Colorado police disarming home of shooting suspect

Sat, Jul 21, 2012, 01:00

Police in Aurora, Colorado, detonated a device while disarming the apartment of James Holmes, the suspect in the movie-theater shooting that killed 12, causing a blast that sent smoke and debris flying.

Officers were entering the booby-trapped apartment to remove explosives that Mr Holmes (24) rigged before the shootings, said Sgt Cassidee Carlson of the Aurora Police Department.

She said police were proceeding cautiously as Mr Holmes was sophisticated and deliberate. A tripwire was found at the his home's entrance in the three-story building, she said.

"It clearly was intended to kill," she said. "This is serious stuff."

At about 11.40 am local time (6.40pm Irish time), a fire truck raised its bucket to the window and two helmeted bomb squad members placed a device inside.

The bucket retracted, a fire engine blasted its horn three times and the explosion went off. Debris flew from the window into a parking lot.

The Aurora Police Department posted on Twitter: "The controlled detonation was successful." Streets nearby were reopened after the detonation.

Police planned to remove about 30 devices inside the apartment and an additional 30 artillery shells, they said.

Meanwhile, a memorial of flowers and candles has been set up at the Aurora shopping mall where the shooting rampage at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises turned a movie screening into a chaotic scene of dead or bleeding victims.

A handwritten sign read: "7/20 gone not forgotten."

The gunman - armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun and a pistol, and wearing a full suit of tactical body armour, a helmet and a gas mask - set off two smoke bombs before opening fire in the dark theatre.

Police said 30 people remained hospitalised today, 11 of them in critical condition.

Officers who arrived on scene within 90 seconds of the first emergency calls quickly took Holmes (24) into custody in a parking lot behind the cinema, where he surrendered without a fight, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said.

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