US shooting planned for months
A woman places flowers on a memorial as people gather to mourn across the street from the Century 16 theater in Aurora. President Barack Obama was set to visit the families of the Batman theater massacre victims. AFP photo
James Holmes suspect of a rampage in which 12 people were killed inside an Aurora movie theater in Colorado, planned the attack with “calculation and deliberation,” police have said, as the families mourn the victims.
In Aurora, investigators spent hours removing explosive materials from inside Holmes’ suburban Denver apartment on July 21, a day after he opened fire and set off gas canisters in a theater minutes into a premiere of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.” The massacre left 12 people dead and 58 injured.
Holmes’ apartment was rigged with jars of liquids, explosives and chemicals that were booby trapped to kill “whoever entered,” Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said, adding that it would likely have been one of his officers. Holmes received several mail deliveries over four months to his home and school and bought thousands of rounds of ammunition on the Internet. “What we’re seeing here is evidence of some calculation and deliberation,” he added.
Assault rifle jammed during the attack, FBI agent
Inside the apartment, FBI Special agent James Yacone said bomb technicians neutralized what he called a “hypergolic mixture” and an improvised explosive device containing an unknown substance. Meanwhile, a federal law enforcement official provided an updated account about the gunfire inside the theater, saying that a semi-automatic assault rifle used by the shooter jammed during the attack, forcing him to switch to another weapon. U.S. President Barack Obama, who called in his weekly radio address for prayer and reflection on the rampage, was scheduled to travel to Colorado yesterday to visit the families of victims.
Holmes had recently withdrawn from a competitive graduate program in neuroscience at the University of Colorado Denver, where he was one of six students at the school to get National Institutes of Health grant money. He recently took an intense three-part, oral exam that marks the end of the first year of the four-year program there, but university officials would not say if he passed, citing privacy concerns.
The university said Holmes gave no reason for his withdrawal, a decision he made in June. In a resume posted on Monster.com, Holmes listed himself as an “aspiring scientist” and said he was looking for a job as a laboratory technician. He also worked as a cabin counselor to underprivileged children at a summer camp in Los Angeles in 2008.
In a statement, Camp Max Straus confirmed that Holmes had worked there for eight weeks. The camp provided no other details about Holmes, but said such counselors were generally responsible for the care and guidance of roughly 10 children.