THE HOME OF 24-year-old James Holmes, the man suspected of killing 12 people at a midnight showing of The Dark Night Rises movie on Thursday, remains a deadly threat as a sophisticated booby-trap continues to be a ‘vexing problem’ for authorities.
According to the Washington Post, police and the bomb squad have decided to send a robot into the apartment of the suspect shooter later today to try and figure out how to defuse the number of devices understood to be inside.
Experts have been trying to gain access to Holmes’ apartment for the past 24 hours but Aurora police chief Dan Oates has said it is a challenge to “get in there safely”.
“I’ve personally never seen anything like it,” he said. “I see an awful lot of wires, trip wires, jars full of ammunition, jars full of liquid. Some things that look like mortar rounds.”
In the two months before the shooting, Holmes allegedly purchased 6,000 rounds of ammunition bought online legally, as well as four firearms that were used in the attacks.
“My understanding is that all the weapons that he possessed he possessed legally, and all the clips that he possessed, he possessed legally, and all the ammunition he possessed, he possessed legally,” explained Oates.
The masked, black-clad shooter burst into a theatre barely 20 minutes into the midnight screening of the popular movie, throwing two tear-gas type devices before opening fire.
“As far as we know, it was a pretty rapid pace of fire in that theatre,” Oates told reporters, his voice shaking at times with emotion, and exhaustion after a long night and day dealing with the trauma.
In an end-of-day update, he amended slightly the number of victims of the shooting at a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie from 71 to 70. Twelve of them died, including 10 in the theatre. Eleven of the injured people remain in a critical condition.
A local children’s hospital reported six young victims, the youngest of whom was aged only six. At least three of the wounded were US military members, the Pentagon said.
Shots fired in one auditorium went through the wall and hit people in the auditorium next door. The first police were on the scene within 90 seconds, while eventually some 200 officers swarmed around the building.
“Nearly everyone was shot,” said Oates, adding that a “handful” of those treated in hospital did not have gunshot wounds, but suffered other injuries in the mayhem.
Arresting officers said Holmes put up no resistance and was wearing full body armour and a gas mask, apparently to protect him from effects of his own tear gas.
Police in Aurora would not confirm if reports were true that Holmes had said ‘I am the Joker’ or had makeup painted on his face to look like the film character.
Until recently, Holmes was enrolled in a challenging neuroscience programme at a local medical school. He was not known to authorities except for receiving a speeding ticket last year.
He has been described as a shy, studious type.
Aurora, recently named one of America’s safest places to live, remains shocked, saddened and maddened this morning as it wakes up to a continuing nightmare.
Police visited the families of victims late last night. As details of the deceased began to emerge, vigils were held across the State in an outpouring of grief for those who died.
According to Fox News, the family of Alex Sullivan issued a statement confirming his death. He died on his 27th birthday.
Sports reporter Jessica Ghawi was the first victim to be named, CNN reports. A journalist writing under the name Jessica Redfield, the 24-year-old was a Denver-based hockey blogger who worked with a local radio station. In a recent blog post, she had given details about being in the Eaton Centre in Toronto just seconds before a shooter opened fire.
Colorado ShootingJacob Stevens, 18, hugs his mother Tammi Stevens after being interviewed by police outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)
Colorado ShootingJudy Goos, second from left, hugs her daughter's friend, Isaiah Bow, 20, while eye witnesses Emma Goos, 19, left, and Terrell Wallin, 20, right, gather outside Gateway High School'. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)
Colorado ShootingTom Sullivan, center, embraces family members outside Gateway High School where he has been searching franticly for his son Alex Sullivan who celebrated his 27th birthday by going to see "The Dark Knight Rises," movie. Alex died in the shooting. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)
Colorado Shooting(AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)
Colorado ShootingMarcus Weaver, who was injured during a mass shooting at the Century 16 theatre, talks to reporters. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Colorado ShootingThe car belonging to the suspect in the mass shooting at the Century 16 theatre east of the Aurora Mall, is loaded on to a flatbed truck. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Colorado ShootingA San Diego police officer stands in front of the home of the mother of Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Colorado ShootingAurora Police Chief Dan Oates talks to reporters. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Colorado ShootingAs night falls, candles sit iluminated along the sidewalk in front of a makeshift memorial for the victims of a mass shooting at the Century 16 theatre. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Colorado ShootingEsmeralda Carbajal lights candles at a growing memorial across the street from the Century 16 movie theatre. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
-Additional reporting by AFP