Aurora (Colorado, US), July 22 : Local authorities in this U. S. city said that all hazards have been removed from the booby-trapped apartment of the suspect involved in the Batman movie shooting rampage. Following a "controlled detonation" and robotic inspection, police entered James Holmes'' apartment here on Saturday afternoon, quickly removed a large amount of potentially explosive materials, and transported them to an undisclosed area. Police said the some 100 families evacuated from four surrounding apartment buildings could now move back into their homes. But it would be on Sunday or later when residents of Holmes''s building would be allowed to return, said Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates.
"We still have a lot of work to do there." Forty-five firefighters, four engines and two trucks with a total of 100 personnel, including bomb experts and federal agents, had been dispatched to back up the bomb squad, said Aurora Fire Chief Mike Garcia, who was also on the spot. Early Saturday, a robot was used to disarm "the primary device," a trip wire "designed to kill" someone entering Holmes''s apartment on Paris Street, specifically a police officer, Oates told reporters. "We sure as hell are angry," he said. Speaking at a press conference, agent Jim Yacone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation described an elaborate, "sophisticated" bomb scene inside Holmes'' apartment, including "jars with accelerants," incendiary devices and chemicals, other flammables, and improvised explosive devices.
Yacone said police were moving in a methodical fashion so as not to jeopardize evidence and trigger an explosion. Oates said Holmes had received a "high volume" of packages to his home in the past few weeks, explaining why he had obtained ammunition and bomb-making materials. "What we''re seeing is an example of calculation and deliberation," Oates said. Police used the controlled detonation early Saturday to successfully disable a second triggering device located in Holmes'' apartment, according to Aurora Police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson.
The explosion blasted out a small glass window from the third floor of Holmes'' red brick apartment. Oates said police would be finishing their work at the Century 16 theater over the weekend, and would be vacating that crime scene by Wednesday. Holmes was arrested in the parking lot outside the Century 16 theater after a gunman burst into the midnight showing of a Batman movie premiere and unloaded about 80 rounds of bullets into the audience.
The Arapahoe County Coroner''s office on Saturday released the names of the 12 killed in the movie massacre, including a 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan. With 59 others wounded, among whom 11 were still in critical condition, the shooting is considered one of the worst mass shootings in U. S. history. The 24-year-old suspect, a native of San Diego and recent drop-out from a graduate program at University of Colorado, is scheduled for arraignment on Monday morning at Arapahoe District Court, where arrest charges will be announced. Late next week, pending conclusion of the police investigation, formal charges are expected to be filed against Holmes by the Arapahoe District Attorney, according to Aurora police information officer Krista Flannigan.
The shooting tragedy prompted President Barack Obama to cut short his Florida campaign and return to Washington. He will travel to Colorado on Sunday to visit the wounded survivors and families of the killed, the White House said. The president on Friday ordered that U. S. flags be flown at half-staff for six days. In 1999, at a high school in the nearby Littleton city, two high school students committed suicide after gunning down 12 fellow students and a teacher. Hollywood studios decided to withhold their box-office numbers for the weekend to show respect to the victims and their families. The French premiere of the film in Paris has been canceled. (ANI)