22 Jul 2012

Police disarm devices at shooting suspect's home

9:27 pm on 22 July 2012

Police have removed all explosives from the apartment of the man suspected of shooting dead 12 people in a crowded cinema in the US city of Denver.

Suspected gunman James Holmes, 24, is believed to have booby-trapped his home before carrying out a mass shooting at a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie in the suburb of Aurora on Friday.

The BBC reports that the Arapahoe county coroner has now released the names of the dead.

Photos of the apartment, taken by a camera raised up to the third-floor window, showed jars of ammunition on the floor, and what appeared to be mortar rounds, and trip wires.

A bomb squad used a robot to place a tube known as a "water shot" near an explosive device in the apartment. The water shot was then detonated to disable the explosive.

A second triggering device was also disabled and police later said they had cleared all the hazards, Reuters reports.

Police evacuated five nearby buildings and created a perimeter of several blocks around the apartment, a top-floor unit in a three-story red brick building, Reuters reports.

The shooting occurred on Friday as hundreds of people watched a midnight screening of the new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises at a Century 16 cinema in a mall in the Denver suburb.

Armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun and a pistol, and wearing a full suit of tactical body armour, a helmet and a gas mask, the gunman set off two smoke bombs before opening fire in the dark theatre.

Police later confirmed a six-year-old girl was among the 12 people killed.

Of the 58 people wounded in the shooting, hospital officials said some patients had sustained serious head injuries and chest injuries.

Officers who arrived on scene within 90 seconds of the first emergency calls quickly took the 24-year-old into custody in a parking lot behind the cinema, where he surrendered without a fight, police said.

The White House says President Barack Obama is to visit Aurora to honour the victims and will visit bereaved families and meet with local officials.

Police said on Saturday that James Holmes had received a high volume of deliveries to his work and home over the past four months, parcels they believe contained ammunition and possibly bomb-making materials.

The gunman was armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun and a handgun that had been purchased legally at three gun stores in the last 60 days.

Holmes had bought 6000 rounds of ammunition online, including a 100-round drum magazine for an assault rifle, police said.

The graduate student was enrolled in a doctoral programme in neuroscience at the University of Colorado Denver. The school said he had been in the process of withdrawing.

Police said he was being held in solitary confinement and would first appear in court on Monday.