Colorado police disarming home of shooting suspect
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.
Mr Holmes, a graduate student who authorities said had his hair dyed red and called himself “the Joker” in a reference to Batman's comic-book nemesis, was due to make an initial court appearance on Monday.
Authorities were unable to enter Mr Holmes' apartment, on the top floor of a three-story building, saying he had booby-trapped it with what appeared to be sophisticated explosives.
Police declined to say what, if anything, Mr Holmes said to them following his arrest.
During an emotional press conference, Mr Oates would not comment on possible motives for the massacre that stunned the community and the nation.
US president Barack Obama called the shootings a reminder that life is fragile and promised that the federal government stood ready to do all it could to seek justice for the "heinous crime."
"Even as we come to learn how this happened and who's responsible, we may never understand what leads anyone to terrorize their fellow human beings," Mr Obama said in his weekly radio and internet address, which was broadcast today.
Witnesses at the movie theatre told of a horrific scene, with dazed victims bleeding from bullet wounds, spitting up blood and crying for help.