with police detectives, the FBI was on the scene at the apartment complex, which is five miles from the site of the shooting at the Century Aurora 16 theater.
Pictures of uniformed officers approaching third-floor apartment through a window portrayed the caution with which officials are approaching the investigation. Oates said that police and FBI officials have taken pictures inside the dwelling and they are trying to determine how to disarm the “sophisticated” explosives inside.
“It’s pretty disturbing, it looks sophisticated in terms of how it is booby trapped,” Oates said. Because of the suspected explosive devices inside, Oates said it could be hours, if not days before the apartment is secured and all dangerous material is removed. Fox News reported that officials have also spotted multiple “buckets” of ammunition in Holmes’ apartment.
Suspect Holmes was taken into custody by police in the parking lot of the theater and a San Diego woman identifying herself as his mother said she woke up unaware of the news about the shooting and had not been contacted by authorities. But when she heard about the incident she immediately expressed concern that her son may have been involved. “You have the right person,” she told ABC News. “I need to call the police … I need to fly out to Colorado.”
According to multiple reports, the University of Colorado has confirmed that Holmes was a student at the university’s medical school and was studying for a PhD in neuroscience before withdrawing last month. Holmes was reportedly not on a terror watch list, did not have a concealed weapons permit, hunting license or arrest history and had no connection to the military.
Witnesses said the shooter kicked his way through an emergency exit near the front of the theater about 20 minutes into the midnight screening wearing what appeared to be a bullet-proof vest and a gas mask as he opened fire with a shotgun and an AK-47-style automatic weapon. Police said they also found two handguns at the scene.
Little is known about the alleged suspect at press time or his possible motives, but witnesses said that in addition to randomly shooting into the audience, he threw a canister into the theater that released some sort of gas, with some victims reported to have suffered from shrapnel-type wounds.
The studio behind the movie released a statement on Friday morning that read, “Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time.”
Local police revised the death toll in the incident from 14 to 12 on Friday morning, with the number of wounded revised from 50 to 38. The range of those hurt in the incident spanned a 3-month-old baby, who was said to be in good condition, to children aged six and up, teenagers and adults up to 45 years old.
Aurora is less than 20 miles from Littleton, scene of the horrific Columbine High School shootings that left 13 teenagers dead in 1999.
Witnesses said they were initially confused by the sound of weapons because there were guns being fired on screen at the time the gunfire erupted, but that the gravity of the situation quickly became apparent as the wounded called out for help. One man who was in an adjoining theater told CNN that he saw bullets rip through the wall and could smell the incendiary device that was set off next door.
The FBI has at least 100 agents on the scene and they don’t believe that a second shooter was involved in the incident. Both President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney released statements about the shooting.
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[This story has been edited to reflect ongoing updates. Check back with MTVNews.com for continued coverage of the “Dark Knight Rises” shootings in Aurora, Colorado.]