Watch CBSN Live

Colo. shooting suspect James Holmes' apartment booby trapped, police say

(CBS/AP) AURORA, Colo. - Police say the apartment of the suspect in a mass shooting at a Denver area movie theater is booby trapped, so they've evacuated five surrounding buildings.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates says bomb technicians are determining how to disarm flammable or explosive material in the third-floor apartment. He says police could be there some time.

Oates says pictures from inside the apartment are fairly disturbing and the devices look to be sophisticated.

Mass shooting at Batman screening in Aurora, Colo.

FBI agents and police used a hook and ladder fire truck and put a camera at the end of 12-foot pole inside the apartment where 24-year-old James Holmes lives.

Police: 12 dead in shooting at Batman movie
James Holmes, age 24, is in custody after shooting during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo. University of Colorado Denver

Colorado firefighters say they're monitoring the apartment building for gases in an effort to determine what chemicals Holmes might have used to booby trap the place, in case they go off.

Aurora Fire Chief Chris Henderson says "it's a pretty extensive booby trap" and investigators aren't sure what it's attached to. He says there are trip wires and three containers and they don't know what's inside.

Henderson says if there is a detonation that causes a fire, firefighters will fight it from the outside of the building.

The apartment is about four miles from the theater where at least 12 people were killed and 50 were wounded.

One federal official told CBS News that at this time Holmes appears to have been "under the radar." CBS News reports Holmes doesn't appear to have a criminal record in Colorado or in California's San Diego County, where he lived previously. Pentagon officials said there is no record of Holmes having served in any branch of the military. The Associated Press reported that Holmes was a student at the University of Colorado's medical school but withdrew last month, according to the school. The suspect barged into a crowded Denver-area theater during a midnight showing of the Batman movie, hurled a gas canister and then opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history. When the gas began to spread, some moviegoers thought it was a stunt that was part of the "The Dark Knight Rises," one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer. They saw a silhouette of a person in the smoke near the screen, first pointing a gun at the crowd and then shooting. "There were bullet (casings) just falling on my head. They were burning my forehead," Jennifer Seeger said, adding that the gunman, dressed like a SWAT team member, fired steadily except when he stopped to reload. "Every few seconds it was just: Boom, boom, boom," she said. "He would reload and shoot and anyone who would try to leave would just get killed."

Police recovered four guns at the theater - one shotgun, two pistols and what is believed to be an assault rifle, a law enforcement source told CBS News correspondent Bob Orr. Authorities also recovered a gas mask.

A law enforcement source said the suspect also had a bullet proof vest, ballistic helmet and military SWAT clothing. Authorities were testing unidentified explosives in his vehicle, though their exact nature is unclear.

The nature of the attack suggests it was well planned. The suspect's vehicle was parked at the rear of the complex, near the emergency exit where he was reported to have entered from.

Oates said there's no evidence of any other attackers. There was also no immediate word of any motive. Federal law enforcement officials are being briefed on the attack, but at this point, there is no indication it is terrorism-related, CBS News senior correspondent John Miller reports.

View CBS News In