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Colorado shooting: 71 shot; 10 bodies remain in theater, Aurora police say

Liz Goodwin, Yahoo News
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Holmes (Univ. of Colorado/Reuters)

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said today that 71 people were shot and 12 have died in the attack early Friday morning at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo. Authorities are still identifying the dead, and 10 bodies remain in the theater.

Oates said James Eagen Holmes, 24, is the suspect. Police arrested Holmes by his car, which was parked outside the back entrance of the movie theater, within minutes of receiving the first 911 call. He did not put up a struggle. Holmes, who had just withdrawn from a neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado Denver last month, was dressed in black and head-to-toe ballistic gear, including a helmet, vest, leggings and a groin protector. He was also wearing a gas mask. Oates wouldn't speculate on a motive.

"At this time we are confident he acted alone," Oates said.

[COMPLETE COVERAGE: Colorado theater shooting]

Oates said Holmes had a speeding ticket in October 2011 but otherwise had no prior contact with police in Colorado. Police found a shotgun, an assault rifle and a handgun on Holmes and another handgun in his car, Oates said.

The police chief choked up when he said officers arrived on the scene a minute after the first 911 call, and that 200 officers eventually showed up, many of them personally driving victims to the hospital.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper also became emotional while discussing the mass shooting at the Friday afternoon press conference.

"There's not one of us who doesn't read or hear this story ... and think about it being your child in that movie theater," Hickenlooper said. "That reality makes the pain and grief too intense for words."

Hickenlooper called the shooter an "aberration of nature."

"It is an absolute horror," Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said, thanking the first responders who tended to the victims. "We will always wish that no matter how much we did now that we had done more."

Oates said earlier today that Holmes' apartment is booby-trapped with a "sophisticated" maze of incendiary devices. "They're linked together with all kinds of wires," Oates said. It could take hours or days for authorities to disarm it. Five nearby buildings have been evacuated.

Holmes' family, who reside in San Diego, released a statement expressing their sorrow for the victims and asking for privacy.

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