FBI: Holmes’ booby trap included improvised napalm
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — An elaborate booby trap system allegedly set up to pull police away from the Colorado theater shooting included improvised napalm and thermite, which burns so hot that water can’t put out the blaze.
FBI bomb technician Garrett Gumbinner described the system Tuesday at a hearing in which prosecutors laid out their case against suspected gunman James Holmes.
He said three different ignition systems were found in Holmes’ apartment. There was a thermos full of glycerin leaning over a skillet full of another chemical. Flames and sparks are created when they mix, and a trip wire linked the thermos to the door.
Police said Holmes hoped loud music would lure someone to the apartment.
Prosecutors are trying to show in what is expected to be a weeklong hearing that the attack that killed 12 and wounded dozens July 20 was a premeditated act and Holmes should stand trial.
Defense attorneys say he is mentally ill.
Daniel King, one of Holmes’ lawyers, on Monday pointedly asked a pathologist who had just detailed each of the fatalities: “You’re aware that people can be found not guilty on the grounds of insanity?”
When officers arrived at the theater, they found Holmes standing next to his car. At first, Officer Jason Oviatt said, he thought Holmes was a policeman because of how he was dressed but then realized he was just standing there and not rushing toward the theater.
Oviatt said Holmes seemed “very, very relaxed” and didn’t seem to have “normal emotional reactions” to things. “He seemed very detached,” he said.
After arresting Holmes, Officer Justin Grizzle asked him if anyone had been helping him or working with him. “He just looked at me and smiled ... like a smirk,” Grizzle recalled.
So far, the trial has focused on the horror Aurora police officers discovered at the theater. The magnitude of the attack could be heard in the first 911 call to police, played Tuesday in court. It lasted 27 seconds and police say at least 30 shots could be heard.
The call came in 18 minutes into the showing of “The Dark Knight Rises”.
Police also played a 911 call from a teenage cousin of 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, the youngest person killed. A dispatcher tried to talk her through CPR but she sounded panicked and said she couldn’t hear.
A bearded and disheveled Holmes stared straight ahead as the calls were played and didn’t show any emotion.