Colorado Shooting Was Planned Weeks Ahead
James Eagen Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting that killed at least 12 people early Friday, planned it at least two months in advance, according to emerging details.
Holmes, who was in the Arapahoe County Jail as of late Friday, bought his first Glock pistol in Aurora, Colo., on May 22, The Associated Press quoted officials as saying. He picked up a Remington shotgun in Denver six days later. He bought a .223 caliber Smith & Wesson rifle in Thornton, Colo., about two weeks later. The suspect then bought a second Glock in Denver on July 6.
Holmes is scheduled for his first court appearance on Monday morning. Officials said he was refusing to talk to police until he got a lawyer.
Police found that Holmes had booby-trapped his apartment with an elaborate network of wire-connected bottles containing an unknown liquid, presumably intended to go off when authorities arrived to canvass his home.
After his arrest outside the Century 16 Theaters that was showing the new Batman movie, "The Dark Night Rises," Holmes told police he was the Joker, a reference to one of the most prominent villains in the Batman canon, a law enforcement official told NBC News.
Police recovered a 100-round drum magazine for the rifle from the scene. "I'm told by experts that with that drum magazine, he could have gotten off 50 to 60 rounds, even if it was semiautomatic, within one minute," Police Chief Dan Oates was quoted as saying at a news conference Friday. "And as far as we know, it was a pretty rapid pace of fire in that theater."
Police also found jars of chemicals in Holmes' apartment with wires nearby.
Officials said there were 70 casualties, including 12 confirmed dead. Gov. John Hickenlooper said that as of 3:30 p.m. Friday, 30 patients remained hospitalized, with 11 in critical condition.
While the suspect's motive remains a mystery, police ruled out it could be a terror attack. "We are not looking for any other suspects," Oates said. "We are confident that he acted alone, but we will do a thorough investigation to make sure that is the case."
Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert responded to the shooting by telling the Istook Live show that the country's move away from its "Judeo-Christian beliefs" could be responsible for God withdrawing His "protective hand" from the country. "We have been at war with the very pillars, the very foundation of this country … and when … you know … what really gets me as a Christian, is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs and then a senseless, crazy act of terror like this takes place."
Holmes was identified as a brilliant neuroscience student who grew up in a churchgoing family in San Diego, Calif.
Holmes, or "Jimmy," was a shy teenager, a loner who did not play or socialize with other youngsters in the neighborhood, and the family was nice and involved with a Presbyterian church, the San Diego Union-Tribune quoted Tom Mai, a Holmes family's next-door neighbor, as saying.
Mai said he last saw Holmes two years ago when he came home during summer recess from the University of California, Riverside. The family moved to the community about 10 years ago.
"Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved," Holmes' family said in a statement Friday. "We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time."
Holmes' friends from college were shocked that he opened fire on a crowded movie theater.
"I thought he was a little weird, but when someone is that smart, it isn't strange for them to be weird, odd," Jessica Cade, who lived in the honors dormitory with Holmes, stated. "We were honors students, that always has a little bit of a stigma of being weird, right? But I never would have thought he would do something like this, never considered him to be a 'lunatic' or 'deranged' like the news is calling him."
In academic achievement, "he was at the top of the top," Riverside Chancellor Timothy P. White said, according to AP. He ironically concentrated his study on "how we all behave," White added.
Holmes' mother Arlene is a nurse and his father Robert a software company manager. He enrolled in a neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver last year but quit in June.
Holmes reportedly painted his hair red and called himself "The Joker."
Holmes arrived at the theater dressed in black, outfitted in a gas mask, ballistic helmet, vest and leggings, black tactical gloves and protectors on his throat and groin. He was armed with an assault-style rifle, a shotgun and Glock handgun.
"He looked like an assassin ready to go to war," said Jordan Crofter, a moviegoer who was unhurt in the attack. He marched up the aisle in the theater, picking off those who tried to flee, witnesses said.