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Friday, July 20, 2012

James Eagan Holmes: Brilliant Coward Who Planned Aurora Massacre; NOT Crazy! 1st Court Appearance Monday (Videos)

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Aurora, Colorado theater shooting during 'Dark Knight Rises:' 12 killed, 58 injured

A gunman barged into a crowded suburban Denver theater during a sold-out midnight screening of the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," hurled a gas canister and opened fire, killing 12 and injuring 58.

The number of casualties makes the incident the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.

The suspected gunman was identified as 24-year-old James Holmes, a native of San Diego. Investigators were confident he acted alone and were not looking for any other suspects.

There was no immediate word of any motive.

Holmes is a PhD student who recently withdrew from his neuroscience studies at the University of Colorado. He grew up in San Diego and attended high school there before moving to the Inland Empire, where he graduated from UC Riverside in spring 2010 with a degree in neuroscience. Riverside officials said he had no history of arrest while he lived in the city from 2006 to 2010.

The shooting began around 12:30 a.m. MT Friday at the Century 16 Movie Theaters at the Aurora Town Center, during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." It was initially reported that 14 people were killed, but Aurora police revised that figure following further investigation. There were 70 people shot - 10 people were declared dead at the scene, two died at a local hospital and 58 people were injured.

Emergency room doctors at an area hospital confirmed that a 4-month-old was among the victims treated and released. Most of the victims were injured by gunfire but a "handful" during the ensuing chaos, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said. One person was hit in an adjacent theater. Eleven patients remained in critical condition Friday night, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said during a 7 p.m. MT news conference.

Authorities had removed all the bodies from the theater by around 5 p.m. MT, and the coroner's office was expected to notify family members around 8 p.m. MT after the deceased are identified.

According to ABC News, Holmes bought a ticket to the movie and went into the theater as part of the crowd. After the movie started, he left through an emergency exit and propped open the door. That's when he geared up and re-entered the theater, tossed the gas canister and began shooting.

Holmes was dressed all in black and was wearing a ballistic helmet, a gas mask, ballistic gloves, a bullet-resistant tactical vest and leggings, and throat and groin protection. A witness told ABC News that it all happened during a shooting scene in the movie, leading moviegoers to believe it was some sort of stunt for the film.

"It took me a second to realize what was actually going on," said moviegoer Donovan Tate. "And as people were running away, I hit the ground so I wouldn't be hit."

"I see a guy next to me, a gentleman sitting right next to me getting shot, and then that's when I realized that this is not part of the movie, there's a gunman and he's shooting everyone," said witness Chris Ramos.

Holmes then slowly made his way up and down the theater aisles, shooting at random people - only stopping to reload.

"He ended up shooting people behind me and the bullet casings were just on my forehead, they were burning, I just smelled gunshots," witness Jennifer Seeger told "Good Morning America."

"All I could think was if I stand up he's going to shoot because that's what he was doing, and I was just trying to think how I was going to get my kids out of there," Patricia Legarreta said through tears.

Holmes was apprehended within minutes of the shooting at his white Hyundai parked behind the theater. He did not resist arrest.

He was carrying three weapons, including a .223 caliber Smith & Wesson assault rifle equipped with a drum magazine, which can hold upwards of 100 rounds, a Remington 12 gauge shot gun, and a .40 Glock handgun. A fourth handgun was found in the vehicle. ABC news confirmed that they were all purchased legally.

According to police sources, Holmes told arresting officers that he was "The Joker." He also spoke of possible explosives in his home. Investigators rushed to the apartment complex, which was quickly evacuated, as well as four other surrounding buildings. Police say the apartment was booby-trapped and loaded with incendiaries and small improvised explosive devices. The ATF has not yet decided how to proceed without setting off explosions.

"The pictures we have from inside the apartment are pretty disturbing considering how elaborate the apartment is booby trapped," police said outside of the apartment complex today. The "flammable and explosive" materials could have blown up Holmes' apartment building and the ones near it, police said.

The apartment complex is home exclusively to University of Colorado Medical Center students, patients, and staff members, residents told ABC News.

The U.S. Department of Defense said three members of the U.S. Armed Forces were wounded in the shooting and one is unaccounted for. One Navy sailor was injured by shrapnel, treated and released. Another sailor, known to have been at the theater, is currently unaccounted for. The sailors are part of a Navy Cyber Command unit at nearby Buckley Air Force base. Two Air Force airmen were also wounded.

The third installment of the Batman trilogy opened to packed auditoriums around the country at midnight showings and features a villain named Bane who wears a bullet-resistant vest and gas mask. Trailers for the movie show explosions at public events including a football game. Though many moviegoers dressed in costume to attend the opening night screening, police have made no statements about any connection between the gunman's motives and the movie.

The Paris premiere of the movie has been canceled following news of the shooting, and director Christopher Nolan and cast members Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Morgan Freeman have also canceled their press interviews.

President Barack Obama addressed the tragedy in remarks in Ft. Myers, Fla. Mr. Obama canceled his Friday campaign event in light of the Colorado shooting and returned to Washington to be briefed.

The president released a statement saying he is "shocked and saddened" by the deadly shooting and urged the nation to "come together as one American family." He said he and first lady Michelle Obama were shocked by the "horrific and tragic" shooting and that his administration will do everything to support the people of Aurora, Colo.

The FBI said there is no indication that the shooting has any connection to terrorism.

A San Diego woman identifying herself as Holmes' mother spoke briefly with ABC News. She had not been contacted by authorities, but when she first heard the news, she immediately expressed concern that her son may have been involved.

"You have the right person," she said, speaking on gut instinct. "I need to call the police. I need to fly out to Colorado."

A neighbor who attended high school with Holmes described him as very smart but didn't really stand out otherwise. Holmes' father Robert was seen leaving his home in the Rancho Penasquitos neighborhood in San Diego with bags packed. Reporters caught up with him at the airport, but he did not have any comment about the incident.

Holmes' family members issued a statement Friday saying their "hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved" and that they are cooperating with authorities in San Diego and Aurora.

Aurora is located about 10 miles from downtown Denver.

Aurora shooting suspect left apartment "booby trapped," music blaring

The 24-year-old accused of shooting 71 people early Friday morning was a former honor student and recent graduate school dropout who apparently booby trapped his apartment and left the stereo blaring non-stop techno music before he headed to the local movie theater where police say he killed 12 people.

James Eagan Holmes of 1690 Paris Street surrendered to police in the parking lot outside the theater "without any significant incident," Aurora police Chief Dan Oates said.

Oates said Holmes made a statement to officers about possible explosives in his home. That prompted police to evacuate five buildings nearby and begin searching his third-floor apartment using a police robot and camera attached to a long pole.

Inside, officers found trip wires attached to 1-liter plastic bottles that contain an unknown substance.

Police Chief Dan Oates said the explosive devices were "pretty sophisticated."
"We could be here for days," he said at midday.

Holmes grew up in San Diego and graduated from Westview High School there in 2006. In 2010, he earned a degree in neuroscience from the University of California Riverside, a spokeswoman for the university said.

Chancellor Timothy White said Holmes distinguished himself academically, graduating with highest honors, but that he did not walk at his commencement ceremony.
"Academically, he was the top of the top," White said.

The Mai family has lived next door to the Holmes family for abut 15 years on a middle-class street in suburban San Diego.

Christine Mai, 17, said she never saw James Holmes act violent or inappropriately.

She never knew him or his family to have weapons or any conflicts.

He grew up with a younger sister who plays guitar and attends San Diego State University.

Christine Mai said Holmes' father went to Colorado to be with his son and his mother was holed up inside her home and didn't want to have any visitors.

Dozens of reporters were camped outside the house.

The Holmes had Christmas parties in their front yard and often exchanged gifts with the Mai family, she said. Last year, they shared hot apple cider in the front yard with other neighbors.

"He seemed like a nice guy," she said. "His mother used to tell us he was a good son."

Holmes left home to attend UCR, but returned home after graduation and had a hard time finding work. He took a part-time job at a nearby McDonald's to pay for school, she said.

"He didn't have a job,"she said. "I felt bad for him because he studied so hard. My brother said he looked kind of down, he seemed depressed."

Christine Mai and her father, Tom said they never saw Holmes socializing

with friends, partying at his house or with any girlfriends.

"James was nice and quiet," Tom Mai said. "He was studious, he cut the grass, and cleaned the car. He was very bright."

Julie Adams said her son played soccer with Holmes at Westview High. Holmes played his freshman and sophomore year, she said.

While most of the other kids — her son Taylor included — played league soccer and continues the sport throughout high school, Holmes wasn't as involved, she said.

"I could tell you a lot about every single kid on that team except for him," Adams said. "He was more aloof."

She was shocked to discover this morning that the helicopters were circling her San Diego neighborhood because Holmes' alleged rampage.

"Taylor remembers playing soccer with him. He said he was quiet, reserved and a respectful kid," Adams said.

According to her son's yearbook, Holmes also ran cross country as a freshman but did not continue the sport.

Holmes enrolled in the graduate program in neurosciences at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora in June 2011 but was in the process of withdrawing, university spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said Friday.

In an e-mail message to members of the campus community, Doug Abraham, Chief of Police for the university, said Holmes left the school in June and his access to campus buildings was terminated while his withdrawal was being processed. He said officials do not believe

Holmes had been on campus since then, but authorities evacuated non-essential personnel from the research buildings as a precautionary measure while they wait for bomb-sniffing dogs to do a search of the buildings "to add another level of assurance."

In an apartment rental application he submitted for a different apartment early last year, Holmes described himself as a "quiet and easy-going" student. Other tenants in his building — which is reserved for students, faculty and staff of the medical campus — described him as a recluse.

A pharmacy student who also lives in the building told The Post he called 911 around 12:30 a.m. because there was a song blaring from the stereo inside apartment 10, where Holmes lived.

The student, who wanted to be identified only as Ben, said he couldn't make out the song but that it seemed to be playing on repeat.

Kaitlyn Fonzi, a 20-year-old biology student at University of Colorado Denver, lives in an apartment below Holmes.

Around midnight, Fonzi said she heard techno music blasting from Holmes apartment.

She went upstairs and knocked on the door. When no one answered, she put her hand on the door knob and realized the door was unlocked.

Fonzi decided not to go inside the apartment.

The music turned off at almost exactly 1 a.m., Fonzi said.

Police received several reports of the shooting at the Century 16 Movie Theaters at the Aurora Town Center around 12:39 a.m. Witnesses told police that a man entered the dark, packed theater and opened fire after throwing two smoke canisters.

Oates said he was dressed in black and wearing a ballistic helmet and vest, ballistic leggings, throat and groin protector and gas mask and black tactical gloves. He was armed with three weapons.

NBC News said law enforcement officials told them the weapons were bought from local stores of two national chains — Gander Mountain Guns and Bass Pro Shop — beginning in May.

His neighbors in Aurora said he kept to himself and wouldn't acknowledge people when they passed in the hall and said hello.

"No one knew him. No one," one man said.

Fonzi said Holmes seemed normal and studious.

The maintenance person at Holmes' last apartment in Riverside remembered Holmes much the same way.

Jose Torres,45, said he didn't remember Holmes having a roommate and said he wasn't social. Torres gasped when he realized Holmes was the accused shooter in Colorado.

"He did not talk too much," Torres said after looking at a photograph of Holmes. "He don't say hi. He was just quiet with no problems."

When told of the booby traps authorities found in Holmes' apartment in Aurora, Torres appeared shocked.

"He didn't destroy this apartment when he left," Torres said. "When he left it was in good condition."

Authorities began searching Holmes' Aurora apartment building around 2 a.m.

A resident of the building who didn't want to give his name said he answered his door to see police with rifles. An officer asked if he had seen a white guy with crazy hair, possibly dyed unnatural colors, the man said.

It was unclear if the officer was referring to Holmes.

Wes Bradshaw and his mother Lavonne watched the search of the third-floor apartment from their apartment, they said. The two watched a police robot enter the building right before they heard a small explosion.

The two, along with the rest of the building's tenants, were ordered to evacuate soon after, they said.

Residents of the area were huddled on street corners waiting for news. Police at the scene told them it could be hours before they are allowed to return to their homes.

About 6:30 a.m., three police officers on a fire truck bucket were looking through the window of the third-floor apartment and taking pictures.

Using a long pole, responders broke into the window from the basket atop a ladder truck.

Aurora Deputy Fire Chief Chris Henderson said authorities could see several "string-like contraptions" inside.

"We're not sure exactly where they connect to," Henderson said.

Jim Yacone, special agent in charge of the Denver FBI, said they were working on "how to disarm the flammable or explosive material."

Neighbors in a fourth-floor apartment one building had a bird's eye view of the suspect's apartment.

They said the curtains are usually closed and they never see any movement inside the apartment.

Even at night, there are no lights or anything in that apartment, said Yesenia Lujan, 24, who has lived in her apartment for seven months.

Using a camera with a zoom lens, Lujan's roommate said he could see into the suspect's kitchen, where a poster of Will Farrell in the movie "Anchorman" was hanging on the wall.

Holmes is scheduled to appear in court in Arapahoe County on Monday morning.

Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes not cooperating with Police

The suspect in a shooting that killed or wounded 71 people early Friday in a suburban Denver movie theater is not talking to investigators, a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in discussing the ongoing case. The person also said police found jars of chemicals in James Holmes' booby trapped Aurora apartment with wires nearby.
Those who knew the 24-year-old describe him as a shy, intelligent person raised in California by parents who were active in their well-to-do suburban neighborhood.

Holmes, who was studying neuroscience in a Ph.D. program in Colorado, grew up in San Diego, where his parents still live on a quiet, street of two-story homes with red tile roofs. He played soccer at Westview High School and ran cross country before going to college.

Neighbors say the family belonged to a Presbyterian church and hosted a Christmas party for residents. Many families choose the San Diego neighborhood because it is part of the well-regarded Poway Unified School District, one of the best in California.
On Friday morning, police escorted the suspect's father, a manager of a software company, from their San Diego home. The mother, a nurse, stayed inside, receiving family visitors who came to offer support. The suspect also has a younger sister.

San Diego police spokeswoman Lt. Andra Brown, spoke to reporters in the driveway of the Holmes' home, on behalf of the family.

"As you can understand, the Holmes family is very upset about all of this," she said. "It's a tragic event and it's taken everyone by surprise. They are definitely trying to work through this."

The family in a written statement said "our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time."

Police in Colorado said Holmes fired into a crowded movie theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora while wearing a gas mask, killing 12 people and wounding 59 others. He was in police custody in Colorado and the FBI said there was no indication the attack was tied to any terrorist groups.

There have been no indications so far that Holmes had any run-ins with the law before Friday. San Diego Superior Court spokeswoman Karen Dalton said there were no records found under his name, not even for a traffic ticket. Riverside County prosecutors also have no criminal record for him, said John Hall, a spokesman for the district attorney's office.

A furniture mover who lives several blocks from the suspect's Aurora apartment building said he shared a beer with him Tuesday at a neighborhood bar where they talked about Denver Bronco Peyton Manning.

Jackie Mitchell said he recognized Holmes' photo on television as the guy he met at the bar. He described him as smart with a "swagger."

"We just talked about football. He had a backpack and geeky classes and seemed like a real intelligent guy and I figured he was one of the college students," he said.

There was no reference made to a planned shooting, Mitchell said.

Anthony Mai, a 16-year-old who grew up next door to Holmes, said Holmes largely kept to himself but his behavior was nothing out of the ordinary.

"He felt a little bit concealed, but it wasn't too much. It was alright" he said. "This is just a feeling in my gut, but I felt like he had something, like he was being picked on or something."

His father, Tom Mai, a retired electrical engineer, said he was a "shy guy" who came from a "very, very nice family."

Rose To said the Holmes family set up chairs in their garage for the Christmas party a few years ago, giving neighbors a chance to mingle.

"They were really nice people, good neighbors," she said.

Mai said the mother told him the suspect couldn't find a job after earning a master's degree from a University of California school and so went back for another degree.

Holmes graduated from University of California, Riverside, in the spring of 2010 with a bachelor of science degree in neuroscience, said university spokesman Sean Nealon. No other details were immediately available about his life on campus, Nealon said.

In 2011, Holmes enrolled in the Ph.D. neuroscience program at the University of Colorado-Denver but was in the process of withdrawing, said spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery. University officials earlier said he was a student at the university's medical school.

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Sources: AP, ABC Local, Denver Post, MSNBC, NY Daily News, Ontheredcarpet, TMZ, Youtube, Google Maps

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