Police: Colo. suspect planned rampage for months, rigged apt bombs 'to kill'
Chad Weinman, CEO of TacticalGear.com, said his company processes thousands of orders each day, and there was nothing unusual in the one that Holmes placed. While his company often receives orders from military units and law enforcement organizations, it is not out of the ordinary for individual police officers or soldiers to place orders, he said.
"Everything Mr. Holmes purchased on July 2 is commercially available," Weinman said, adding he was "appalled" that the material was sold to Holmes before the shooting. It wasn't known why the suspect chose a movie theater to stage the assault, or whether he intended some twisted, symbolic link to the film's violent scenes.
The Batman movie, the last in the trilogy starring Christian Bale, opened worldwide Friday with midnight showings in the U.S. The plot has the villain Bane facing Bale's Caped Crusader with a nuclear weapon that could destroy all of fictional Gotham.
"The Dark Knight Rises" earned $30.6 million in Friday morning midnight screenings, and, according to industry estimates, roughly $75-77 million on the day. That put it on track for a weekend total of around $165 million, which would be the second highest opening weekend ever, following "The Avengers."
Warner Bros. has announced it would forgo the usual revenue reports until Monday out of respect for the victims. Sony, Disney and Universal also said they would delay reporting box office receipts until Monday, a day later than the routine Sunday releases for Hollywood.
After buying a ticket to the movie, Holmes went into the theater and propped open an exit door several minutes into the film, a federal law enforcement official said. The suspect then returned in protective gear and with high-powered weapons and opened fire, shooting scores of people and picking off victims who tried to flee, officials said.
The shooting was the worst in the U.S. since the Nov. 5, 2009, attack at Fort Hood, Texas. An Army psychiatrist was charged with killing 13 soldiers and civilians and wounding more than two dozen others. It was the deadliest in Colorado since the 1999 attack at Columbine High School, where two students killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves.
After excelling at the University of California-Riverside, Holmes was in the process of withdrawing from a neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver for unknown reasons.
First-year students must take a three-part exam at the end of the academic year to move on in the program, University spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said Saturday. Montgomery did not know whether Holmes had taken the exam.
As part of the program, Holmes had been listed as making a presentation in May about Micro DNA Biomarkers in a class named "Biological Basis of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders."
Mary Muscari, a criminology professor at Regis University in Denver who studies mass killings, said she was not surprised Holmes was studying neuroscience and mental disorders. "It could be he was interested in that because he knows there's something different in him," said Muscari.
She said that several mass murderers are young men in late adolescent or early adulthood. "We're talking about guys when they're at that ago when they're testosterone charged, their brains start developing, and it's also when schizophrenia kicks in."
Those who knew Holmes described him as a shy, intelligent person raised in California by parents who were active in their well-to-do suburban San Diego neighborhood. Holmes played soccer at Westview High School and ran cross-country before going to college.
Police said they would begin collecting the personal items left by panicked moviegoers in days and would move out of the theater by midweek. Shaken law enforcement officials urged residents to not stay home.
"I just don't want the shameless and senseless act of one man to make this difficult for families to move on," Aurora Fire Chief Mike Garcia said. "Go out. See a movie. Go out into your city. Don't be afraid."
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