- The Washington Times - Friday, July 20, 2012

AURORA, Colo. — Police said Friday that the suspected gunman in the movie theater massacre rigged his north Aurora apartment with explosives before he killed 12 people at a midnight showing of the latest “Batman” movie.

“His apartment is apparently booby-trapped,” said Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates. “We have pictures inside the location, and we’re trying to decide how to disarm the flammable or explosive material that’s in there.”

Police, working with the FBI and fire department, said it could take days to enter the apartment in order to gather evidence in the shooting case. They used cranes from fire trucks to take photos from the window of the third-story apartment.

“We could be here for hours, we could be here for days,” Chief Oates said. “The pictures are pretty disturbing; it looks pretty sophisticated in terms of how it’s booby-trapped.”

Authorities evacuated five buildings in the immediate area Friday morning. Aurora deputy fire chief Chris Henderson said firefighters were ready to react in the event of an explosion.

“If we end up doing the detonation, we’re standing by to mitigate any kind of fires,” Chief Henderson said.

Several news organizations identified the suspect as 24-year-old James Holmes, who was being held in police custody in connection with the massacre.

Chief Oates said the gunman was in police custody after he threw at least one gas canister into the crowded theater and began shooting about 15 minutes after the midnight show began.

Jacque Montgomery, spokeswoman for University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, said Mr. Holmes was a student at the school until last month. She did not know when he started school or why he withdrew.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.