Shootings 'planned for months'
Deliveries received by the man accused of committing a cinema massacre at a Denver-area premiere of the new Batman film suggest months of "calculation and deliberation" leading up to the shooting rampage that killed 12 people, police said.
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates discussed the shipments as local and federal authorities completed the painstaking process of disarming suspect James Holmes' apartment, which was found booby-trapped with explosive devices after the shooting at a multiplex theatre several miles away.
Yesterday, the local coroner's officer released the names of the 12 people killed. As evening fell, residents gathered at a local high school to mourn the passing of a classmate who graduated in May.
"We've become aware that the suspect over the last four months received a high volume of deliveries to both his work and home addresses," Mr Oates said.
"This begins to explain how he got his hands on all the magazines and ammunition.
"We also think it begins to explain some of the materials he had in his apartment," Mr Oates said.
"What we're seeing here is evidence of some calculation and deliberation."
A gunman wearing a full suit of tactical body armour, helmet and gas mask opened fire at a packed midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises early on Friday morning, killing 12 people and wounding 58.
Mr Holmes (24) was arrested minutes later in a parking lot behind the cinema.
Among the dead were a 6-year-old girl who had just learned to swim, a young man celebrating his 27th birthday and an aspiring sportscaster who missed by minutes being on the scene of a Toronto mall shooting earlier this summer.
Jessica Ghawi, also known as Jessica Redfield, had blogged at length about surviving the June 2nd Eaton Centre mall shooting in Toronto that killed two people and injured several others.
Friday’s mass shooting stunned the nation, evoking memories of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, 27km from Aurora, where two students opened fire and killed 12 students and a teacher.
It also reverberated in the US presidential race.
Both US president Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, toned down their campaigns on Friday, pulled ads from Colorado and dedicated scheduled events to the victims.
Mr Obama was scheduled to travel to Colorado today to honour the shooting victims, an administration official said.
Pope Benedict expressed dismay and sadness at the shooting."I was deeply shocked by the senseless violence which took place in Aurora, Denver," he said in his regular Sunday Angelus address."I share the distress of the families and friends of the victims and the injured, especially the children," he said.
Those who witnessed the shooting told of a horrific scene, with dazed victims bleeding from bullet wounds, spitting up blood and crying for help.
"I slipped on some blood and landed on a lady. I shook her and said, 'We need to go; get up,' and there was no response, so I presumed she was dead," said Tanner Coon (17).
When police arrested Holmes, he was armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a Glock .40-caliber handgun, Mr Oates said.
Police found an additional Glock .40-caliber handgun in his car, parked just outside the theatre's rear emergency exit, he said.
Police said Mr Holmes had purchased the weapons legally at three area gun stores in the last 60 days and bought 6,000 rounds of ammunition online, including a 100-round drum magazine for an assault rifle.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said the suspect was being held in solitary confinement to protect him from other prisoners, a routine move in high-profile cases.