Agents Describe Booby Trapped Apartment of Aurora Gunman

Posted January 8, 2013 in Crime Criminal Law by

Accused Aurora theater gunman James Holmes sat for day two of a preliminary hearing that will determine whether Holmes, 25, will face a trial for last summer’s shooting spree that killed 12 and injured 58.

During testimony by FBI agent Garrett Gumbinner, the court learned details of the explosive booby traps that Holmes set in his apartment before traveling to the theater the night of the shooting.

A boombox was set to go off at midnight, Gumbinner explained, which would prompt neighbors to bang on the apartment door and set off an intricate Rube Goldberg device resulting in the ignition of flammable material and explosion of homemade bombs.

The FBI agent said that Holmes told him during interrogations that the traps were designed to light the apartment building on fire and divert law enforcement away from the theater, where he is alleged to have opened fire on a crowd watching the opening of a Batman movie shortly after midnight on July 20.

That part of Holmes’ plan was thwarted when nobody bothered to pound on his door despite the loud music. Police were later able to defuse the traps he set before entering the apartment.

Also during Tuesday’s testimony, Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives Agent Steven Beggs described how Holmes acquired his arsenal of guns, ammunition, protective gear and explosive materials, making 16 separate purchases online and at two sporting goods stores over a two-month period between May and July.

Defense attorneys pointed out that none of Holmes’s purchases were in violation of Colorado law.

Earlier in the day, prosecutors played audio of some of the 911 calls that were made from the theater. “There’s some guy … after us,” one caller said to a dispatcher, while a 13-year-old girl said, “My two cousins, they’re sitting on the floor … one of them” is not breathing.

In total, 41 people called 911 over about 10 minutes.

On Monday, the court listened to testimony of police officers who responded to the calls, arrested Holmes in the parking lot outside the theater and shuttled victims to the hospital in their patrol cars.

If brought to trial Holmes could face 166 charges of murder and attempted murder.

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