Details Emerge About Suspect in Movie Massacre

Friday, 20 Jul 2012 12:18 PM

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The man who reportedly fired into a crowded theater during a screening of the latest "Batman" installment was a former medical student who had been a candidate for a PhD at the Univeristy of Colorado, according to news reports.

James Holmes, 24, is believed to  be the man in a gas mask who barged into the crowded Denver-area theater during a midnight showing of the Batman movie on Friday, hurled a gas canister and then opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring at least 38  others in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.

When the smoke began to spread, some moviegoers thought it was a stunt that was part of the "The Dark Knight Rises," one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer. They saw a silhouette of a person in the haze near the screen, first pointing a gun at the crowd and then shooting.

Holmes, the suspect, had an assault rifle, a shotgun and two pistols, and police are continuing to search his apartment, which was booby trapped. Authorities say they have no motive for the shooting. The FBI said there was no indication of ties to any terrorist groups.

FBI agents and police used a hook and ladder fire truck to reach Holmes' apartment in Aurora, police Chief Dan Oates said. They put a camera at the end of a 12-foot pole inside the apartment, and discovered that the unit was booby trapped. Authorities evacuated five buildings as they tried to determine how to disarm flammable and explosive material.

Police released a written statement from Holmes' family: "Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved."

Holmes was a student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver until last month, spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said. She did not know when he started school or why he withdrew.


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