James Eagen Holmes, a 24-year-old neuroscience student dressed in black with a ballistic helmet, a tactical ballistic vest, and a gas mask and armed with explosives and at least three guns, allegedly entered Theater 9 at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora, Colo., and opened fire during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 and injuring 59 others, according to Aurora’s police chief Dan Oates. At a morning press conference, Oates and other local, state, and federal officials shared what they could about the shooting, which occurred at approximately 12:38 a.m. local time this morning, but the killer’s motive remains elusive. Though they haven’t ruled anything out, law enforcement does not see the work of terrorism in the tragedy. “We are not looking for any other suspects,” said Oates. “We are confident he acted alone.”
Police say Holmes had three weapons on him when he was arrested behind the theater, near his white Honda: an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington shotgun, and a 40-caliber Glock handgun. (Another similar Glock was left inside the crime scene.)
Oates confirms that Holmes’ apartment on Parish Street in Aurora was rigged with incendiary and chemical devices that remain an unresolved concern. Residents in five nearby buildings have been evacuated while law enforcement attempts to disarm the explosives.
ABC News reported that Holmes identified himself as the Joker when he surrendered to authorities, and that his hair had been dyed to resemble the villain played by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. Oates declined to comment on that detail.
Mayor Steve Hogan called the attack, “an isolated instance. It’s tragic, it’s horrible, but it’s isolated,” and vowed that the community “will get back on our feet and we will move ahead.”
[Correction: This post initially listed the number of wounded incorrectly. Fifty-nine, not 49, people were injured by the suspected shooter.]