Gov. Hickenlooper: Theater Shooter 'Unspeakably Troubled'

Threat In Holmes' Apartment All But Eliminated

With the threat inside the apartment of James Holmes all but completely eliminated, officials discussed the building of a case against Holmes in Friday's movie theater shooting that killed 12 people and injured dozens more.

At a Saturday afternoon news conference, Aurora Police Chief Steve Oates, Gov. John Hickenlooper, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan and others debriefed reporters on the latest developments in the case and the community's response.

Hickenlooper called Holmes an "unspeakably troubled individual," and Oates expressed anger over the rigging of the apartment with explosives.

"Make no mistake, this apartment was designed to kill whoever entered it," Oates said. "If you think we're angry, we sure as hell are angry."

Federal, state and local crews meticulously defused the improvised explosive device threat in the apartment, using a robot and a series of moves designed to mitigate the danger from partially unknown explosives inside.

A controlled detonation that took place about 11:40 a.m. Saturday went off without a hitch, authorities said.

A source told 7NEWS that a jug filled with water was placed in the apartment near the device. When the device was detonated, the water served the purpose of cutting down on flames.

The force of the water, which spilled in the blast, knocked over other containers inside.

The detonation came a couple of hours after crews were able to defuse a trip wire, the first of several steps to clear the apartment in a methodical way. The process of clearing the apartment is arduous.

Some of the chemicals recovered from the apartment were transported by dump truck to be disposed, Aurora police said. Crews are also trying to preserve as much evidence as possible.

"We don't want to lose evidentiary value. We'll be cautious about how we deal with things," Carlson said.

Police said Holmes told them that after his arrest in the shootings at Century 16 that he had placed explosives in the apartment.

FBI Special Agent Jim Yacone praised the local bomb squads and the combined effort of multiple agencies in clearing the apartment.

"The threat has not been completely eliminated. It has been significantly reduced," Yacone said. "An extensive amount of evidence is in the process of being collected."

The evidence will be taken to an FBI lab in Quantico, Va., for analysis.

"It was an extremely dangerous environment. If (someone) would have walked in the door, they would have sustained serious injuries or lost their life," Yacone said.

Authorities were careful to limit the amount of information they gave out, citing a desire to keep the case from being jeopardized. Yacone did say that some knowledge went into constructing the explosive device.

"It was certainly a sophisticated device. I don't want to comment further on the level of sophistication," he said. "This was certainly challenging for all involved."

Residents of the four surrounding apartment buildings could return to their homes late Saturday, with those who live in the same apartment building as Holmes possibly allowed to return Sunday.

There was a high volume of commercial deliveries to school and home addresses associated with Holmes in the months before the shooting.

"We think this explains how he got access to magazines and ammunition," Oates said. "We're seeing evidence of calculation and deliberation."

Police declined to discuss motive. Oates said he believes the case will be tried in state court.


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