With now over 24 hours after a masked man opened fire at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, shock was followed by President Obama’s speech and half-mast declaration; the identification of the suspect alleged to be behind the massacre; and plenty of punditry about the wisdom and necessity of gun-control laws.
Now, the detective work, recovery and mourning take center stage.
Aurora police on Friday announced that the apartment of James Holmes, the red-haired, Joker-mimicking alleged gunman, was booby trapped with a tripwire and a sophisticated setup of explosives.
On Saturday, police told press that there were 30 explosives in the apartment, as well as 30 more aerial shells. By late morning, they announced that they had mitigated and removed the tripwire, and defused the first explosive. They hope to be done with the disarming by the end of the day; residents of the five buildings in Holmes’ University of Colorado apartment complex were evacuated on Friday, and spent the night in the town’s Central High School.
An initial controlled explosion in the apartment was successful; a police spokesperson said that the tripwire was designed to kill someone entering the apartment.
Holmes will appear in court on Monday morning. In all, his melee has resulted in 12 deaths and 58 injuries. He purchased all four of his weapons legally in gun stores, while he obtained his ammunition over the internet.
One of the most prominent victims, at this stage, is Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring sportscaster who, just last month, escaped a mass shooting in Toronto. A blog entry she wrote about it has gone viral, and serves as a sort of rallying call in the face of such devastation.
Meanwhile, Dark Knight Rises studio Warner Bros. is trying to balance respect for the tragedy with what should be a big-money opening weekend. Having already canceled Friday’s premiere in Paris, they announced that the big Mexican and Japanese premieres and press conferences would also be canceled. They also pledged to not report weekend box office grosses until Monday, though estimates have the film scoring a $165-170 million opening weekend domestically.
That will come despite the yanking of advertising for the film off major television networks.