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You're reading: Police: Colorado suspect planned attack for months

AURORA, Colorado (AP) — The shooting suspect who went on a deadly rampage inside a Colorado theater planned the attack with "calculation and deliberation," police said Saturday, receiving deliveries for months which authorities believe armed him for battle and were used to rig his apartment with dozens of bombs.

Authorities on Saturday removed
dangerous explosive materials from inside James Holmes’ suburban
Denver apartment a day after police said he opened fire and set off
gas canisters in a suburban theater minutes into the premiere of the
Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.” The attack left 12
people dead and 58 injured.

His apartment was rigged with jars of
liquids, explosives and chemicals that were booby trapped to kill
“whoever entered it,” Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said,
noting it would have likely been one of his officers.

All hazards have been removed from the
Holmes’ apartment and residents in surrounding buildings can return
home, police said.

The exception was Holmes’ apartment
building, where authorities were still collecting evidence. Inside
the apartment, authorities began covering the windows with black
plastic to prevent onlookers from seeing in. Before they did, a man
in an ATF T-shirt could be seen measuring a poster on a closet that
advertised a DVD called “Soldiers of Misfortune.” The
poster showed several figures in various positions playing paintball,
some wearing masks.

Authorities wouldn’t discuss a motive
for one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history, as
makeshift memorials for the victims sprang up and relatives began to
publicly mourn their loved ones.

Holmes had recently withdrawn from a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 freshman year
of the four-year program there, but university officials would not
say if he passed, citing privacy concerns.

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.

The resume, first obtained by The
Press-Enterprise in Riverside, paints a picture of a brilliant young
man brimming with potential: He worked as a summer intern at the Salk
Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla in 2006 and mapped the
neurons of Zebra finches and studied the flight muscles of
hummingbirds while an undergraduate at the University of California,
Riverside. He also worked as a summer camp counselor to
underprivileged children at a Jewish camp in Los Angeles in 2008.

Still, neighbors and former classmates
in California said although Holmes was whip-smart, he was a loner who
said little and was easily forgotten — until this week.

Holmes apparently had prepared the
attack at the Aurora theater well in advance, receiving multiple
deliveries by mail for four months to his home and school and buying
thousands of rounds of ammunition on the Internet, Oates said.

“He had a high volume of
deliveries,” Oates said. “We think this explains how he got
his hands on the magazine, ammunition,” he said, as well as the
rigged explosives in his apartment.

“What we’re seeing here is
evidence of some calculation and deliberation,” Oates added.

Federal authorities detonated one small
explosive and disarmed others inside Holmes’ apartment after sending
in a robot to take down a trip wire, FBI Special agent James Yacone
said. Bomb technicians then neutralized what he called a “hyperbolic
mixture” and an improvised explosive device containing an
unknown substance. There also were multiple containers of
accelerants, he said.

“It was an extremely dangerous
environment,” Yacone said, saying anyone who walked in would
have sustained “significant injuries” or been killed.

Outside the apartment, police arranged
plastic storage boxes and large white plastic bags, possibly for
evidence, although no officials were available to confirm the purpose
of the containers.

Holmes, 24, was in solitary confinement
for his protection at a county detention facility Saturday, held
without bond on suspicion of multiple counts of first-degree murder.
He was set for an initial hearing on Monday and had been appointed a
public defender, authorities said.

Stories of the dead began to emerge,
including that of a 6-year-old girl and a man who died on his 27th
birthday and a day before his anniversary. Families grieved and
waited at hospitals, which reported at least seven wounded still in
critical condition Saturday and others with injuries that likely are
permanent.

Veronica Moser, 6, had gone to the
movies with her mother, who was drifting in and out of consciousness
in a hospital intensive care unit, bullets lodged in her throat and a
gunshot wound to her abdomen.

“Nobody can tell her about it,”
Annie Dalton said of her niece, Ashley Moser. “She is in
critical condition, but all she’s asking about is her daughter.”

Veronica had just started swimming
lessons on Tuesday, Dalton said.

“She was excited about life as she
should be. She’s a 6-year-old girl,” her great aunt said.

Another victim, 27-year-old Matt
McQuinn, was killed after diving in front of his girlfriend and her
older brother to shield them from the gunfire, said his family’s
attorney, Rob Scott of Dayton, Ohio.

Alex Sullivan had planned a weekend of
fun, first ringing in his 27th birthday with friends at the special
midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” and then
celebrating his first wedding anniversary on Sunday.

“He was a very, very good young
man,” said Sullivan’s uncle, Joe Loewenguth. “He always had
a smile, always made you laugh. He had a little bit of comic in him.”

President Barack Obama, who called in
his weekly radio address for prayer and reflection on the rampage,
was scheduled to travel to Colorado on Sunday to visit with the
families of victims.

Oates said Holmes used a military-style
semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and a pistol to open fire on the
unsuspecting theater-goers. He had bought the weapons at local gun
stores within the last two months. He recently purchased 6,000 rounds
of ammunition over the Internet, the chief said.

Holmes also bought an urban assault
vest, two magazine holders and a knife for just over $300 on July 2
from an online supplier of tactical gear for police and military
personnel, according to the company.

Chad Weinman, CEO of TacticalGear.com,
said his company processes thousands of orders each day, and there
was nothing unusual in the one that Holmes placed.

“Everything Mr. Holmes purchased
on July 2 is commercially available,” Weinman said, adding he
was “appalled” that the material was sold to Holmes before
the shooting.

The Batman movie, the last in the
trilogy starring Christian Bale, opened worldwide Friday with
midnight showings in the U.S. “The Dark Knight Rises”
earned $30.6 million in Friday morning midnight screenings, and,
according to industry estimates, roughly $75 to 77 million on that
day. That put it on track for a weekend total of around $165 million,
which would be the second-highest opening weekend ever, following
“The Avengers.”

After buying a ticket to the movie,
Holmes went into the theater and propped open an exit door several
minutes into the film, a federal law enforcement official said. The
suspect then returned in protective gear and with high-powered
weapons and opened fire, shooting scores of people and picking off
victims who tried to flee, officials said.

The shooting was the worst in the U.S.
since the Nov. 5, 2009, attack at Fort Hood, Texas. An Army
psychiatrist was charged with killing 13 soldiers and civilians and
wounding more than two dozen others.

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