(AURORA, Colo.) — Authorities conducted a controlled detonation Saturday as they slowly entered the booby-trapped apartment of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting suspect, which police said was “set up to kill.”
A loud pop was heard, but there was no visible smoke or fire at the scene. Nearby Peoria Street was shut down and residents were notified of the explosion by a reverse 911 call.
Police are working cautiously and methodically to secure the residence of James Holmes, 24, the man who is accused of perpetrating the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Earlier Saturday, authorities successfully disarmed the first trip wire and incendiary device in the apartment, however stressed there were more devices they needed to disarm before securing the scene.
“What you need to understand is this trip wire was set up to clearly detonate when someone entered that apartment and it was set up to kill that person. That could have been a police officer executing a search warrant or anything,” Aurora Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Cassidee Carlson said.
Carlson declined to go into detail about the other devices.
“This is some serious stuff that our team is dealing with,” she said.
Police said Friday that a large number of explosive devices and trip wires were found at shooting suspect James Holmes’ apartment in an “elaborate” set-up.
One official told ABC News there were wires everywhere and described Holmes as a like a mad scientist.
Some devices appeared to be strapped to boxes of bullets and what looked like mortar rounds, police said.
The “flammable and explosive” materials could have blown up Holmes’ apartment building and the ones near it, police said.
Now that the trip wires are disarmed, authorities plan to dispose of the incendiary devices in the apartment, including approximately 30 aerial shells, which will be placed into sand trucks and taken to a disposal site, Carlson said.
From that point, police plan to move into the investigation phase, hoping Holmes’ computer and any writings could provide a gateway to understanding his motive.
A former doctoral student, Holmes, 24, is suspected of killing 12 people at the screening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora early Friday morning. Fifty-eight people were wounded.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Lois M. Collins, Deseret News