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Colorado shooting: Police will try to enter suspect's apartment

July 21, 2012|By Rick Rojas
  • Police break a window Friday in the apartment of James Holmes, the suspect in the deadly shooting rampage in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater. The apartment was booby-trapped, forcing the evacuation of nearby residents overnight.
Police break a window Friday in the apartment of James Holmes, the suspect… (Thomas Cooper / Getty Images…)

The day after a mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater killed 12 and injured 58 others, the investigation continues Saturday as authorities try to enter the suspect’s booby-trapped apartment and family members receive word of their relatives’ fates.

Aurora, Colo., has been reeling in the aftermath of the shooting at the midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” in which police say 24-year-old James E. Holmes opened fire in the crowded multiplex theater, dressed in black and wearing bullet-resistant gear.

In a news conference Friday, Gov. John Hickenlooper called the incident “an act that defies description” but said the response – including the work of police and medical teams – had been “unbelievable.”

PHOTOS: 'Dark Knight Rises' shooting

“I’m not saying it was all perfect,” Hickenlooper said, “but as the story is told, it will be remarkable.”

But Saturday, much of the story is left to unfold.

Investigators held back from entering Holmes’ apartment Friday, which authorities described as booby-trapped and filled with suspicious materials, including bottles of mysterious liquids.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said officials were trying to solve the “very vexing problem” of how to get inside, hopefully sometime Saturday. He said five apartment buildings, including Holmes’, had been evacuated; residents were invited to spend Friday night at a shelter set up at a high school.

TIMELINE: Mass shootings in the U.S.

Oates also said Friday that investigators were finishing the identification of the bodies of the 10 who died inside the theater, which had remained there longer than 12 hours. The notifying of families was set to begin Friday night.

Residents gathered at vigils on Friday night as Aurora – a city with a population of more than 330,000 near Denver – has been grappling with the aftermath of the carnage.

Hickenlooper described “an anger that can’t find focus.” In particular, Oates noted the first responders who will have to cope with the trauma they experienced.

“Our cops went through a lot,” the chief said, choking up.

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rick.rojas@latimes.com

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