Custom Search

Saturday, July 21, 2012

James Holmes' Booby-Trapped Apartment Deactivated: 3-Phase Operation (Videos)

Entrance to suspect's apartment a 3-phase operation

Investigators carried out Saturday a "controlled detonation" inside the booby-trapped apartment of movie theater shooting suspect James E. Holmes, the latest move in a three-step effort to enter the apartment.

The blast came after a policeman yelled, "Fire in the hole!" three times.

Fire officials were on standby, but there was no immediate indication of a fire.

Earlier, a trip wire and an incendiary device were both dealt with, Public Information Officer Sgt. Cassidee Carlson told reporters.

"This trip wire was set up to clearly detonate when somebody entered the apartment, and it was set up to kill that person," she said. "That could have been a police officer executing a search warrant. This is some serious stuff our team is dealing with."

Investigators were planning to use a robot to disarm trip wires linked to explosives, and then use that same robot to remotely remove improvised explosive devices, a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the operation told CNN.

It was also possible one of the bomb experts on site would put on protective gear and go inside the apartment, the official added.

Carlson did not say whether that occurred.

It was not clear where all the explosives were located, though many have been seen in the living area with circuitry reaching into the kitchen, the official said.

One of the incendiary devices appears to be improvised napalm and others appear to be mixtures that, if combined with other materials, could cause an explosion, the official said.

Approximately 30 aerial shells are in the 850 square foot apartment, Carlson said. They will be placed on sand trucks and taken to a disposal site for controlled detonation, she said.

"During any of these phases, and as this day goes on, again, there may be controlled detonations," she said, adding that reverse 911 calls would alert the general public prior to any blasts.

Asked what timeline authorities were expecting to follow, she said, "There is no timeline. I can't give you an endtime. We're hoping to get in there within the next hour."

But, she added, "We have no idea how long any of this is going to take."
Officials had been hoping to avoid detonations to limit any loss of evidence, she said.

"Jars of black powder" and what appear to be "liquid accelerants" attached to the explosive devices are also inside Apartment 10, another law enforcement official said. "He placed other chemicals to enhance fire/thermal effect of IEDs," the official added about Holmes' apartment.

"He has a level of expertise, not crude," the official said.

About 100 officials were called in to oversee the entrance into Apartment 10 at 1690 Paris Street.

Federal personnel flown here from out of state include bomb technicians from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Explosive Ordinance & Disposal specialists.

Police evacuated five buildings Friday, including the one where Holmes lived, after he told them he had rigged his apartment with explosives.

Shortly after police apprehended Holmes in the rear parking lot of the Century Aurora 16 movie complex, where dozens of people had been shot, he told them that he had rigged his apartment, Police Chief Daniel Oates said Friday.

After the shootings, police arrived at Holmes' apartment to find "techno-music" blaring from the bedroom, according to a law enforcement source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The music was on a timer and apparently started once he left for the movie theater, said the source, who was not authorized to release details of the investigation to the media.

Oates said Friday that it could take days to work through the apartment safely. While authorities did not say how many residents were evacuated from nearby buildings, the number is estimated to be in the hundreds.

Authorities began Friday night to allow families in four of the five evacuated buildings to return to their residences to retrieve personal items, such as medication, identification cards and clothing.

A shelter was set up at Aurora Central High School for those forced from their apartments.

Crew triggers detonation in Colo. shooter's apt.

Bomb technicians executed a controlled detonation of a triggering device in the apartment of the suspect in Friday's mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater.

The bomb crews were faced with deactivating an explosives-laden booby trap that had been set up in the home of James Holmes. Examination of the explosives by bomb experts from the FBI Lab in Quantico, Va., revealed that a trip wire (possibly fishing line) was set up to trigger a liquid container to mix with another, setting off the main charge of the device, which may be additional flammable liquids.

Also in the apartment were about 30 aerial shells (or fireworks) the size of softballs, black in color and made of mostly rubber. They are believed to be filled with smokeless powder. Depending on how the powder was packed, the devices could either detonate or just burn.

Police said the apartment was rigged to detonate on a presumed police entry when the suspect set up loud music to be playing, while he was on his way to the movie theater. First responders would then be sent to the apartment, on the opposite side of town where the gunman planned to wage his assault.

Having evacuated the apartment complex, police this morning were seen towing vehicles away to clear the immediate area. Bomb technicians on a fire truck's crane were seen maneuvering a triggering device through the broken window of the apartment.

Shortly afterwards, a sire sounded, and a muffled boom was heard.

If the explosive devices can be safely removed, they will be put into dump trucks filled with sand and transported to a remote area where they will be countercharged or burned.

If the apartment is rendered safe, the Denver FBI's Evidence Response Team will then carry out a search of Holmes' home.

Rendering the apartment safe for entry is an enormously dangerous mission. About 100 personnel are on the scene, including firefighters, ATF and FBI bomb technicians, and chemists to assess the risks of potential accelerants seen inside.

View Larger Map

Sources: AP, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NY Daily News, TMZ, Youtube, Google Maps

No comments: