Aurora movie theater shooting: Prosecutors play 911 calls, outline weapons purchased
Last Updated: 131 days ago
ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. - Prosecutors in the Aurora movie theater shooting trial established a timeline to show James Holmes began stockpiling weapons and ammunition months before the massacre on July 20, 2012.
A preliminary hearing is underway for Holmes, who is charged with 166 counts of murder and attempted murder -- two counts for each person injured or killed in the theater shooting -- along with one count of possession of an explosive/incendiary device and one count of using a weapon to commit a violent crime. After the preliminary hearing, the judge will decide if there's enough evidence to try Holmes on each count.
Weapons and ammunition purchases
Prosecutors outlined Holmes' purchase of four weapons and 6,295 rounds of ammunition.
Testimony from ATF Supervisory Special Agent Steven Beggs and an ATF timeline revealed the purchases were made both in person and online. The 16 purchases detailed in court Tuesday began on May 10, 2012. The last was on July 14.
The online purchases came from sites based in at least six states. The biggest online purchase of ammunition involved 4,325 rounds from a dealer in Georgia.
The in-person purchase of chemicals presumable used for booby traps in the apartment was from The Science Company in Denver.
Beggs also testified he'd seen surveillance video of Holmes' several in-person purchases at Gander Mountain in Thornton.
In total, Holmes purchased two .40-caliber pistols plus 2,600 rounds for them, a Remington tactical shotgun plus 375 rounds for it, and a Smith & Wesson M&P15 plus 3,370 rounds for that gun.
Other purchases included laser sights, tear gas grenades, various body armor and tools used for reloading drills.
In the July 1 video from Gander Mountain, Beggs said Holmes already had the infamous red-orange hair.
Prosecutors did establish that Holmes underwent a CBI background check for the guns. Upon cross-examination the defense asked about security surrounding the purchase of the other items.
"Is there any process in Colorado to screen if a severely mentally ill person had ordered these items?" the defense asked.
Beggs responded there was not.
Booby traps in Holmes' apartment
Testimony from Garrett Gumbinner, an FBI bomb technician, revealed publicly for the first time the traps found in Holmes' apartment at 1690 Paris Street.
Gumbinner said he was notified that Holmes had told arresting officers about improvised explosives in his home.
Prosecutors submitted photos taken from inside the apartment building. One showed the hallway leading to Holmes' door, others showed the items inside the apartment itself.
Gumbinner said a bomb squad robot found a trip wire made out of fishing line leading from the door jamb to a system of explosives. [Editors note: While the FBI bomb technician listed specific chemicals and details about the improvised explosive system, 7NEWS has decided not to report those explicit details.]
If someone had tripped the fishing line, the fire would have spread to the carpet, Gumbinner testified.
Gumbinner also said he interviewed Holmes in jail about the apartment and that Holmes confirmed his plan to use fire or an explosion as a distraction before the shooting. According to the testimony, Holmes said he had set his computer to play 25 minutes of silence followed by loud music.
"He said he was hoping that would cause a disturbance and police would respond to his apartment," Gumbinner said.
Gumbinner also testified Holmes placed a portable radio in a trash bag along with a remote controlled toy car in a nearby dumpster. The radio was also programmed to play loud music for twenty minutes. Gumbinner testified Holmes hoped someone would find the radio and start to play with the remote controlled car; the remote was programmed to detonate pyrotechnics in his apartment.
Holmes' activity on dating websites
Aurora Police Detective Tom Welton also testified on Tuesday about Holmes' activity on dating websites before the shooting.
Holmes created a Match.com profile April 19, 2012, and last updated it July 18, Welton said. Holmes also created and Adult Friend Finder profile on July 5, and also updated it for the last time on July 18.
The defense questioned how the information was relevant, and the prosecution said both online profiles had the quote "will you visit me in prison?" indicating he planned to commit a crime.
911 calls from inside Theater 9
At least 30 gunshots were heard in court Tuesday as prosecutors played a 27-second recording of a 911 call made during the theater shooting.
The audio came from what detective Randy Hansen testified was the very first 911 call from inside Theater 9 during the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
The call, Hansen said, was made at 12:38 a.m. Previously, Hansen's testimony established the movie began playing at 12:20 a.m., meaning the shooting started no more than 18 minutes into the film.
The second tape played was a call from a 13-year-old girl, who attended the film with her cousins, Veronica Moser-Sullivan and Ashley Moser, according to testimony from Hansen.
The four-minute call begins with the girl's voice: "There's been a shooting," she said.
"Is this the Century 16 Theater shooting?" a dispatcher asked.
A moment later the dispatcher asked, "Do you know whose been shot?"
"My two cousins," the girl responded.
No gun shots could be heard in that recording, but because of the noise in the theater, the girl was having trouble hearing the dispatcher.
In court, Holmes did not move and didn't even blink in court on Tuesday as the sound of the call degenerated into yelling and crying.
The dispatcher continued trying to talk her through performing CPR, but without any apparent success.
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