The apartment of the man suspected of killing 12 people in a shooting rampage at a Denver-area movie theatre on Friday has been so extensively booby-trapped that police have determined they cannot safely defuse the devices, a police source said on Friday.
Police now plan to detonate the devices using a robot but said that would not take place until Saturday. In addition to those who died, another 58 people were wounded in the shooting and ensuing chaos.
Before performing any detonation, which they believe would likely be small in size, police plan to close down traffic on nearby streets, the source familiar with the matter told Reuters. Police have already evacuated the apartment building as well as several nearby buildings.
James Holmes, who was arrested after allegedly opening fire on people watching a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," apparently also set some audio equipment at his apartment on a timer, a second law enforcement source close to the investigation said.
The timer set off some loud music later in the night.
"It was to turn the music on ... it was on a timer. It came on loudly obviously to create a call for noise disturbance. People would make entry and potentially (trigger) those explosive devices," the second source said.
Police have been at the apartment, on the third floor of a red brick building located about four miles (six kilometres) from the Aurora movie theater where the shooting took place, since before dawn on Friday.
By late Friday evening, police and fire officials were seeking respite from the heat, several of them stretching out in the shade of the front porch of a nearby Mexican restaurant.
At an earlier press conference, Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates said: "His apartment is booby-trapped. We are trying to determine how to disarm the flammable or explosive material.
"We could be here for hours or days. The pictures are fairly disturbing. It looks very sophisticated, how it's booby-trapped. It could be a very long wait."
Using cameras inserted into the apartment through windows, police and fire officials determined the living room of the apartment was crisscrossed with trip wires connected to a number of plastic bottles containing an undetermined fluid, Aurora's deputy fire chief, Chris Henderson, said.
"To tell you the truth we don't know how extensive it is," Mr Henderson said. "There are several unknown devices along with the litre bottles."
© Thomson Reuters 2012