Aurora, Colo., Police Chief Dan Oates said he and his officers felt targeted by the elaborate network of explosives in Holmes' apartment.
AURORA, Colo. — The situation remained literally explosive in the grieving Denver suburb of Aurora on Saturday as bomb experts disarmed the booby-trapped apartment of James Holmes, who police said spent months amassing explosives, weapons and ammunition and then walked into a movie theater early Friday and began shooting.
The failed neuroscience student was scheduled to appear in court Monday.
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said he and his officers felt targeted by the network of explosives in Holmes’ apartment. “This apartment was designed … to kill whoever entered it,” Oates said Saturday. “It was gonna be a police officer, OK? … You think we’re angry? We sure as hell are angry.”
The bomb-squad work at the apartment took place on a day Aurora residents learned the names of the 12 people killed in the assault at the Century 16 multiplex. Holmes, 24, is being held without bond in the Arapahoe County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder. He is being represented by the public defender’s office.
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Oates said that for four months, Holmes had been receiving a large number of commercial packages, which the chief said enabled him to assemble the material in the booby-trapped apartment and the small arsenal of weapons and ammunition allegedly used in the massacre.
Detectives had been unable to investigate Holmes’ 800-square-foot third-floor apartment because of the elaborate web of incendiary and chemical devices, numbering about 60.
Just inside the front door, a wire-filament tripwire was strung at waist height, a law-enforcement source said. The tripwire was connected to two containers of chemicals that, when mixed, could create an explosion. The bomb squad disarmed the setup by sending in a robot that slipped beneath the tripwire and removed one of the bottles of liquid.
Then came 30 spherical canisters in the living room. These resembled fireworks shells packed with gunpowder; “improvised grenades,” the official called them. Wires ran from these devices to a “control box” in the kitchen.
Authorities used a “bottle shot” — a small explosive charge that sends a wave of water at high speed — to destroy the control box.
Finally, the official said, there were about three jugs in the living room filled with what appeared to be a combination of liquid and gunpowder. “Improvised napalm,” the official called it. These likely would have been set off in a “sympathetic detonation” if the other explosives had been tripped, boosting the blast’s destructive power.