Suspect in Denver shootings identified by official
Fri, 20 Jul 2012 09:57:49 GMT —
WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal law enforcement officials say the suspect in Friday's deadly shooting in Colorado is James Egan Holmes, a 24-year-old white American. Police also said he dyed his hair red and called himself "the Joker."
Officials believe Holmes killed a dozen people when he fired into a crowded movie theater in a Denver suburb. He was wearing a gas mask, all black clothing and set off an unknown irritant gas in the theater.
Friday night, police released a revised number of people who were injured. They say 58 people were hurt. Not all of them were shot. 11 are in critical condition.
Police in Colorado say they are starting to meet with the families of shooting victims to tell them the fate of their loved ones.
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates says the last of the 10 deceased victims from the midnight showing of a Batman movie was removed from the theater Friday afternoon.
Oates says officers expect to get a confirmed list of the deceased and meet with their families Friday night.
In addition to the 10 people who died at the theater, two others later died from their injuries.
The chief says suspect James Holmes
purchased four guns at local gun shops and 6,000 rounds of ammunition through the Internet.
Holmes is in police custody, and the FBI says there is no indication that incident is tied to any terrorist groups.
Police seized an AR-15 assault rifle, Remington 12 gauge shotgun, and two 40 caliber glock handguns from the suspect's white Hyundai that was parked in the theater parking lot.
Moviegoers didn't know what was happening and some thought the attack was part of the show. Then they saw a silhouette of a person in the smoke at the front of the theater near the screen, pointing a gun at the crowd.
"I told my friend 'we've got to get out of here,' but then he shot people trying to go out the exits," Jennifer Seeger told NBC's "Today." She said the shooter made his way up the aisle, firing as he went, saying nothing.
Some of those wounded are children. Early reports of a three-month-old being shot were later amended after the parents said they took the baby to the hospital as a precaution.
Witness Shayla Roeder said she saw a young teenage girl on the ground bleeding outside the theater.
"She just had this horrible look in her eyes .... We made eye contact and I could tell she was not all right," Roeder said.
Victims were treated for chemical exposure apparently related to canisters thrown by the gunman.
Holmes warned police that his Aurora apartment was booby-trapped Friday, leading police to evacuate the apartment complex. The ABC affiliate in Denver says multiple police agencies, including a swat team and bomb squad, are outside the apartment complex.
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said the apartment is booby trapped with flammable or explosive items.
It was the worst mass shooting in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999. Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at the school in the Denver suburb of Littleton, about 15 miles west of Aurora, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school's library.
Police, ambulances and emergency crews swarmed on the scene after frantic calls started flooding the 911 switchboard, officials said.
Officers came running in and telling people to leave the theater, Salina Jordan told the Denver Post. She said some police were carrying and dragging bodies.
Police also checked for explosives in the parking lot and at the Century 16 theater and secured those areas.
President Barack Obama said he was saddened by the "horrific and tragic shooting," pledging that his administration was "committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded."
Moviegoers spoke of their terror as violence erupted and people around them fell victim.
Benjamin Fernandez, 30, told the Post that he heard a series of explosions. He said that people ran from the theater and there were gunshots as police shouted "get down!"
Fernandez said he saw people falling, including one young girl.
Jordan told the paper that one girl was struck in cheek, others in stomach including a girl who looked to be around 9-years-old.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.