Aurora shooting: Suspect James Holmes due in court
Published: 23rd Jul 2012 15:48:16
The US man accused of killing 12 people in a shooting at a Batman film screening in Aurora, Colorado is due to appear in court for the first time.
James Holmes, 24, is being held in solitary confinement. Police say he is not co-operating with them.
Nine of 58 people wounded by the gunman remain in critical condition.
On Sunday, President Barack Obama met survivors and families of the dead as hundreds of people took part in a service of remembrance.
Mr Holmes is accused of throwing two canisters of gas into a busy midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises before firing at random at the crowd. Witnesses say he was wearing full body armour during the attack.
It is reported that a semi-automatic rifle jammed during the attack and the gunman switched to a weapon with less firepower, possibly saving some lives.
The dead include a six-year-old girl and two US military servicemen.
Mr Holmes is scheduled to appear in court at 09:30 local time (15:30 GMT) where he is to hear pending charges against him of at least 12 counts of first-degree murder. He could face further charges of aggravated assault and weapons violations.
Prosecutors have 72 hours to formally file charges after the hearing at Arapahoe County Court in Centennial, Colorado.
The office of prosecutor Carol Chambers is considering whether to press for the death penalty for Mr Holmes, the Associated Press has reported.
That decision will be made in consultation with the victims' families, she said.
On Monday morning uniformed police were stationed outside the court house, and deputies were patrolling the roofs of court buildings.
President Obama said that when he visited Aurora on Sunday he had shared hugs and tears, but also laughter as the families recounted the lives of their loved ones.
He added that he visited as much as a father and husband as a president, and that Aurora was in the nation's thoughts.
Mr Obama said: "I confessed to them words were inadequate but my main task was to serve as a representative of the entire country and say we are thinking about them at this moment each and every day."
Both Mr Obama and his Republican Party challenger, Mitt Romney, curtailed their election campaigns in the wake of the Aurora attack, dropping advertising in Colorado state out of respect for victims and their families.
Meanwhile, residents have been laying flowers at a memorial site near the Century cinema and thousands of people have been participating in vigils outside City Hall.
Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan told the crowd on Sunday: "While our hearts are broken, our community is not."
On Saturday police managed to gain access to Mr Holmes' flat, which had been laid with booby traps connected to explosives that could have killed someone entering through the door.
The FBI is now collecting evidence, and investigators say a computer found inside his home could provide crucial details.
Several US media outlets have reported that a Batman mask and poster were in the flat, but police have not confirmed this.
Police said the suspect had acted with "calculation and deliberation", adding that he had been stockpiling ammunition for months.
Over the course of eight weeks he bought 6,300 rounds of ammunition: 3,000 for a .233 semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, 3,000 for two .22 Glocks and 300 cartridges for a pump-action shotgun.
Mr Holmes bought the four weapons legally.
Authorities say the suspect is not linked to terror groups and have not established a motive for the attack. Mr Holmes had no criminal record other than a speeding fine.
Mr Holmes grew up in San Diego and was pursuing a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Colorado in Denver. School officials have said that he recently left the programme.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Aurora shooting: Suspect James Holmes due in court. [Online] (Updated 23 Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/1442172-Aurora-shooting-Suspect-James-Holmes-due-in-court [Accessed 14th May 2013]
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