Aurora Batman shooting: After negotiating bomb and tripwire, police break into shooter’s apartment to discover explosives factory
MORE than 30 “improvised grenades” were discovered last night inside the booby-trapped apartment of the man suspected of killing 12 people in the Batman movie murders.
James Holmes, 24, who was arrested with four guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition following the massacre on Friday morning, told police he had rigged the flat in Aurora, near Denver, with explosives. Police said they discovered devices “set up to kill” inside the home.
It was claimed that the apartment contained three types of explosives – jars filled with accelerants and chemicals that would explode when mixed together, in addition to the grenades.
Federal authorities disarmed one explosive inside the suburban apartment with a “water shot,” a device that emits a shock wave and water. Police said earlier they had “defeated” another explosive connected to a trip wire.
Yesterday, investigators were examining an online image of a 24-year-old red-haired man, who called himself “ClassicJimbo,” and who looks like Holmes, and were also trying to establish a motive for the crime. When he struck on Friday, Holmes had coloured his hair red and told police who arrested him that he was “The Joker” – Batman’s arch enemy.
Meanwhile, more details emerged of the killing spree inside Century 16 cinema in downtown Aurora during the midnight premiere of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. One of the victims was named last night as six-year-old Veronica Moser. Her mother Aslet is among the 58 people injured in the attack.
The suspect is believed to have blended in with other moviegoers who dressed as heroes and villains. It is thought he propped open an emergency exit door in order to put on a gas mask, throat protector and bullet proof vest, before opening fire on cinema goers.
“It was just straight chaos,” said Jennifer Seeger, 25. “Everybody was starting to scream and run at that point. He went straight from here to here with a gun in my face at that point. That rifle was in my face and I honestly didn’t know what to think.”
Another survivor, Tanner Coon, 17 said: “I slipped on some blood and landed on a lady. I shook her and said, ‘We need to go; get up,’ and there was no response, so I presumed she was dead.”
It is now believed that Holmes planned for an explosion at his apartment building – five miles from the cinema – to be detonated at the same time as the shootings were taking place.
Kaitlyn Fonzi, a graduate student at Denver’s University Hospital who lives in the apartment below, said she heard loud music coming from the suspect’s unit just after midnight. She went upstairs and put her hand on the door handle. She felt it was unlocked, but she didn’t know if he was there and decided not to confront him.
Fonzi called police, who told her they were busy with a shooting and did not have time to respond to a noise disturbance. She said she was shaken to later learn the apartment was booby trapped.
“I’m concerned if I had opened the door, I would have set it off,” she said. She added that she believed the music had been on a timer, and that Holmes may have set the trap deliberately to lure her into triggering the explosion.
Police meanwhile said there was nothing illegal about the guns and ammunition Holmes allegedly used during the attack.“All the weapons that he possessed, he possessed legally,” Aurora police chief Dan Oates said. “And all the clips that he possessed, he possessed legally. And all the ammunition that he possessed, he possessed legally.” Holmes had amassed four guns and over 6,000 rounds of ammunition in the 60 days before the attack.
America is struggling to come to terms with the shooting, which happened just 15 miles from Columbine High School, where 12 students and a teacher were murdered by two shooters in 1999.
US President Barack Obama yesterday described the attack as a “heinous crime”.
“Even as we come to learn how this happened and who’s responsible, we may never understand what leads anyone to terrorise their fellow human beings,” Obama said in his weekly radio and internet address, which was broadcast on yesterday.
Security meanwhile was ramped up at The Dark Knight Rises screenings across the US, with New York Police Department posting officers at cinemas showing the movie and cinemas in California introducing increased security to deter copycat killers. In the UK, cinema chains Odeon and Cineworld said they would be taking police advice on security measures.
The British director of the movie, Christopher Nolan, released a statement describing the killings as a “senseless tragedy”, and the gunman’s actions as “unbearably savage.” Warner Bros, meanwhile, which made the film, have chosen not to release the film’s takings for its opening weekend, and have cancelled appearances by the cast.
The studio said actors Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon Levitt will no longer hold press or red carpet events at Mexico City’s National Auditorium tomorrow. Premiere events in Paris were also cancelled on Friday.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East