Buried, burned, and blown up: Bomb disposal crews explode chemicals in undisclosed location after officials found 'mind-boggling' stash of ammunition in killer's lair
- Police evacuated James Holmes' building and surrounding residences after he admitted to having explosives stored at his home during his arrest
- Three types of explosives were found - jars filled with accelerates, chemicals that would explode when mixed together and more than 30 'improvised grenades'
- Police do not want to detonate anything that could eliminate evidence against the suspect
Officers Saturday set off detonating some of the chemicals installed at the home of 24-year-old massacre suspect James Holmes.
Bomb disposal crews took the potentially deadly chemicals out to a secure area in Arapahoe County, Colorado in what is called a counter-charge, detonating the chemicals safely by first burying them and then setting them off with diesel fuel.
Earlier today, emergency workers cautiously worked at Holmes’ apartment, which was ‘mind-bogglingly- rigged to kill first responders.
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Counter-charge: Authorities blew up the chemicals in an undisclosed location in Arapahoe County, Colorado after first burying them
Undisclosed: They would not say exactly where the location was to preserve the safety of the operation
Footage taken by CBS Denver shows one spire of flame, then another, rising from the ground. The crews have buried the chemicals and placed bricks around the site to be as guarded as possible.
Authorities would not say exactly where the site was in hopes that people would remain safe and not seek out the site of the potentially deadly chemicals.
It is unclear how many boxes will be detonated, or how many boxes of chemicals police and emergency crews have recovered from Holmes’ ‘lair.’
The Colorado shooting suspect planned the rampage that killed 12 and injured dozens of others at a suburban movie theater with 'calculation and deliberation,' police said on Saturday.
Equipment: Members of law enforcement wearing body armor and helmets prepare what ATF sources describe as a 'water shot' in the apartment of alleged gunman James Holmes Saturday, July 21, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. The 'water shot' is exploded and used to disrupt the device
Holmes apparently received deliveries months in advance that authorities believe armed him for battle and were used to rig his apartment with explosives aimed at killing first responders.
'You think we're angry? We sure as hell are angry,' Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said as he described the 'mind-boggling' scene inside the apartment.
Suspect: James Holmes is the suspect in a movie theater shooting spree that left 12 people dead
Authorities on Saturday were still working to clear dangerous explosive materials from inside Holmes's suburban Denver apartment, which was booby trapped to kill 'whoever entered it,' Oates said, noting it would have probably been one of his officers.
Holmes' apartment appears to have three types of explosives - jars filled with accelerants, chemicals that would explode when mixed together and more than 30 'improvised grenades,' the official said.
Oates said Holmes had been preparing the attack for months.
'We've become aware that he had a high volume of deliveries to both his work and home address.
We think this explains how he got his hands on the magazine, ammunition,' he said. 'We also think it begins to explain how he got the materials he had in his apartment.
'What we're seeing here is evidence of some calculation and deliberation,' Oates added.
FBI Special agent James Yacone said that while most of the explosives had been rendered safe in Holmes' apartment, 'the threat has not been completely eliminated.'
Controlled: Law enforcement officers put a container filled with blue liquid to use in an explosion at the apartment where suspect James Eagan Holmes lived in Aurora, Colorado July 21, 2012
Setting up: Officers string detonation wire from a window in one of the rooms of the apartment of suspected gunman James Holmes in Aurora, Colorado USA 21 July 2012
Photographs: Officers use a video camera on a pole to inspect one of the rooms of the apartment of suspected gunman James Holmes in Aurora, Colorado, USA 21 July 2012
'It was an extremely dangerous environment,' Yacone said.
Makeshift memorials sprang up for the
victims, including a six-year-old girl, an aspiring sportscaster and a
man celebrating his 27th birthday, after police grimly went door to door
with a list of those killed in the worst mass shooting in recent U.S.
Holmes, 24, was arrested early Friday outside the Aurora theater after witnesses say he unleashed gunfire and gas canisters on a crowd of moviegoers watching the midnight showing of the new Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.
devices in Holmes' booby-trapped apartment were 'set up to kill that
person and that could have been a police officer executing a search
warrant,' Aurora police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson said.
Police planned an intricate procedure to disarm the possible weapons without destroying evidence that could be in the apartment. 'We don't want to lose evidential value,' Carlson said.
'We have been successful in defeating
the first threat,' Carlson added.
About 30 ammunition shells and up to 30 other devices in the apartment also need to be disarmed, she said. 'A controlled detonation or another triggering mechanism' might be required, she said.
Collection: An ATF agent arranges boxes for evidence in front of the apartment of James Holmes in Aurora, Colo., Saturday, July 21, 2012
Discussion: Firefighters stand outside the apartment complex where suspect James Eagan Holmes lived, during a meeting in Aurora, Colorado July 21, 2012. Police prepared to send in a robot to detonate what they called a sophisticated booby-trap in the apartment of Holmes
Safety measures: Firefighters move a propane tank outside the apartment complex where suspect James Eagan Holmes lived in Aurora, Colorado July 21, 2012
Holmes, 24, was arrested early Friday outside the suburban Denver theater with high-powered weapons and ammunition and charged with the rampage that killed 12 and injured 58 during the midnight showing of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.
Police have been unable to enter Holmes' apartment after learning it had been booby-trapped with trip wires and possible explosives, and evacuated several buildings around it.
Local agencies elicited the help of bomb experts in coming up with a plan to enter the apartment while keeping people safe and preserving evidence inside.
Officials positioned vehicles and personnel around the apartment building.
Authorities will alert people before any detonation and tell them what to expect, Aurora police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson told reporters Saturday morning.
'The first goal is to make the area
safe, then remove items from the apartment that could explode, including
about 30 shells that will be placed in sand trucks and taken to a
disposal site, she said.
There's no timeline. 'I can't put an end time on it,' Carlson said. 'We don't need to rush anything.'
The suspect in the shooting, Holmes, lives in a third-floor unit of the building.
'It's a pretty extensive booby trap. We're not sure what it's attached to. There are trip wires. There are three containers and we don't know what's inside,' said Chris Henderson, deputy Aurora fire chief.
Photos of Holmes' apartment appeared to show jars full of accelerant and other items unlike anything Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates had ever seen.
'I personally have never seen anything like what the pictures show us is in there,' he said.
Work: A law enforcement officer places a silver remote device on a roof top, across from the apartment complex where suspect James Eagan Holmes lived in Aurora, Colorado July 21, 2012
Preparation: Firefighters stand outside the apartment complex where suspect James Eagan Holmes lived in Aurora, Colorado today
Friday evening police escorted
residents individually and in pairs to their apartment units so they
could quickly gather personal items.
Martinez, who lives in a building next to the suspect's building,
hadn't been home since 4:30 a.m. Friday. He was escorted into his
apartment and came out with a trash bag filled with items including
toiletries, ice, a basketball and Air Jordan shoes.
opted to stay in a hotel for the night instead of a shelter at a local
high school, where some families with children were staying.
More than two dozen people were using a shelter at the Aurora Central High School Gymnasium.
Tears of sorrow: Tiffany Garcia, right, and her six-year-old daughter, Angelina, cry as they look at a makeshift memorial across the street from the Century 16 movie theater the day after the shooting
Red Cross spokeswoman Melinda Epp said up to 30 residents were using the shelter to escape the heat, feed their children and wait out their exile. It was unclear how many people planned to spend the night there.
Kaitlyn Fonzi, 20, a graduate student at University Hospital, said she lives in the apartment below that of the suspect.
About midnight, Fonzi said she heard techno-like, deep-based reverberating music coming from that unit apartment. She went upstairs to the suspect's place and put her hand on the door handle. She felt it was unlocked, but she didn't know if he was there and decided not to confront him.
'I yelled out and told him I was going to call the cops and went back to my apartment,' she said.
called police, who told her they were busy with a shooting and did not
have time to respond to a noise disturbance. She said she was surprised
to learn later that the apartment was booby trapped and was shaken by
'I'm concerned if I had opened the door, I would have set it off,' she said.
Fonzi said she had seen the man one or two times before but never talked with him.
She said she believes the music was on a timer because it started about the time of the shootings.
Mourning: From left, Tylecia Amos, 14, Shatyra Amos, 15, Michael Walker, 17, and Mykia Walker, 16, carry flowers to lay at a makeshift memorial across the street from the Century Theater parking lot, on Saturday, July 21, 2012 in Aurora
Praying: Gary Ford, a member of the U.S. Army ROTC, prays with members of Southeast Christian Church Danny Lanskey, Julian Maestas, Matt Burton and Jonathan Burton across the street from the Century 16 movie theater the day after gunman's rampage
Police have searched apartments and broken out windows at the building, but Fonzi said she doesn't know the condition of her apartment or car.
University of Colorado pharmacy
student Ben Lung, 27, who lives two floors down from the suspect, said
he and other residents were evacuated around 2 a.m. by armed SWAT
officers armed with rifles.
heard a loud crash. It sounded like an air conditioner falling to the
ground. About 10 minutes later, I heard police knock on my door. Police
were armed with assault rifles and they brought us outside the apartment
building and started questioning us,' Lung said.
said a few residents upstairs had called police around midnight and
complained about loud music coming from the suspect's apartment.
Michelle Thuis, 26, who lives in an apartment near the entrance to the building, said police woke her up when they stormed in around 2:30 a.m.
'I heard them breaking down the front door. I called the police on them, then I looked out and saw it was the police,' she said.
Thuis described the building as quiet and populated largely by students and doctors affiliated with a nearby University of Colorado Denver medical campus.
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