The 24-year-old graduate student accused of killing 12 people in a shooting rampage at a Denver-area screening of the new “Batman” film was being held in solitary confinement for his own protection from other inmates, authorities said on Saturday.
“We typically do this in high-profile cases,” Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson told Reuters. “It has nothing to do with any specific threat.”
Robinson said Holmes would be represented at his initial court appearance on Monday by James O’Connor, head of the Arapahoe County public defender’s office.
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates revealed the shipments as local and federal authorities worked to make safe suspect James Holmes’ apartment, which was found to be booby-trapped with sophisticated explosives following the massacre at a multiplex theater several miles away.
Oates said residents of nearby buildings who were evacuated would likely be allowed to return home on Saturday night.
“We’ve become aware that the suspect over the last four months received a high volume of deliveries to both his work and home addresses,” Oates said at an afternoon press conference.
“This begins to explain how he got his hands on all the magazines and ammunition,” Oates said. “We also think it begins to explain some of the materials he had in his apartment.”
A gunman armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun and a pistol and wearing a full suit of tactical body armor, a helmet and a gas mask set off two smoke bombs before opening fire in the dark theater early on Friday morning, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.
Officers who arrived at the scene within 90 seconds of the first emergency calls quickly took Holmes into custody in a parking lot behind the cinema, where he surrendered without a fight, Oates said.
Holmes, a graduate student who authorities said had dyed his hair red and called himself “the Joker” in a reference to Batman’s comic-book nemesis, was due to make an initial court appearance on Monday.
Authorities used a remote-controlled robot and controlled detonation on Saturday as they began to neutralize what they said were a series of booby traps in Holmes’ apartment.
The bomb squad used a robot to place a tube — known as a “water shot” — near an explosive device in the apartment. The water shot was then detonated to disable the explosive.
Photos of the apartment, taken by a camera raised up to the third-floor window, showed jars of ammunition on the floor and “things that look like mortar rounds,” Oates said.
There were also bottles filled with an unknown liquid and what appeared to be trip wires laid out across the apartment, he said.
Aurora Police spokeswoman Sergeant Cassidee Carlson said the device had clearly been “set up to kill.”
“We have been successful in disabling a second triggering device,” she said. “Although not certain, we are hopeful we have eliminated the remaining major threats. We will not know this until we enter the apartment.”
A coroner on Saturday released the identities of the dozen victims – aged between 6 and 51 – who were shot to death in a mass shooting at a Denver-area movie theater, noting the manner of death was “homicide” and that all families had been notified.
Police say suspect James Holmes, 24, was armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun and a pistol and wearing a full suit of tactical body armor when he allegedly set off two smoke bombs and opened fire in a dark theater early on Friday in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.
Arapahoe County Coroner Michael Dobersen said in a statement “a total of 11 victims have been definitively identified … One additional victim, had been presumptively identified.” They are as follows:
Veronica Moser Sullivan, 6
Her mother, Ashley Moser, 25, is in critical condition with gunshot wounds to her neck and abdomen. She has been in and out of consciousness and asking for her 6-year-old daughter during moments of lucidity, but she doesn’t know.
“Nobody can tell her about it,” said her aunt Annie Dalton. “She is in critical condition, but all she’s asking about is her daughter.”
Veronica had just learned to swim and her great-aunt described her as “vibrant” adding, “She was a great little girl, excited about life – she should be at 6 years old.”
Jessica Ghawi, 24
“One of the things that she had been working on with all the fires in Colorado was she had asked everybody to donate sports equipment for people because she knows how sports brings such joy,” her friend Mike Lavender told MSNBC-TV.
Ghawi had escaped a shooting at a mall in Toronto in June, writing in her blog that an “odd feeling” compelled her to leave the shopping center minutes before a shooting that left two people dead.
Before the movie she had exchanged excited tweets with her friends about the midnight showing from her Twitter handle, @JessicaRedfield.
“Of course we’re seeing Dark Knight. Redheaded Texan spitfire, people should never argue with me. Maybe I should get in on those NHL talks…”
Alex Sullivan, 27
Sullivan had planned to celebrate his 27th birthday Friday, beginning with the midnight showing of the new Batman movie.
“Oh man one hour till the movie and its going to be the best BIRTHDAY ever,” he tweeted before heading to the theater where a black-clad gunman wearing body armor opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring 58.
That was the last his friends and family heard from him.
Heartbreaking photos showed his father, Tom Sullivan, in the nearby Gateway High School parking lot, waving a picture of his son and yelling, ”Find my son!”
Late Friday, the family got confirmation of his death.
Jonathan Blunk, 26
Blunk always wanted to be a hero, according to his friends and family.
“He always talked about if he were going to die, he wanted to die a hero,” his estranged wife, Chantel Blunk, told NBC News from Reno, Nev.
Blunk attended the movie with a friend, Jansen Young, who credited him with saving her life.
When the shooting broke out, Young said Blunk, a military veteran, threw her to the ground and told her to stay down.
“Jon just took a bullet for me,” Young told TODAY.
Chantel Blunk said her husband graduated from Reno’s Procter Hug High School in 2004 and enlisted in the Navy, serving out of San Diego aboard the USS Nimitz. The couple, who met in high school, married in 2007.
He left the service in 2009 and after separating from his wife moved to Colorado, where he worked for a hardware store. After a franctic day of trying to get information about her husband’s fate, Chantel said FBI agents arrived at her home Friday evening and confirmed her worst fears.
In addition to his wife, Blunk leaves behind two young children, a girl, 4, and a boy, 2.
Chantel said she plans to bring the body home to Reno, where he will be buried with military honors. She has set up an account through Wells Fargo to raise money for the funeral and transportation costs.
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class John Thomas Larimer, 27
Petty Officer Third Class John Larimer, of Crystal Lake, Ill., attended the opening with another sailor, who was injured in the attack.
“I am incredibly saddened by the loss of Petty Officer John Larimer — he was an outstanding shipmate, “said Cmdr. Jeffrey Jakuboski, Larimer’s commanding officer. “A valued member of our Navy team, he will be missed by all who knew him. My heart goes out to John’s family, friends and loved ones, as well as to all victims of this horrible tragedy.”
Larimer, a cryptologic technician, joined the Navy in June 2011 and had been stationed at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora since October.
His family said they were making arrangments to bring the remains back to Illinois.
“We respectfully ask that the family and friends of John be allowed time and privacy to grieve for John and we send our thoughts and prayers out to the families of the other victims and those still recovering in the hospital,” the family said in a statement. “We love you John and we will miss you always.”
Matt McQuinn, 27
McQuinn, originally from Springfield, Ohio, went to the premiere with his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, who was injured in the attack, according to family members.
McQuinn was a graduate of Butler-Vandalia High School in Ohio. He and Yowler, from St. Paris, Ohio, moved in November to Colorado, where Yowler’s brother, Nick, lives.
All three were in the theater when the shooting erupted.
McQuinn and Nick Yowler dove on top of Samantha Yowler to shield her from bullets, family attorney Rob Scott told NBC station WLWT of Cincinnati.
Yowler was shot in the knee and is recovering after surgery, Scott said. Nick McQuinn was not hurt, he said.
Micayla Medek, 23
Medek was among the dead, her father’s cousin, Anita Busch, told The Associated Press.
Busch said the news, while heartbreaking, was a relief for the family after an agonizing day of waiting for news.
“I hope this evil act … doesn’t shake people’s faith in God,” she said.
Medek worked at Subway and had taken classes at Community College of Aurora, the Denver Post reported. She was a graduate of William C. Hinkley High School in Aurora.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jesse E. Childress, 29
Childress was injured in the shooting and died of his injuries at the hospital on Friday.
He lived in Thornton, Colo., and was single. The Air Force reservist was a cyber-system operator at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora.
Alexander Jonathan Boik, 18
Boik, known as AJ, graduated earlier this year from Gateway High School in Aurora, his family said in a statement. He was accepted to Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and planned to be an art teacher and open his own studio. He attended the movie with his girlfriend, who survived the attack, the family said. She was not identified.
Alex Teves, 24
Teves was a 2006 graduate of Desert Vista High School in the Tempe (Ariz.) Unified School District, NBC station KPNX of Phoenix reported.
University of Denver released a statement saying Teves graduated from the Morgridge College of Education recently, and identified his home town as Phoenix.
Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32
An Aurora resident originally from Quinlan, Texas, Wingo was a mother of two daughters, her friends said in social media postings. She was a waitress at Joe’s Crab Shack and was a student at the Community College of Aurora, the Denver Post reported.
“I lost my daughter yesterday to a mad man,” Steve Hernandez wrote on his daughter’s Facebook page, the Post reported. “My grief right now is inconsolable. I hear she died instantly, without pain, however the pain is unbearable.”
Gordon W. Cowden, 51
Cowden was the oldest victim identified by the Arapahoe County coroner’s office.
Cowden grew up in Austin, Texas, and is the father of four children, his friend Jane Gibson told NBC News. “I had texted him yesterday to see how he was (after hearing of the shooting), I never heard back from him.” His parents and siblings live in Texas, she said.