July 20, 2012 / 9:57 PM /
Updated July 21, 2012 at 11:12 AM
12 dead, 58 injured in Batman shooting
Parents move past several survivors who were being interviewed after twelve movie goers were shot and killed with up to fifty nine more people injured at the Century 16 movie theaters at the Aurora Mall in Aurora, Colorado on July 20, 2012. The victims were attending a midnight premiere of the new Batman movie. The suspect, James Holmes, allegedly threw a smoke bomb and opened fire on the moviegoers. He surrendered to police and is currently in custody. UPI/Gary C. Caskey | License Photo
AURORA, Colo., July 20 (UPI) -- The man held in the killing of 12 people and wounding of 58 in Aurora, Colo., legally owned weapons and ammunition he bought in stores and online, police said.
James Eagan Holmes, 24, was being held Friday evening at the Arapaho County Jail, and faced a Monday morning court appearance, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates told reporters at a news briefing Friday evening. Holmes was arrested early Friday morning outside the movie theater where police say he burst into a midnight showing of the new Batman movie and threw two devices -- apparently gas canisters -- into the theater, waited for them to ignite and then started shooting indiscriminately.
Oates said the suspect -- dressed in black, and wearing body armor, a gas mask and a helmet -- was armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, a 12-gauge Remington shotgun and a .40-caliber Glock handgun.
A second Glock was found in his car, a white Hyundai parked at the back of the theater.
"We are not looking for any other suspects. We are confident he acted alone," Oates said.
The police chief said Holmes purchased four guns at local shops and 6,000 rounds of ammunition over the Internet during the past 60 days. He said Holmes purchased multiple magazines for the assault weapon, including a 100-round drum magazine.
"As far as we now it was a pretty rapid pace of fire in that theater," he said.
WLS-TV, Chicago, reported Holmes bought a ticket to the movie, then left the theater, propping open the emergency exit. The report said he then changed into his body armor, grabbed his weapons and began the assault once the movie started.
Oates refused to comment on a report a man who received a phone call opened the emergency exit, allowing Holmes to enter the theater.
The American Flag that flies over the White House in Washington, D.C. flies at half-staff in remembrance of those killed in Aurora, Colorado on Friday, July 20, 2012. UPI/Ron Sachs/Pool
The movie, "The Dark Knight Rises" -- one of the most anticipated blockbusters of the 2012 summer movie season -- was opening in four of the theaters at the Century 16 Movie Theaters at the Aurora Town Center and each of the screenings was sold out, Oates said.
Oates said 200 witnesses had been interviewed so far. Police were on the scene within 90 seconds of the first call to 911, received at 12:39 a.m. MDT, he said. Police headquarters is across the street from the complex.
Of the 70 people hit, 10 died at the scene and two at hospitals, 16 were reported in critical condition and one of those hit was in an adjoining theater, Oates said. The shooting took place in theater No. 9 at the movieplex.
Police gingerly surveyed Holmes' apartment after he told authorities he had explosives there. Video showed officers gently placing equipment on the apartment windows and taking precautions in approaching it.
Jim Yacone, special agent in charge of the Denver FBI, said agents were working on "how to disarm the flammable or explosive material," The Denver Post reported.
A neighbor of Holmes' said she and other residents were awakened by police and told to dress and evacuate immediately, The Washington Post reported.
Holmes was a doctoral candidate in neurosciences at the University of Colorado at Denver but was in the process of withdrawing from the program, the university said.
The Pentagon issued a statement saying one sailor was injured in the incident and a second known to be at the theater had yet to be accounted for. Two airmen at the theater was uninjured.
Aurora, part of the Denver metropolitan area, is about 17 miles from Littleton, Colo., scene of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in which two students shot and killed 12 students and one teacher, and wounded 21 other people before committing suicide.
Police initially said 14 were killed and 50 were injured in Friday's massacre but later revised the death toll to 12 and the number injured first to 38 and then to 59. The number of wounded was revised to 58 after police said one had been double counted.
"He looked so calm when he did it," a witness told KUSA-TV, Denver. "It was like scary. He waited for both the bombs to explode before he did anything. Then, after both of them exploded, he began to shoot."
Witnesses said the suspect first fired into the air, then started shooting at people.
"He had no specific target. He just started letting loose," another witness told KUSA.
"When you first see him, you don't know if he's a part of the movie, or a part of the act," Auston Ivey told KUSA. "When [the gas canister] hit the ground, it just started spinning. Being that it went off right next to us, it was hard to breathe. The first thing we immediately did was duck. All we could think about was getting to the door as fast as I could. There was people limping, saying 'I've been shot, I've been shot.'"