As trauma surgeons and doctors work on the dozens of victims from Friday morning’s shooting spree at an Aurora, Colorado screening of ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ police said they are meticulously combing through the contents of suspect James Holmes’ nearby apartment.
Holmes, 24, who was taken into custody without incident in the back parking lot of the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora after opening fire on a midnight screening of “Dark Knight,” is reportedly not cooperating with investigators at this time. Aurora police chief Dan Oates told reporters on Friday morning that officials have evacuated five buildings around Holmes’ apartment and are meticulously sweeping it after getting word from the alleged shooter that it was booby trapped.
Pictures of uniformed officers poking out the windows of the third-floor apartment illustrated the caution with which officials are approaching the investigation. Oates said that police and FBI officers 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 materials are removed. Fox News reported that officials have also spotted multiple “buckets” of ammunition in Holmes’ apartment.
According to reports, Holmes was 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. Police found him in the parking lot with what was described as an AK-47-style assault weapon, a shotgun and two handguns, as well as a bullet-proof vest and gas mask.
The Pentagon confirmed that several members of the military were either injured or killed in the shooting and the medical school at the University of Colorado announced that Holmes enrolled at the school last year and was a PhD candidate in neuroscience, but withdrew from the university in June. He reportedly recently moved into the booby trapped apartment, which is five miles from the movie theater.
With 12 dead and 38 injured at press time, emergency response officials described some of the wounds they are tending to as “horrific,” detailing that many were caused by gunfire and others were blast injuries from what has variously been described as a tear gas canister or explosive smoke device allegedly tossed by Holmes at the beginning of his attack. Among the dead is a six-year-old girl who was attending the movie with her father.
Warner Bros., the movie studio behind director Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman film released a statement about the shooting on Friday. “Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident,” it read. “We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time.” A number of actors and musicians also responded to the shooting, including “Avengers” star Chris Evans, who said his heart was “completely shattered” by the shocking incident.
President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney released statements about the incident, and Obama addressed it in more detail at 10:40 a.m. at a previously scheduled campaign appearance in Ft. Myers, Florida, that was canceled in the wake of the tragedy.
Cinemark, the owner of the theater where the shooting took place also released a statement about the shooting. “Cinemark is deeply saddened about this tragic incident,” it read. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and loved ones, our employees, and the Aurora community. We are grateful for the quick and professional reaction of all local law enforcement and emergency responders. Cinemark is working closely with the Aurora Police Department and local law enforcement.”
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