While Colorado police and the FBI still have yet to reveal what might have motivated James Holmes’s Friday movie theater attack, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates now says there is clear evidence that the rampage was planned with “calculation and deliberation.” He points to the “high volume of deliveries” Holmes received over the past four months (including 6,000 rounds of ammunition and a bulletproof vest purchased online) and the fact that he spent two months amassing a small arsenal — consisting of a semi-automatic assault rifle, which jammed during the attack, two pistols, and a shotgun — from local stores.
The extensive booby-trapping police found in Holmes’s suburban Denver apartment (see above) seems to confirm the premeditation argument. As of last night, all 30 or so homemade grenades, as well as several jars of volatile chemicals, had been taken from the apartment in sand-lined trucks to a field outside the city, where they were later ignited. (ABC News has video of the explosions here.) With the apartment secured, authorities say they are busy collecting an “extensive amount of evidence“ — one investigator was seen leaving the complex carrying a laptop and hard drive last night.
Holmes remains in solitary confinement and will appear at his first court hearing tomorrow, although no charges are expected to be filed. He has already been assigned a public defender, who is widely expected to seek an insanity defense. “The only real defense would be the insanity defense,” says a former federal prosecutor who defended the parents of one of the Columbine killers. Still, few legal experts believe he’ll be able to pull it off; many believe the Arapahoe County D.A. will seek the death penalty.
Meanwhile, ABC News dug up footage of an 18-year-old Holmes (whose dream, according to the woman introducing him to the crowd, was to “own a Slurpee machine”) in an oversize shirt, grinning sheepishly as he makes a presentation at a science camp. One of the topics he touches on is subjective experience, which he describes as “what takes places inside the mind as opposed to the external world.”
Seven people wounded in the shooting are still in critical condition. Aurora mayor Steve Hogan warned that some might not survive.