The gunman who shot dead a dozen people at a film screening in Colorado, USA, also booby-trapped his apartment, it emerged on Friday. The suspect has been identified as James Eagan Holmes.
US FBI agents and police said on Friday that the apartment of the man suspected of shooting dead 12 people and injuring around 50 at a Batman film screening in Colorado on Friday was booby-trapped with explosives. Five surrounding buildings were evacuated as the authorities investigated how to safely defuse the bomb.
Police have identified the suspect as 24-year-old James Eagan Holmes, a former PhD student in neuroscience at the University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus. In a statement, the school said on Friday he had been in the process of withdrawing from the program.
Holmes was arrested by police at his white Hyundai parked in the back of the movie theater. Oates said that officers found an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington 12-guage shotgun and a .40 caliber Glock handgun in the theater. Another handgun was found in Holmes' car.
It is the worst mass shooting to occur in the US since the Virginia Tech gun rampage in 2007, when Seung-Hui Cho massacred 32 people on campus before committing suicide. It also had tragic parallels of scale with the incident at Columbine High School in 1999, when two students fired on their classmates, killing 12 along with a teacher.
President Obama "shocked"
President Obama reacted to the tragedy by cutting short his campaign swing through Florida on Friday.
"Such violence, such evil, is senseless. But while we will never know fully what causes somebody to take the life of another, we do know what makes life worth living," he said during a speech in Florida.
"The people we lost in Aurora loved and they were loved," Obama added.
Obama was to "then return to the White House," said Jen Psaki, the president's spokesperson.
Obama earlier on Friday published a statement saying he and his wife Michelle were "shocked and saddened" by the shooting.
"We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family," the president added.
The makers of the Batman film, Warner Bros, also responded to the tragedy by announcing that the Paris premiere for the film would be postponed.
sej/slk(AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)