More than 20 SWAT team members were gingerly searching Holmes’ apartment on Paris Street, a process that could take hours because the apartment appeared to be booby-trapped with explosives, Aurora police Chief Dan Oates told reporters.
Oates said the apartment search could take hours or even days. The area around the apartment, on the third floor of a housing complex, has been evacuated, he said at a televised news conference.
The apartment house, across the street from an elementary school, is on a street lined with similar apartment buildings. The neighborhood is predominantly Latino.
As police searched, nearby residents warily watched from indoors, where they had been told to go, said Lovell Harts, a 63-year-old resident who moved to the area two years ago.
“They’re looking for explosives. They went through the window and they’re in the apartment. They got our whole block taped off. You can’t go in or out,” Harts said by telephone while looking out the window of his apartment two complexes down from Holmes’. “They’re going from building to building inspecting.”
Harts said neither he nor his neighbors knew Holmes. Residents of the street, mainly renters, are largely anonymous to each other, with people moving in, going quietly about their lives then moving on, he said.
Law enforcement sources said they were in the process of tracing the weapons, including what is believed to be an AK-47, used in the attack.
One theory is that Holmes may be a disgruntled employee of the movie theater based on the fact that he allegedly was able to enter through an exit, sources said.
Holmes may originally be from Southern California.
FBI agents in San Diego were interviewing a woman who identified herself as Holmes' mother.
Staff writer Richard Serrano contributed from Washington