The maniac who killed 12 people at a midnight screening of the Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado last night didn't want his mayhem to end in the theater. Police say they can't get into his apartment because he's rigged the place up with sophisticated booby traps. See updates one, two, three, four, and five below
Details about the booby traps that James Holmes set up at his house are scarce but at a press conference that ended just a few minutes ago, the Aurora Police Chief, who used to work for the NYPD mind you, said they were "Something I've never seen." He said it appeared to be some sort of incendiary device, that there where chemicals involved, and "lots of wires." The police are still trying to figure out how they are going to get into the apartment, and they've evacuated his entire building and five more in the area.
According to the Denver Post, the local fire chief said that the tripwires in Holmes' apartment were connected to bottles which contained "unknown substances." According to one report, an FBI agent, "The pictures are pretty disturbing as far as how sophisticated it is. This could be a very long wait."
We're currently trying to figure out what exactly these booby traps might be connected to. Considering the weapons Holmes used at the theater, it's clear he had access to basically everything he wanted. Thanks to the internet, anybody can get basically any weapon as we learned in our exclusive report on the online arms marketplace called The Arsenal. In this case, the booby traps sound homemade. We're reaching out to bomb experts. We also called the Aurora Police Department, and we'll update when we hear back. (See the update)
What a terrible tragedy. We're glad for all the precautions the police are taking. Clearly Holmes is a psycho who wanted to kill as many people as possible. The last thing we need is more blood. [Reuters, MSNBC, Denver Post]
Update 1 3:55 PM
We heard back from Lt. Mike Jackson, who's the Bomb Squad Commander in Oklahoma City:
With the limited info it's going to be hard to figure out if it actually an incendiary or if it is some sort of HME. Also it could be some sort of hypergolic mixture that could create a fire if mixed. Wires hooked up to electronics is never a good sign for bomb guys and they will be very cautious before and during any kind of entry into the apartment. (Numerous bad things could be going on)
So basically, Holmes might have rigged up any of a number terrible weapons and possibly several of them. Based on the information the police have released—and maybe it's as much as they know—the house might be rigged with either a homemade explosive device or maybe an incendiary weapon designed to catch the building on fire. Possibly both. Either way, it's smart to proceed with caution.
Update 2 4:51 PM
We're hearing from law enforcement sources that despite the information that has been made public, police are relatively clueless. They have no idea what's waiting for them on the other side of the door. It's likely to be a very long night and possibly even longer before they can get in.
Update 3 9:20 PM
Several sources are reporting additional information about how the Aurora police know about the the traps James Holmes left at his apartment and what they're doing to get inside. Here's the latest from MSNBC:
FBI agents and police used a hook-and-ladder fire truck to reach Holmes' one-bedroom apartment on the third floor, said Oates. By hoisting a camera at the end of a 12-foot pole through a window, officers were able to get a view inside.
We're still talking to sources and looking for additional information about the traps, and what technology authorities are using to disarm them. We'll update when there's more information. [MSNBC]
Update 4: 11:07PM EDT
Officer leading the investigation has said police have abandoned the disarming effort for the night. [Twitter]
Update 5: June 21st, 3:15 PM
According to Reuters, the police have begun the arduous task of disabling the booby traps in James Holmes'apartment. After performing reconnaissance yesterday and suspending the operation late last night, the bomb squad used a robot to start getting the job done. You can see authorities in full body armor and helmets preparing to deploy what's known as a "water shot" into the apartment. Reteurs explains:
The 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.
According to the Aurora Plice, the booby traps were clearly designed to kill. They said they've also disabled a second triggering device. The apartment remains full of hazardous materials according to the report. [Reuters]