Details about the booby traps that James Holmes set up at his house are scarce but at a press conference that ended just a few minutes ago, the Aurora Police Chief, who used to work for the NYPD, said they were "Something I've never seen." He said it appeared to be some sort of incendiary device, that there where chemicals involved, and "lots of wires". The police are still trying to figure out how they are going to get into the apartment, and they've evacuated his entire building and five more in the area.
According to the Denver Post, the local fire chief said that the tripwires in Holmes' apartment were connected to wires, which contained "unknown substances". According to one report, an FBI agent, "The pictures are pretty disturbing as far as how sophisticated it is. This could be a very long wait."
We're currently trying to figure out what exactly these bombs might be. Considering the weapons Holmes used at the theatre, it's clear he had access to basically every thing he wanted. Thanks to the internet, anybody can get basically any weapon as we learned in our exclusive report on the online arms marketplace called The Arsenal. In this case, the booby traps sound homemade. We're reaching out to bomb experts. We also called the Aurora Police Department, and we'll update when we hear back.
What a terrible tragedy. We're glad for all the precautions the police are taking. Clearly Holmes is a psycho who wanted to kill as many people as possible. The last thing we need is more blood. [Reuters, MSNBC, Denver Post]
Updates We heard back from Lt Mike Jackson, who's the Bomb Squad Commander in Oklahoma City:
With the limited info it's going to be hard to figure out if it actually an incendiary or if it is some sort of HME. Also it could be some sort of hypergolic mixture that could create a fire if mixed. Wires hooked up to electronics is never a good sign for bomb guys and they will be very cautious before and during any kind of entry into the apartment. (Numerous bad things could be going on.)
So basically, Holmes might have rigged up any of a number terrible weapons and possibly several of them. Based on the information the police have released—and maybe it's as much as they know—the house might be rigged with either a homemade explosive device or maybe an incendiary weapon designed to catch the building on fire. Possibly both. Either way, it's smart to proceed with caution.
We're hearing from law enforcement sources that despite the information that has been made public, police are relatively clueless. They have no idea what's waiting for them on the other side of the door. It's likely to be a very long night and possibly even longer before they can get in.