July 22--AURORA, Colo. -- The furious top cop in this grief-stricken Denver suburb said a bomb squad thwarted a psychotic self-styled supervillain's plan to kill whoever dared enter his lair after he murdered a dozen people and injured scores more in a bloody midnight rampage at a packed movie theater.
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates told reporters the threat that was James Holmes' bomb-rigged apartment has been neutralized and that his investigators have begun hauling out evidence to use in their case against the 24-year-old brainiac who is accused of opening fire during a sold-out midnight showing Friday of the Batman sequel "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 and injuring 58 others.
"Make no mistake, this apartment was designed, I say, based on everything I've seen, to kill whoever entered it. And who was most likely to enter it ... was a police officer," Oates said. "If you think we're angry, we're sure as hell angry."
The bomb squad disarmed a trip wire, detonated a device and neutralized what he called a "hyperbolic mixture" of agents, then detonated a device that caused a small explosion -- careful the whole time not to destroy what will surely be crucial criminal evidence.
FBI special agent Jim Yacone said what Holmes had rigged in his apartment "was certainly a sophisticated device" that made for "a very dangerous environment."
The news of the death-trap apartment left evacuated residents stunned and angry.
Luis Rivera said he was rousted at about 4 a.m. Friday from the apartment he rented 15 days ago, across the street from the suspect's.
"He's a crazy guy," Rivera said, while standing in the shade of a tree a block away. Friday night he slept at the Red Cross evacuees shelter at nearby Central Aurora High School.
"I was working out of town, and my wife called and said, 'You better get home. Something big is happening,'" added Jose Chavez, who watched the drama unfold after purchasing a 10-pound bag of ice to keep his food fresh while waiting to get back in his apartment.
Melvin Evans, a security guard who lives in a building nearby, said he knew Holmes from a local bar and talked with him about two weeks ago.
"You wouldn't even think about him walking down the street. He was so laid back," he told the Herald yesterday while watching the drama unfold on Paris Street.
Chief Oates said police have also uncovered further evidence that Holmes planned the attack weeks ahead of time, including a series of commercial deliveries to his home and work. Authorities say the accused assailant -- who apparently identified himself as the Batman nemesis The Joker upon arrest -- bought four guns at local shops within the past several months, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition purchased online.
Detectives also continued to process the massacre scene, Theater 9 of the Century 16 multiplex in a mall four miles from Holmes' digs.
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