Authorities defuse trip wire at suspected Colorado theater shooter’s apartment

Liz Goodwin
The Lookout

AURORA, Colo.--Authorities have defused the first trip wire and detonated two devices in movie shooting suspect James Holmes' "booby trapped" apartment, officials announced Saturday.

A robot first cut the trip wire that was stretched across the front door, and then technicians neutralized booby traps that were behind the wire, Jim Yacone, FBI special agent, said at an afternoon press conference. There are still booby traps that haven't yet been defused, he said, including "multiple containers with accelerants and what appears to be additional triggering mechanisms, wires, and fuses." Agents are collecting evidence in the apartment, and evacuated residents of the nearby buildings may be allowed back to their homes tomorrow.

The trip line was designed to set off incendiary devices that would injure first responders if they barged into the apartment; Holmes had allegedly left music blaring from the apartment to draw noise complaints. Yacone said anyone who had opened the door would have been seriously injured or killed.

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"This department was designed to kill whoever entered it," Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said Saturday, adding that he was "sure as hell" angry about that.

Authorities detonated one of the devices Saturday morning and may soon detonate the rest, Oates said. He said Friday that the maze of wires and liquid-filled bottles was like nothing he'd ever seen.

Holmes was pursuing a doctorate in neuroscience at the Univ. of Colorado-Denver before he began to withdraw in June. Police suspect him of the mass shooting early at Aurora's Century 16 movie theater, but have not said what they believe his motive was. His first court appearance is Monday morning.