* Six-year-old girl among the 12 killed
* Six-year-old girl among the 12 killed
* Investigators deepening probe into suspect
* Suspect’s apartment was booby-trapped
By Mary Slosson and Chris Francescani
AURORA, Co., July 22 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will
travel to Colorado on Sunday to meet with families bereaved in a
shooting rampage that left at least 12 dead and 58 wounded at a
movie theater in a Denver suburb.
Obama is due to meet with members of the families of the
victims — ranging from six to 51 years of age – who were shot
to death in this Denver area suburb when a gunman opened fire on
movie goers during a packed premiere of the latest “Batman” film
A vigil is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Sunday in front of
Aurora city hall, organized by civic, community, and religious
“We can now start the natural process of grieving and
healing,” Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said at a memorial late on
Saturday for one young shooting victim: “We’re still reeling.”
Obama’s trip comes as investigators are deepening a probe
into the shooter accused of planning the massacre. On Saturday,
local and federal authorities disarmed his booby-trapped
Graduate school dropout James Holmes, 24, was arrested
immediately after the fatal spree at the local multiplex.
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said the shooting followed
months of “calculation and deliberation,” as Holmes received a
“high volume” of deliveries to both his work and home.
Residents of several nearby buildings were allowed to return
home on Saturday, while the red-brick apartment block where
Holmes lived remained under evacuation as local and federal
authorities completed the painstaking process of disarming the
explosives and sifting through evidence.
Sources familiar with the probe said that some 30 shells
filled with gunpowder were found in the apartment, together with
containers filled with “incendiary liquids” intended to fuel a
fire from the initial explosions, as well as bullets meant to
ricochet around the apartment.
On Saturday afternoon, the local coroner’s officer released
the names of the 12 people killed, including those of a
six-year-old girl, a young man celebrating his 27th birthday and
an aspiring sportscaster who had barely escaped a shooting in a
Toronto mall earlier this summer.
The mass shooting stunned the nation, evoking memories of
the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, 17
miles (27 km) from Aurora, where two students opened fire and
killed 12 students and a teacher.
It also reverberated in the U.S. presidential race. Both
President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney,
toned down their campaigns on Friday, pulled ads from Colorado
and dedicated scheduled events to the victims.
Those who witnessed the shooting told of a horrific scene,
with dazed victims bleeding from bullet wounds, spitting up
blood and crying for help.
Holmes, 24, was arrested minutes later in a parking lot
behind the cinema. He was armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, a
12-gauge shotgun and a Glock .40-caliber handgun, Oates said.
Police found an additional Glock .40-caliber handgun in his car.
All the weapons were legally bought in the past 60 days.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said the suspect
was being held in solitary confinement to protect him from other
prisoners, a routine move in high-profile cases.
Holmes, who authorities said had dyed his hair red and
called himself “the Joker” in a reference to Batman’s comic-book
nemesis, was due to make an initial court appearance on Monday.
Little has surfaced from his past to suggest he was capable
of such violence.
Until last month, he was studying for a doctoral degree in
neuroscience at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical
School, a few blocks from his apartment.
The University of Colorado Hospital, which treated some of
the shooting victims, said 10 people had been released and five
remained in critical condition. The Medical Center of Aurora
said four of its seven patients remained in the intensive care
unit, while three others were on the main trauma floor.
A memorial of flowers, candles and stuffed animals quickly
sprung up where the shooting rampage took place. A handwritten
sign read: “7/20 gone not forgotten.”
At one of the first vigils, some 500 people gathered for a
memorial service at Gateway High School on Saturday evening to
remember recent graduate A.J. Boik, 18, a talented artist who
had been bound for college in the fall.
“He was a very big part of this community,” said Tami Avery,
41, whose son played sports with Boik. “He will be dearly
(Additional reporting by Stephanie Simon, Keith Coffman, Edith
Honan and Dan Whitcomb; Writing by Tim Gaynor)